5 Tips for Safe Lifting
A lifting injury can happen anytime to people at all stages of fitness. Any physical activity comes with a risk of injury, but most of them are a result of ignoring the safety tips when lifting. New lifters might not be aware of them; veteran lifters may have forgotten them. We'll review them here.
Stretch Before, During, and After Lifting
Loosening your muscles and joints is one of the best ways to avoid any pain while lifting. Besides warming up the muscles, it also gets your cardiovascular system going. Contrary to what some think, stretching is not just for the start of a workout. It can and should be done between exercises to keep a constant flow of blood to all of the muscles you are working. Coordinate the stretching with the area of the body you are working in order to ensure better results from the lift as well as less chance of injury. After the workout is finished, cool down by stretching the muscles and allowing them to return to their normal state.
Overtraining is a well known mistake that lifters make, especially those with goals that are based on a certain time table. If you spend too much time working a particular body part, it will actually begin losing size, so there is no benefit to pushing past that point. Muscles need time to rest and rebuild. Taking away that healing time is counterproductive to everything you are trying to accomplish. You should rest for at least 48 hours between workouts that focus on the same areas. Pay attention to sensitivity or soreness as they will be signs that your muscles have not fully recovered.
Lift with Good Form
Each exercise that you perform has a correct and an incorrect form. This has to do with the way you position your body and the movements that you use. A good way to make sure you are always using proper form is to do every repetition in a slow, deliberate manner, where you maintain full control of the weight and the movement. The second that you start to lose that control is when the chance of an injury skyrockets. Trying to lift more weight than you can handle is the most common situation that causes incorrect form. While it is great to have goals, the amount of weight you lift with is not nearly as important as the form you are using. In fact, exercising with less weight and a more controlled movement will lead to greater results much faster than grappling with higher weights.
Get Help When You Need It
Too many people are embarrassed to ask for help with their workouts, and instead jeopardize their health. All it takes is asking about an exercise you are not familiar with. Qualified personal trainers are there to help and you should use them. They will be impressed that you take your training seriously enough to do it the right way. And you will be much more embarrassed by performing an exercise incorrectly. Another example is asking for assistance with spotting. Professional bodybuilders spot each other all the time; it has nothing to do with how much weight you can or cannot lift. Some exercises require spots, such as the bench press, the shoulder press, and squats. Using a spotter will make them more efficient, and you will become stronger doing your repetitions without worrying about getting the weight back on the bar.
Never Rush Back from an Injury
No matter how much preparation you do, an injury might still happen. But be sure to fully heal before resuming your normal workout routine. Also, remember that you might not be able to handle the same amount of weight you were lifting before the injury. Gradually build your strength back up and do not try to rush it. Re-injuring a muscle or body part is very common for people who jump back into exercising prematurely, and the second injury can be more severe than the original one. Prevention is the key and it is up to you to make a healthy transition back to your workouts safely.