11 Dos and Don’ts -When Doing Strength Exercises

by Ron Zacker, RD, CDE

Here are some tips to keep in mind during the performance of strength training movements.

1) DO choose a weight or exercise that allows you to perform the movement in a smooth, controlled manner for one to three sets of eight to 15 repetitions.

2) DO take two to four seconds to lift the weight, and another two to four seconds to lower the weight.

3) DO maintain good posture and form while performing the exercises.

4) DO choose a weight or exercise that is challenging and fatigues your muscle when you correctly perform the movement as specified above.

5) DON’T choose weights or exercises that cause you to use bad form or hold your breath, which may result in injury.

6) DO take into consideration your health and diabetes as outlined in September’s “7 Steps” article (p. 58) before exercising. Talking to your doctor and/or diabetes specialist is a prudent first step.

7) DO warm-up! You should perform a minimum of five to 10 minutes of aerobic activity (like walking) as a general warm up before performing resistance exercise. You may also want to perform one to three sets of lighter resistance for each exercise as a specific warm up for those movements.

8) DON’T hold your breath! Failure to breathe normally throughout the exercise can increase your blood pressure to unhealthy levels.

9) DO stretch! It is good to stretch your muscles in between sets or after your exercises. Only stretch after you are properly warmed up. Do not stretch a cold muscle.

10) DON’T perform resistance exercise every day. Strength training generally works best when it is brief, intense and infrequent. Give your muscles at least a day or two to recover between bouts of resistance exercise.

11) DO consider working with a qualified exercise professional to assist you.

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