Lift Weights Without Injury

Now that winter has set in it is a good time to focus on strength training at home or at the gym. I was inspired to write this yesterday when I was at the gym lifting and was watching other people workout (or try to). I noticed that many people who are working out clearly have had no instruction on technique and are doing more harm than good to their bodies. Here are some basic points when it comes to weight lifting: 1. Posture is critical! During all lifts it is important to engage the core muscles in order to protect the spine. 2. All lifts should be done slowly and controlled. 3. All lifts should allow the muscles to elongate and contract fully; short, partial lifts are not effective. 4. Trying to combine multiple movements into one lift is a recipe for disaster! One needs to know the primary muscles used in a lift and focus on those. 5. A good warm up is important in reducing risk of injury. 6. Heavy lifts are not as effective as controlled lifts. 7. Always strengthen opposing muscles; back vs chest etc. A good rule of thumb is that for every lift that pushes there should be a lift that pulls. 8. Three sets of 8-10 are most effective to produce muscle growth with the last few reps difficult to do while maintaining good form. Muscle can be gained at any age but it is important that the older one is the more careful one is when lifting. Don’t get in a hurry and get sloppy with form as your next workout will be with your Physical Therapist or Chiropractor! When in doubt spend a few dollars and get instruction from a certified trainer; it will be money well spent.

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