Weight lifting is catching with people like fire these days. It is one of the most important factors of staying healthy, lean, and holding a positive self image. I know a lot of people that would go insane if they couldn't train four or five times a week.
A lot of beginners that start up their workout regimen on the first of every year usually give up to soon because lack of knowledge on how to properly manipulate their muscles. A lot of times poor technique leads to injury, causing someone to have to put off their training.
Thereby setting their goals of becoming a Greek god further back. This article is to help people of all levels avoid injury in the gym.
1. The Number One Way To Avoid An Injury Is... Warming Up!
That's right people we have heard it over and over about how important it is to warm up before and intense session in the gym. It is crucial to get your body temperature up, the blood circulating and your muscles lose and ready to go. Your body is like a car when it comes to this.
Think about it. If you go out to your car to go to work at 5:30 in the morning during the dead of winter and start it up and try taking off right away, what happens? Your car stalls, something breaks, and you are pissed off. Your windows have frost all over them (unless you keep it in a garage, which would be like wearing a warm up suit), and your tires are buried in snow (again the warm up suit analogy).
So what do you have to do? Go out a little early, start it up, let it idle to get the oil circulating, the engine temperature up, scrape the frost off and dig the snow out. Well, that's like warming up before your workout. You need to go to the gym a little early, get on the tread mill or the bike, get the blood circulating, your body temperature up.
Then you need to do some sort of dynamic (moving-arm circles, lunges) stretching as well as static (stationary-holding a stretch for a period of time) stretching. You will notice a big difference in your performance in the gym if you properly warm up, I guarantee it!
2. Some Exercise Tricks Of The Trade!
A lot of exercises put your body into a position prone to injury, I am going to go over a few tricks you can employ to avoid these situations.
It is important to keep your head up when squatting to prevent your back from rounding, unless you want to break a couple vertebrae. Never let your knees go in front of your feet or you could tear some tendons. Don't flare your knees out to far. Go slow, a nice smooth pace will help work the muscle better and prevent any mishaps.
Bent-Over One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
With your knee on the bench, you inside hand on the bench and a 150 lb dumbbell strapped to you side as you row it can put a lot of pressure on your body. To avoid back discomfort keep your head up. To avoid your elbow and forearm from getting torn apart from bracing your body up go ahead and put your elbow on the bench instead of your hand. Doing this will also help give you a better angle to attack your lats from. It will target more of the belly of the lat.
Weather you are doing conventional style or sumo style deadlift puts an awful lot of stress on the lower back, especially when done incorrectly. The key to avoiding overdue stress if using a weight you can handle with your legs and not your back. Deadlifting is a function of hip movement forward and backward. Imagine pushing your hips forward in front of you when lifting the weight of the floor. On the way down, visualize moving your hips back towards the wall and not down. This adjustment takes a while to get used to, but it will eventually lead to great technique, better workouts, better muscle manipulation, and you will move up in poundage a lot faster.
A lot of people run into wrist trouble when doing bicep curls and bench presses. The reason behind this? Improper technique. When benching try not to use a thumb less grip, not only is it dangerous, but it also puts a lot of stress on the wrist when it is cocked back. When doing curls keep your wrist in line with your forearm, so its not curled up or down.
3. Stretching Before and After
These are just a few of the little changes you can make to your workout to alleviate injury. Nobody wants to delay training for 6 months because of a torn muscle. So take the time to properly warm up and stretch before you workout. Also take some time at the end to stretch.
Stretching at the end of your workout will increase power. Why, because when you stretch at the end you are increasing the length of your muscle. So perpetually you have increased the distance of your muscle. Moving the same weight across a longer distance is more work (force x distance), and more work leads to more power (work / time). It is the little things that make a big difference.