HOW TO STOP BEING A GYM-BEGINNER IN 4 HABITS.
5 MIN READ
Maybe you've been exercising for quite some time now, but feel as though you're stuck before the beginners threshold, or that you're in that "beginner zone". This can be because of numerous things; varying from your mentality, comfort with exercise, or other physical hangups (or simply experience level).
If you want to feel at home in the gym, take your progress to the next level, and move towards EXPERTISE - read this post.
Avoid splitting your attention between anything other than whatever lift or exercise you are performing. Be mindful of your body moving through the contractions - pay active attention to every single part of the movement and be totally present in the act.
There are two main reasons for this:
FIRST: the more obvious of the two - it well help you keep form. You'll build awareness for things like the tempo of the movement, where your form tends to break, and various other factors that higher level exercisers are familiar with.
SECOND: you'll be able to perform better. This is especially true for weight training - but it equally applies to other exercise-types. Avoid getting too distracted by: other people in the gym, whatever is going on in your headphones, or generally anything aside from the movement itself. If you are successful in focusing harder on your exercise - you will surely be able to: last longer, perform more reps, or do more weight.
Both reasons make this an ideal STARTING point if you aim is to give any of these a shot.
You don't need to become the angry person screaming during their reps in the gym. You should become more intense during all parts of your workout though. Exercising with greater intensity and aggression will certainly help you perform better. More importantly it will help you discover that your real limits are much farther off than what you probably have estimated. CONSTANTLY ask yourself if you are ACTUALLY pushing yourself; or if you are just going through the motions. Just because the weights are higher than last week does not mean you have progressed as much as you could have.
Combine this approach with #1 to maintain safe and proper form!
3.) GRIP STRENGTH
Gripping something strongly, and more tightly will almost always produce better results. This concept does not apply to every single exercise but it is general and important enough to be mentioned here.
Something you can try at home: find something nearby that has some weight to it (a frying pan or something comparable). Once you've got it - pick it up, and put it back down again. Now do that again, but this time grip the object very tightly prior to lifting it. INSTANTLY: you will have more control and a greater ability to manipulate the object. Well, this also applies when working with dumbbells or weights in the gym. You may be surprised by how much your volume can increase with this in practice.
While this point mainly just applies to those practicing resistance training; the next one is much more universal...
4.) CORE ENGAGEMENT
A bit cliche - but that doesn't change the fact that it is often neglected. Keeping a tight core can help you maintain good form and control. This applies to most forms of exercise and lifts, although there are occasional exceptions. This can be a difficult thing to fully master, as your core is not just your abdominal muscles, but actually a group of supporting structures that include your abs.
If you're new to trying to engage your core, here is a good cue to keep in mind: imagine somebody trying to punch you in the gut, and how you would respond - by tensing up your stomach and back. It's important to distinguish this from holding your breath. You are keeping things tight, but still breathing freely!
There are two things to master on the road to expertise: CONFIDENCE and COMPETENCE. How well you believe you can do something, and how well you actually can. You won't be an overnight-rockstar with these tips: but they are deliberately designed to start building up both of these factors. Not only will you feel better in the gym, you will be performing better in the gym too.