By Phil Beckett
Copyright © Physique Concepts Inc.
In addition to stretching the muscles involved in cardiovascular exercise, you need to stretch each specific muscle you train in a fitness program. When you stretch your muscles it helps to provide better physical performance, prevents injuries, and can help to improve your posture. When muscles are stretched, the elasticity in them improves which will help to increase your range of motion and improve the quality of your movements.
Never stretch a cold muscle; meaning you should always make sure your muscles are warm before stretching. It’s usually better to do a more extensive stretch at the very end of your fitness program, but light stretching between exercises is fine.
Stretching doesn’t take a long time, and it shouldn’t, but you do benefit tremendously from it. Stretch only after the muscle has been properly warmed-up. Again, the best time for a complete stretch is when your exercise session has been completed. By the time you have finished your specific weight lifting program, which will be about 35 – 45 minutes in length, your muscles will have warmed up as much as they can possibly get.
Remember, any women fitness program must always include a warm-up and proper stretching for maximum effectiveness and to prevent injury. When you do this, you will indeed experience the terrific benefits a good weight training program will give you.
For you to succeed in your over-all women fitness plan you need to select at least one exercise for each major muscle group in your body. This will help to promote well-balanced muscle development.
Another important part of your over-all fitness plan is the order your exercises are performed. When doing a range of weightlifting exercises, it’s better to start with the larger muscle groups then perform exercises for the smaller muscle groups. Performing your fitness program in this manner will allow you to be exercising at your best during the most demanding exercises when fatigue levels are the lowest and you feel fresh.
Another important area of exercise selection is the total number of sets per exercise and total number of sets per exercise session. A “set”, as it relates to women fitness, is the number of successive repetitions of a single exercise performed in succession without stopping.
Now, the number of sets per exercise and per exercise session is really going to depend on exactly what your goals are. Always treat your very first set for each muscle group as a warm-up, as was discussed in the warm-up section above. Then, the rest of your sets will be determined by whether or not you are using a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level womens fitness program and what your particular goals are.
To find out more about how to determine sets, exercises, etc. you can visit:
Regardless of the number of sets performed, all sets and repetitions have to be done with proper exercise form and under complete control.
Exercise Form Or Technique:
One thing that always seems to be missing in most women fitness programs, and the most common and critical training mistake is exercise form or “technique.” Too much weight usually results in poor form, which decreases your ability to get results and also increases the risk of injury.
Examples of poor form or technique include, but aren’t limited too:
- Bouncing the bar off your chest when performing a chest press;
- Using your hips for momentum and over extending your back to initiate the bicep curls;
- Arching your back or bending backwards when performing a shoulder press during the resistance portion of your fitness session;
- Using momentum in any exercise;
- And training at a fast tempo.
Be aware of these types of mistakes and remove them.
Phil Beckett is the author of The New Women’s Guide To Successful Weight Loss & Fitness . He’s helped thousands of women with their weight loss & fitness goals over the past 14 years. Visit the Womens Health Fitness website to contact Phil.