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The question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Mitaka Di.

As a beginner in the gym, the most important thing you need to remember for best results is proper form. Unfortunately, too many people dive into weight training without understanding the importance of it. Lifting weights incorrectly and without following some basic guidelines can lead to serious injury and end up discouraging you from continuing with your training. I know this, because I’ve gone through more injuries than I can remember — most of them because of my ego.

So here are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Warm up. I know it sucks and it took me 2 years until I started properly warming up. All you need is 5-10 minutes to do some aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking, stair climbing, stretching, or jumping jacks). This will get the blood flowing and increases oxygen to the muscles, preparing them for work. A cold muscle can suffer from serious tears and strain, so don’t skip this step.
  2. Add weight gradually. Depending on the weight you lift and your goal, it can take you 3–4 sets until you reach your working set. Take your time, no rush.
  3. Use a full range of motion. I cannot stress this enough. I see so many people in gym lifting weights for the sake of lifting. Bench presses half the weight through. Bicep curls only at 60 percent of the full range of motion. Short range of motion result in short muscle development. If you are curling, go all the way up and release all the way down, working the full length of the muscle. If you can’t, then you are using too much weight. Leave your ego at the door.
  4. Breathe. I know this one goes without saying, but you will be surprised how often you will hold your breath or will be breathing incorrectly. By breathing regularly and deeply you send oxygen to the working muscles and help them through the movement. The general principle is that you will inhale as you lower down the weight and exhale as you lift it back up.
  5. Focus on the muscle(s) you are working. If you are doing bicep curls, focus on your biceps, not on lifting the weight. Don’t arch your back and involve every possible muscle that will help you lift the bar. Focus on your back if you are doing barbell rows, don’t involve your biceps too much. This is where mind-muscle connection is particularly important. Whichever group you are working, try to pay attention to what you are doing and not let your mind wander.

Before you do any workout, I suggest checking the proper form of the exercises and how to execute them properly. You can look them up on YouTube, buy a book, hire a personal trainer or just enroll in a fitness course like Fit & Lean in which you get complete guidance about nutrition, training and supplementation.

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Published by Medicaldaily.com