Proper technique is so important in all forms of exercise, but weight training especially so due to the harm that bad habits can cause. Many people forego weight resistance in favor of cardio, yoga, spinning, and other terrific forms of exercise. In their minds, the fear of injury outweighs the potential gains.
However, effective weight training can have such amazing benefits in transforming your body that you should at least consider it an option – if done safely. In part 1, I wrote about Tips to Succeed to make your experience with weights a success. Here, we’re going to dive into ways you can avoid getting hurt. Let’s get started!
Don’t Skip Warmup. It is a scientific fact that cold muscles are more prone to injury than warm muscles1. We’ve detailed stretching exercises for whatever areas you are lifting for, both elsewhere on this website as well as on the Allwell app. Other ways to “get lose” would include a brisk walk, jumping jacks or lunges2.
Don’t Overdo It. Whatever weight training program you decide to embark on, ultimately it is you – and only you – that has the ability to “listen to your body.” If you feel like your body is signaling for you to stop due to stress or strain, do so3. This applies to both the number of repetitions for each exercise, as well as how many “sets” of those repetitions you do. If an exercise causes you pain, STOP! Either reduce the amount of weight significantly and focus more on form, or eliminate it altogether.
Don’t Rush Through Your Workout. Move the weight in an unhurried, controlled fashion. This slow approach helps you isolate the muscles you’re trying to strengthen, in addition to providing your best results. If for whatever reason you don’t have time to “get in” all the exercises you intended, just choose what you consider the most important ones that day and focus on performing them correctly – and slowly!
Don’t Forget to Slowly Increase Your Weight Resistance. As you get stronger over time, your body will also tell you once a set becomes too “easy.” Take a measured approach here, but do increase when that happens for optimal results.
Do Wear Proper Shoes. This will help you maintain proper balance as you exercise as well as provide needed traction to keep you from slipping. If you incorporate squats into your training, correct footwear is essential! This Fitness Nation article does a great job of breaking down the difference between running shoes and training shoes.
Finally, a common sense tip, but not to be ignored. Lifting with a partner is wonderful if that’s an option. You can provide motivation to each other and watch each other’s form to ensure that it matches the form demonstrated in the Allwell app’s extensive Video On Demand section. It’s also tremendously helpful for safety reasons to have a “spotter” you trust, especially if you are lifting free weights!
– Johnny Premier, COO of Allwell
1 The Mayo Clinic, “Weight Training: Proper Do’s and Don’ts of Technique” – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/weight-training/art-20045842
2 WebMD.com, “How to Start Strength Training” – https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/ss/slideshow-start-strength-training
3 FitnessNation.net – “The Do’s & Don’ts of Weightlifting” – https://fitness-nation.net/2018/03/22/the-dos-and-donts-of-weightlifting/