Weight Lifting 101
1) Never push through pain.
The expression “No Pain No Gain” should not be followed literally when exercising if long term health and fitness is the goal. The difference between pushing through pain and pushing through uncomfortable but not yet painful sensations in your muscles have very different effects on your body. If you feel pain while weight lifting, it would be wise to listen and make modifications. Regress the exercise to a level that is pain free, and build up slowly. If you are still experiencing the pain, find an expert to help you as there may be something else causing the pain.
2) Focus on form.
Establishing proper form early allows for longevity and long term strength gains as the risk of injury is minimized when technique is emphasized. Do not let your form breakdown as you become fatigued. If you notice your form breaking down, take a small break and start again with proper form.
3) Perform exercises with full range of motion (within your limits).
If you consistently perform an exercise with partial ranges of motion you will only get strong within that partial range. It is optimal to strengthen your muscles and joints within its full pain free range as it will provide you with greater mobility and more resilient joints in the long term.
4) Build a well rounded routine.
If your goal is to build a stronger upper body make sure you balance push and pull exercises equally. For example, if you are doing a lot of push ups or bench press which emphasizes your chest, balance it out by also doing an exercise that trains the opposite muscles such as a bent over row. Muscle imbalances develop over time if you neglect opposite sides of the body.
5) Do not neglect your lower body.
It may be tempting for some to focus on training the upper body muscles but it is the lower body that carries us around all day, not the upper body. Strengthen the muscles that provide greatest functionality first. The lower limbs are the foundation of the body. Building muscle mass in the upper body without training the legs will result in an unstable, top heavy structure.
Written by Sports Osteopath - Theo Chapman