How to Lift Weights Properly

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Lifting weights is a popular activity for building muscle, gaining strength and enhancing your appearance. Lifting weights properly will help you realize your goals quicker and achieve the results you want. Using bad form or technique when moving barbells and dumbbells around may cause injury and derail your training plans.

Choose a weight amount appropriate to your strength level and perform one to two sets of eight to 15 repetitions when starting out, recommends the American Council on Exercise. Rest 30 to 90 seconds between sets. Increase the weight as you gain strength.

Lift weights slowly, using your legs and not your back. Use your muscles to complete reps and not momentum. Refrain from arching your back or rocking your body to get weights up with any exercise.

Move the weights through a full range of motion for the particular muscle group you are working. Feel a full stretch and contraction with each repetition. Practice a controlled movement when lower the weights. Avoid letting the momentum move the weight.

Avoid a full lock-out of your knees when you perform a leg press or any type of leg extension movement such as seated leg presses or squats.

Breathe continuously through each repetition. Exhale through your mouth as you lift the weight and inhale through your nose as you lower it.


Use a spotter for exercises where it is possible for you to drop a barbell or dumbbell on yourself.

If you are unsure of the proper technique or form, work with a certified trainer.


If you experience any pain or dizziness during your workouts, stop immediately and seek the advice of your doctor.