SCAN squats and other gym stuff

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by Jasmine Kaloudis via Flickr

I’ve started this column to give some tips about exercising but also to give my opinions on some of the less typical exercise fads. As this is the first column I thought I’d start off with something I actually do enjoy doing and that is weights.

Doing weights sessions is not always about getting so huge that you can barely put your t-shirt on. It can also be about increasing strength and toning up some parts of your body that may need that extra push.

As a woman, and a pretty small one at that, it’s can be a daunting prospect to enter any weights gym. Some gyms have the weights and cardio equipment all crammed in together which makes the whole prospect a little less intimidating but this is not the case at Lancaster Sports Centre. Here, the downstairs gym is a dedicated weights room, and the upstairs has mostly cardio equipment with a few assisted weights machines. Try not to be too intimidated if you feel out of place or if you don’t know what you’re doing, here is a bit of advice for those who aren’t sure.

Be safe

You need to be 100% certain that you know what you are doing when doing weights sessions, if you don’t then you will almost definitely injure yourself and this is never good. The easiest way to do this, if you don’t know what you’re doing, is to ask a friend to show you. Obviously only do this if your friend knows what they are doing, trying to learn to do weights with someone who has no idea is just pointless. Failing this you can always ask the staff at the Sports Centre to show you, there are usually plenty of them around and they are happy to make sure you are being safe, believe me!

Don’t lift too much

It’s always good to push yourself when doing sport, no matter what it is, but when doing weights make sure you don’t try to lift too much. This is super SUPER important. If you try to lift weights which are too heavy for you then your form will often worsen which increases your chances of being injured.

Don’t mix

A little bit of advice, it is usually best to stick to one body part to train for each session. Talking from experience you really don’t want to wake up in the morning and not be able to move any part of your body because you tried to do legs, back, arms and chest all in the same day. Just don’t do it. Stick to one or two at the most. In my opinion, and you can judge it to suit you, but I would recommend only ever doing legs on their own, adding in anything else just makes life hard.

Team up 

Lastly, get a gym buddy! This is great whether you’re a gym pro or a newbie. I would suggest that if you are going to the weights gym at the sports centre that you go as early as you can in the morning, going in the afternoon is mayhem and it’s likely that you won’t be able to use any of the weights that you want to. In order to go early the best thing to do is to buddy-up, that way you can motivate one another to go early and it also means you have someone to spot you if you want to push yourself a little bit harder.