Q: Is there a proper way to breathe when lifting weights?
A: If you are new to exercise, it’s far more important that you just breathe rather than how you breathe. Often, synching your breath with your movements can be overwhelming to a new exerciser. There are more pertinent pieces of information that need to be addressed when getting started, such as becoming familiar with the strength training machines, execution of the exercises or understanding which muscles are working. Once the exercises become familiar and you are out of the beginning stages of weight lifting, you will most likely be lifting a slightly heavier load and will be syncing your breath with your movements. This becomes more important to move the increased load. Exhale during the “work” phase of an exercise. The “work” phase will be the most strenuous part of the movement pattern. Inhale during the “recovery” phase on an exercise. The “recovery” phase is typically the return back to the starting position.
Q: I would do almost anything to get a nice six-pack. Can you give me some tips and hints?
A: Absolutely! Not everyone has this particular goal, but the ones that do seem to be very passionate about it. First of all, you have to do some serious core work, focusing on the abdominals, obliques and low back area. In doing this, most people make one of two mistakes. The first mistake is working these muscles too many days of the week. Some think you need to do abs almost every day, but you wouldn’t do this for chest, back and legs, so why would you do it for your abdominals? The other common problem is that people don’t push themselves when doing core work. I’ve seen plenty of people stop their set right when they start to feel the “burn.” Others may only use their body weight, never thinking that weights might actually challenge them even more. Remember, the harder you work your abdominals, the less you’ll have to do them — and you’ll get better results. Aside from strength training, the other key components to getting a firm, lean mid-section include cardiovascular exercise and, of course, proper diet. You should try to do cardio five to six days per week, especially if you have some extra flab to lose, and try to follow a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet. If you have more specific questions, be sure to schedule a meeting with a trainer at your local Anytime Fitness.
Information provided by Anytime Fitness, 2815 Beaver Ave., Suite 206, Des Moines, 274-2100.