Whether at the gym or using at-home fitness equipment, lifting weights is fantastic for building muscles, challenging yourself, and getting fitter. You can get stronger, more flexible, and improve your posture if you do it right.
However, lifting weights can also increase your risk of major injury if done improperly. Here is how to protect your body when lifting weights:
Do not skip the warm-up when hitting the weights. Warming up your joints and muscles is essential for their performance when using at-home fitness equipment or gym equipment.
Do light cardio for 10-15 minutes, like incline walking, dancing, or jumping rope, before any lifting session. Warming up increases blood flow throughout your body which helps prevent injury.
Work On Your Mobility
Mobility is important in preventing injury. The twinge you feel in your back when squatting could be caused by your tight hips. Spend time on mobility work twice a week for fifteen minutes. YouTube and TikTok are great apps for finding mobility workouts for the lower, upper and full body.
Take It Slow
Spend time on the eccentric part of the movement. When squatting, sit in the lowest part for two to three seconds before lifting the weight. Hold the curl for two seconds when doing a bicep curl.
Taking it slow allows you to monitor your breathing and check how you handle the weight. It also allows you to truly engage the muscle you are working. On the other hand, going fast can quickly ruin your workout by causing you injury.
Leave Your Ego Behind
Ego lifting is out and should never come back. There is no need to add ten pounds to the rack just to chest press it in bad form. Flexing that you lift heavy weights is not cool when you end up snapping your ankle or cracking your spine.
Know that you have a lifetime to increase the weight you lift. It is better to add weights slowly, over a longer time, than to be forced out of the weight room by an injury.
Check Your Form
Good form is the gold standard. There is no point in hitting a perfect record if your form is completely off. Your lower back may not be messed up. You could just be lifting with improper form. Take time to study good form videos online and ask a professional.
Take it slow through a movement and listen to how your body feels in each stage of the lift. Also, ensure you can do three sets of 30 in perfect form of a bodyweight move before adding weights, which trains your body to hold a certain form when moving weight, even as it gets heavier.
Having a deload week every so often is a great way to prevent injury. Deloading is when you bring the weights back down to your easy weight, such as body weight, lighter weights, or even resistance bands. It is not quitting but ensuring your body can rest from heavy lifting.
Cool-downs are a part of the workout. You can take a walk, stretch, switch to pilates or yoga, or do some mobility work. The point is to bring your heart rate back down and stretch out the muscles that have spent some time in a tense state.
Cooling down allows you to take stock of how your body feels after a lifting session, note any imbalances for correction in the next session and address any discomfort or pain before it causes injury.
It is possible to lift weights at the gym or with at-home fitness equipment without inflicting injury on yourself and causing irreparable damage. Go slow, avoid ego lifting, and always have a spotter when hitting PRs. Stay safe as you get fitter.