Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the noise of the gym—weights slamming, your heart pounding, and music blaring. With so much going on, you might forget to keep track of how your body feels. Injuries can sneak up on you if you don’t stay in tune with your body. When you lift heavy, even minor injuries can cause a significant setback and make you have to put your lifting clothes away for a while. The good news is, passion doesn’t have to come at the price of your health. If you stay in tune, you can learn your body’s signals to know just how hard to push yourself during every training session. Practice staying in tune with your body and listening to what it’s telling you by taking these tips with you the next time you hit the gym.
Build Strategic Breaks Into Your Workout
Rest applies to your weekly training regimen as well as each time you are at the gym. When you are in the middle of a workout, it can be tough to point out any single part of your body that is hurting. The burn of lifting might block out a tweaked muscle, or the adrenaline might stop you from feeling pain right away. If you skip rest days or breaks between exercises, your body’s message could get lost in the chaos. Instead, build strategic breaks into your workout. Pause for a moment to let your mind focus on how you are feeling. Wear bodybuilding apparel that fits you right and is breathable so, when you take breaks, you can focus your attention on what matters. Wearing comfortable clothes makes for comfortable breaks.
Practice Breathing Exercises
Proper breathing techniques can help you listen to your body by dropping your heart rate and filling your lungs with much-needed oxygen. Before, during, or after your workout, sit down and try a box breathing routine to help you focus on how your body feels. It can be as simple as inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds, and holding that final step with no breath for the last four seconds. This technique helps you slow down and take breaths deeper than you usually do. It also makes for the perfect time to notice if your body is trying to tell you anything.
Check in with Yourself by Body Scanning
Body scanning is a technique that can be a body builder’s best friend when checking in with yourself. To try it, start at the top of your head and mentally scan down slowly. The goal is to turn your attention to every part of your body. Focus on every muscle group and check in on how you feel—even small muscles that you aren’t training, like your forehead, jaw, neck, shoulders, and so on. Feel your bodybuilding clothes resting on your back. Tapping into the little things like this can ensure no aching muscles have slipped past your notice.
5-Minutes of Stretching to Reset
Sometimes the best thing to do during a workout is step back and reset. When you get too caught up in the lifting itself, or if you’ve lost your focus during a PR attempt, take a step back. You don’t need to quit your set. Just do a bit of light stretching and give your body the room it needs to tell you what’s going on. If a particular part of your body doesn’t feel quite right, do stretches to target it and see how you can respond. That way, you can come back to your workout and crush your next lift.
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