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Rule No. 4: Learn the Power of Slow

When it comes to weight lifting, the tortoise beats the hare every time.

"The key to success in weight training is known as A-B-C -- which stands for always be in control," Bryant says. The best way to do that, according to Bryant, is with slow, deliberate movements.

"I don't want to give the impression that you are working in slo-mo," he says, "but you do want to make certain that your muscles are what are responsible for controlling movement in both directions, lifting and lowering."

Ryan agrees. "A lot of sports rely on high, fast motion. But when you’re doing weight training, it's slow, deliberate motions with controlled breathing," he says. "Don’t hold your breath and do the reps. And don't move too quickly."

Further, Schroeder says, beginners will benefit more from doing more repetitions with a lighter weight than from trying to use heavy weights they can lift only a few times.

"In the beginning," he says, "you have such a huge adaptation phase -- you're using muscles you never used before, and you're shocking your system, even with a light weight. So you are much better off and much safer to start much lighter with more repetitions." he says.

Starting with lighter weights means you're less likely to end up with the kind of muscle pain that could end your weight training workout program on the spot.

"It's a discouraging scenario when you hurt all over," Bryant says. "And starting slow means you are less likely to feel the kind of pain that causes you to get discouraged and quit after one or two tries."

Rule No. 5: Rest and Recover

Although it has little to do with form or function, experts say the real key to successful weight training is to understand the importance of rest and recover. At the core of weight training is a tearing-down and building-up process that ultimately makes muscles strong.

Schroeder explains: "In order for muscles to build, muscle fiber has to be torn, which is what happens when you stress the muscle with weights." 

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