Guidelines for Weight Training
Weight training guidelines are something that needs to be drilled into your mind over time which is only going to come from repetition. If you have already started weight training it is always a good idea to re-evaluate your progress by checking if you are following these guidelines in order to always keep gaining muscle and strength.
Full range movement with good form
Every movement you do should always be done with full range so that you are developing a functional flexibility working the full length of the muscle. Your form or technique used to lift the weight is of paramount importance and should ALWAYS be followed in the strictest form with no bouncing, arching or swinging of the weight on any movement. It should take you twice as long lowering the weight eccentrically that raising the weight concentrically.
Keep a workout journal
Gaining muscle is about progressive resistance which means that you either need to increase the reps that you did in your last workout or you need to increase the weight. The only way to do this correctly is by recording what you did in the previous workout when you last trained that body-part.
Create a plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail, muscle growth comes from consistency and tenacity, if you think you are going to add 10 pounds of muscle in a few weeks you are wrong, it won't happen. Muscle comes from planning ahead and that means planning the workout you are going to do, the rest you take after the workout and obviously the nutrition you take in so that the muscle can repair correctly before the next workout.
Always warm up and stretch
Without warming up correctly you are risking serious injury when lifting a heavy weight. The tendons and ligaments together with the muscles need to be warmed up using compound movements like squats, deadlifts and bench-press done with a light weight for lots of reps to start getting the blood to the targeted muscle.
The sets and reps done will indicate your success at muscle gain so you need to take extra care to never count a cheated rep as a rep when completing a set. If the movement has not been completed correctly the weight needs to be lightened so that you can try again. For muscle gain 8 to 12 reps are recommended with 3 to 5 sets depending on how many movements you are doing per body-part.
Calculating your 1 rep maximum is important as you need to follow a guideline that will indicate the intensity you are training with. You do not have to lift the heaviest load you can for one rep to discover your 1RM, a calculator is freely available online that will tell you exactly what your 1RM is if you just enter the weight you use to lift for 10 reps.