Whatever your reason may be for lifting weights, safety should always come first. Whether you are lifting weights for general fitness, training for competition or for sports, lifting weights the wrong way can cause potential injury or for some even death. Accidents can and may happen especially if you are not careful.
Your body’s form is a critical part of weightlifting. The goal is to lift the appropriate amount of weight and use the perfect form while doing it in order to avoid injury. If you lift more than you can handle and use bad form, it is a sure way to hurt or injure yourself.
1. Get an Instructor
The first thing that you should do is to find an instructor who can teach you how to do your exercises properly and correctly. Good technique can be learned and is one of the most important ways to avoid injury.
High school coaches and athletic trainers are great instructors. College weight coaches of the varsity athletic teams are also good options. They can give you good advice and help you learn proper techniques.
If you are not in school anymore, you can ask these people for recommendations as well or you can consult with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Avoid taking advice from people who have no real experience or never learned good weight lifting techniques themselves. Some people may appear to have little experience over time, but it is best to listen to a professional. Reading books can help as well, but nothing beats personal coaching.
2. Set Your Goals
Once you have found a teacher or coach, they will be able to help you decide on the goals for your weight-training program. Typically, the goals of your weight training program will depend on your physical maturity, age, and the reason why you are lifting weights.
In the program, you will need to consider which exercises you will be using, how often each exercise will be done, what weight should you start with, and when you should increase the weight.
3. Know the Right Age
It is highly recommended for most people to wait until they are at least 15 years old before they should try major lifts. At 15, people’s bodies become mature enough for lifting exercises.
The major lifts are performed with barbells ranging from different scales. It includes the clean and jerk, snatch, squat, power clean, deadlift and the bench where incline and overhead presses are done.
These exercises are most likely to cause injury if you attempt to lift heavy weights without equipping yourself with the proper technique and the help of spotters.
4. Warming Up and Cooling Down
It is important for any physical activity to warm up and cool down to stretch your muscles and avoid injury. In weightlifting, you are required to warm up and cool down for each session. For your warm-up session start with stretching exercises, jogging, and calisthenics or bodyweight exercises.
Always warm up before lifting weights and when you begin to lift, use small or little amounts of weight at first and eventually progress to higher weights as you continue. When you cool down, stretching is also very important.
5. Understand the Dos and Don’ts
Do use a spotter or spotters when you try major lifts. Always keep your back straight when lifting, use proper lifting technique even when you are moving the weights around the room. Wear shoes with good traction, and make sure that the equipment that you will use is in good condition.
Do not hold our breath when you are lifting heavy weights, and try not to hyperventilate or breathe in and out fast. There is a tendency that you may faint and lose control of the weights.
Breathe out every time you lift. Do not continue to lift if you feel pain, stop for a few days or try the exercise using less weight. Try not to exercise any set of muscles more than 3 times a week.
Never cheat your technique in order to lift heavier weights than you can handle. Never lift heavy weights without spotters, and don’t lift more weight than you know you can lift safely.
As you continue with your program, always check for injuries. Some injuries are more obvious than others, but if you suspect injury you should always see your doctor.