Warm up properly
“Use a combination of cardio and dynamic stretches to mobilise joints, warm up muscles and prepare body and mind for the workout ahead,” says Bird. “You’ll have more efficient muscle contraction, reduced injury risk and enhanced gym performance.”
Don’t just train mirror muscles
“Train your entire body and work opposing muscle groups such as chest and back. You’ll protect against injury.”
Join exercise classes
“It’s more motivating to work out with others, so join a class and push yourself harder for longer, leading to greater gains,” says Bird. “Training in a group can help you push through a plateau. It’ll also help you meet like-minded people.”
Master every move
“Don’t be afraid to lift lighter in order to nail the technique,” says Bird. “It’s easy to go heavy and show off, but sloppy technique is a waste of time at best, and at worst leads to injury that scuppers your goals. Take it easy and master the basics before upping the weight.”
Talk to a trainer
“It’s a shortcut to reaching your goals. A PT will educate you about the latest techniques and help you push through to the next level by assessing your form and monitoring your progress.”
Stretch after your workout
“Stretching after every workout will improve flexibility and allow joints to move through their full range of motion,” says Bird. “Training hard contracts the muscles, so stretching them helps them repair and grow stronger.”
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Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.