4. Determine the Right Amount of Weight for You
Figuring out how much weight you should be using for a given exercise requires a bit of experimentation. Keep in mind that in the beginning it's better to err on the side of too light than too heavy. If you're doing three sets of 12 reps of bicep curls, your arms should feel fatigued by the last set, and extremely fatigued by the last few reps. Your arms should be working hard, they might even be a bit shaky, but you shouldn't ever feel extreme discomfort. If you blow through your sets without any trouble, up your weight. If you're done by the second set, drop down in weight.
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5. Work on Imbalances
Most people are stronger on one side of their body than the other. For this reason, I'm a big proponent of isolating each side of your body during strength training so that they're worked equally. For example, single-leg squats will ensure that you're relying solely on the muscles in your working leg, instead of letting your stronger leg do more of the work. Having balanced strength on both sides of your body is a true indicator of overall fitness, so try out some isolated moves.
6. Allow Your Routine to Evolve
As you become more familiar with strength training, it's important to start incorporating new exercises and equipment into your routine. If you're getting bored with your workout, your muscles are, too. Spicing up your sweat sessions will trick your muscles and ensure that they're working to their full potential. You should also monitor your weight amounts and raise them as you get stronger.
7. Don't Forget to Rest
Strength training causes tiny tears in the muscles, which then heal stronger than before. These tears are good, but only if you allow them time to heal properly. The average person needs 24 to 48 hours of rest to heal in between workouts so make sure you allot yourself that time. People are often more gung-ho at the beginning of their workout program and sometimes overdo it. Listen to your body. Soreness is fine, pain is not.
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW's Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants' to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC's Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America.
This article originally appeared on Health.com.
Stay in shape in a fitness class.