Below are three key questions you need to know the answer to, if you’re interested in getting the best possible results from your resistance training. I will give you those questions, and then offer analysis on the correct answer.
1. When performing a resistance exercise for a particular muscle I:
a) I think about anything that pops into my mind
b) I try and focus and feel the specific muscle I’m targeting, for the ‘mind to muscle’ link
c) I just think about working that general area of my physique
The right answer here is B. During the repetitions you should be focussing on the specific muscle that you are supposed to be working during your fitness program. The point of the ‘mind to muscle’ link, or focussing on the muscle, is to help you hone in on the muscle you are targeting. This not only helps you to get better results for less effort, it also minimises the chances of other muscles taking over.
2. When using good form I:
a) swing or jerk the weight up and then let it drop down
b) just move the resistance using any muscles I can
c) I move the resistance in a steady controlled manner
The right answer is C. The more control you have over the weight or resistance during each repetition of your fitness routines, the more likely you are to be actually working your targeted muscle effectively. For instance the squat is supposed to mainly work the buttock and leg muscles. If just drop yourself down and then just jerk yourself back up, you stand a good chance of rounding your lower back. This will potentially throw the focus of the movement and the weight from your buttocks and legs onto your lower back instead. At the very least the squat exercise in your fitness routine doesn’t work the legs as effectively as it’s supposed to do; at worst you could compress the discs in you spine and injure your lower back
3. While performing my exercise repetitions I:
a) I do each repetition as fast as possible
b) I vary the speed of each repetition
c) I control the speed of each repetition so I can pause if I need to mid rep
The right answer is C. During any repetition you should have enough control of the resistance you are using so that if you wanted to you could stop and hold the rep for a second or so. This is not something you actually have to do during your set of repetitions, in your fitness over 40 workouts, just that you are in sufficient control of the weight that you could pause if you wanted to.