It is understandable that walking into a CrossFit gym full of muscular fitness fantastic may intimidate you. The mere thought of tossing around huge weights which in CrossFit is part of your lifestyle may send shrills down your spine. However, this should not be it because, with the right tips, you don’t have to start with the bigger weights, you can start small and still make it. The first step for rookie weightlifters is to set up a session with their coaches or better still find a workout program that will help them learn proper training.
Do not walk into the CrossFit gym without a plan because this won’t get you anywhere. Secondly, you should master the technique of picking the right weight so that your workout can be moderate and always on the uptrend. The following are tips on how you should go about this.
Test Your Strength
You may have properly warmed up with mobility exercises and foam rolling; the next step should be deciding between dumbbells and barbells. Whichever you pick entirely depends on the lifts you are doing. In your workouts, try to include both pieces of equipment. However, if you have had incidents of shoulder injuries, the general recommendation is to use dumbbells more for your chest and shoulders. For deadlifts or squats, CrossFit exercises use a barbell.
During your workouts in the CrossFit gym, you should alternate between the heavier and lighter set of dumbbells. The heavier weights will enable you to build muscle mass while the lighter ones will help in stabilizing the muscle supporting tendons and joints. To help you to figure out the right size of dumbbells, you can do the dumbbell test.
For this test, men should start with a set of 2 weights measuring anything between 10 and 20 pounds. For women, they can still go for the 2 sets of weights but measure 5 to 10 pounds. Doing it is simple, stand with a weight in both of your hands, palms forward. Your elbows and shoulders should be pinned up against the wall and gradually curl weights up until the dumbbells are shoulder level without moving your upper arms. After that, lower to the beginning position. Target between 14 and 22 reps while maintaining good form.
This test fatigues the muscles, and you will get to a point where the biceps are really straining. If your muscles fail before the 14 reps, try again, but this time with a weight about 5 pounds lighter. If you find yourself doing the 22 reps easily, add another set of 5 pounds and see how it goes.
Master Your Moves
The secret to safely and efficiently building muscle is always a proper and a solid form. When you find yourself getting out of form in your CrossFit workouts, make the necessary adjustments which could be either stopping or dropping weight. The four fundamental movements that will help you in lifting include:
- Glute bridge chest press
- Dumbbell triceps extension
- Single arm dumbbell row
As you continue working out, you will gradually feel that some of the weights which seemed heavier at the beginning, will start becoming lighter as you build muscle and master your lifts. Go for progressive overload instead of abrupt addition of weights.