It’s been five weeks since Women & Weights started, and I think I’m becoming an expert!. I know the other women in the class, and they know me. Before Linda finishes instructions, I’m already envisioning which weights I’ll grab, how the movement should look, how competent I must seem to the outside eye. After all, it’s been ten classes. Ten hours of hard work. And I feel comfortable. Like I said, I’m an expert.
This confidence is good. It’s also dangerous. On the one hand, it’s a sign of growth from the timid woman I was a few weeks ago, stepping onto the turf for the first class. But that confidence can become arrogance. It can cause me to discard a fundamental rule we learned the first class: It doesn’t matter how many reps you do. What matters is how many reps you do well.
It’s tempting to load an extra five pounds on each side of the barbell, but if that extra weight hinders my form, it’s not worth it. This is true for Kris too, who appreciates the exercises in class that are intended to strengthen her back.
“I know as I get older it is critical to have a strong back,” Kris says. Critical too, then, is doing those exercises properly in order to reduce the risk of injury and ensure the proper muscles are being worked.
In a workout on our own, it may be easy for Kris and me to lift weights without much thought to form, just assuming that a few weeks of guided instruction is enough to keep us injury-free. But weight lifting is as much mental as it is physical, and the benefit of having an instructor to correct our form and advice about the amount of weight we should target cannot be overstated.
Enter Jenny and Linda, the 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. instructors, respectively. Even at this point in Women & Weights, Jenny and Linda play the critical role of ensuring each member is lifting safely and effectively. After all, we are here to become healthier and stronger. It is worth the investment to know that the watchful eye of an instructor is looking out for us.
So am I really an expert? No, not yet. But I learn more each class, and I’m reminded each time of that golden rule: It’s not how many reps you do, it’s how many reps you do well.
– By Natalie Weiss