The most common error you’ll witness in the weights room? “Guys throwing away their form through ego lifting,” says James Farmer, personal trainer and physiotherapist. “If you’re lifting with huge weights to try and look good then often you’re not going to perform the exercise correctly, which opens you up to injury. Too often I see people stacking too much on their deadlifts and bench presses.”
“Load a weight where you can complete all your required reps with textbook form,” says Farmer. “And don’t worry if that’s a lot less than what you’re currently lifting; lighter weights allow you to keep tension on the target muscles, which makes them work harder through a full range of motion”
Failing to cool down post-workout leads to all pain and no gain. “Skip the final part of your workout and you’ll feel nauseous through lowering your heart-rate too quickly,” says Farmer.
It’s easier than you’d think. “Walking around the gym for eight minutes is a brilliant way to slow your circulation and prepare your muscles for the next session,” advises Farmer. Easy.
When it comes to your muscles, you get out what you put in. No exceptions. “If you’re not eating enough calories and the right nutrients then your muscle fibres won’t recover,” says Farmer. This can leave your body sore for the next workout and even cause long-term injuries such as muscle tears.
Master your macros. Your nutrition plan should fit your training goals, but if you want to build lean muscle then eat your protein, carbohydrates and fats to the ratio 2:3:1.
“Sleep is without doubt the most underrated part of muscle recovery,” says Farmer. Need another reason to avoid staying up for Newsnight? Research found 53% of chronic pain patients had scores suggestive of insomnia.
Although the quantity of your kip matters (we’re sure you don’t need another reminder to get your eight hours), the quality of your sleep is equally important. And how do you make your Zs more economical? “Get into a bedtime routine and, most importantly, avoid the blue light of your phone an hour before you hit the hay if you want to keep your body clock ticking right,” says Farmer.
You can follow the right workout, diet and sleep plans, but sometimes accidental injury can strike in the weights room. We know. It’s just not fair.
If pain strikes, you may need some help – help that can relieve that discomfort for eight hours. How? Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Nurofen Gels and Tablets, has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the production of prostaglandins (natural chemicals involved in pain signalling and inflammation), which can help ease the aching, according to a study published in the journal Pharmacotherapy.