Weight lifting can be traced back to the beginning of the Olympic Games and it has endured throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Its effectiveness as a sport cannot be questioned; however, it is imperative that it is done correctly. Without the proper form and technique, weight lifting can have devastating (and lasting) consequences. You only need to have dealt with a crisis once to understand how easily they can occur. So, to ensure that you get your workout without unnecessary risk of injury, here are 10 rules for weight lifting safely.
Safety tips for weightlifting
Kit yourself out
Be prepared when you enter the gym, and only ever train in the right attire. Make sure you wear clothing made from a breathable fabric that doesn’t restrict, hinder or obstruct you in any way. The correct footwear is also essential for weight lifting safely. Rubber soles are preferable for you to avoid slipping during an exercise and your foot should also be protected in case you (or someone else) should drop a weight on it. If you suffer from any joint injuries or weaknesses, remember to wear the appropriate guard.
Always warm up
It’s highly recommended that before you lift a weight, you do at least five to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise to get your muscles warm and pliable. You should aim to warm up the muscles you’ll be working; so if you’re going to do arm exercises use an upper-body aerobic machine or simply do a few minutes of arm rotations.
Secure weight plates correctly
It doesn’t matter how much of a rush you are in to finish the set, or how pumped you’re feeling; forgetting to secure weight plates is downright negligent. It’s not only a danger to yourself, but to those who are working out alongside you. Even if you are confident that you can lift the assigned weight, it only takes a small shift in your balance for everything to go pear-shaped. If for some reason you cannot secure the weight, you should inform the facility manager immediately. Never rush past this crucial step.
Maintain the proper technique and form
No matter how you feel on the day, speeding through your reps is doing yourself a disservice. Not only that, but you are opening yourself up to the risk of injury. Perform each movement slowly and thoughtfully. Concentrate on engaging your core group of muscles to enhance stability, and go at a reasonable pace. Proper form is always more important than lifting a lot of weight. Keep your back straight, and don’t strain your neck or rock your body to generate momentum. It will just cause an injury and make the exercise ineffective.
No jerking or swinging
This should be mentioned as part of technique, but it is worth highlighting. Jerking and swinging movements while lifting puts unnecessary strain on your joints, wastes your energy and can signal instability. To ensure you are weight lifting safely, rather take it slowly and maintain a stable position.
Increase your weights slowly
Don’t try to be a hero. Jumping from a 5kg weight to a 10kg weight doesn’t sound like a big adjustment. However, you’re effectively doubling the load on that muscle and you’re probably going to get hurt. To ensure that you avoid an injury and can continue working on those muscles, move to a 6, 7 or 8kg weight. Once you can complete all your reps with more weight, you can move up.
Keep an eye out
Always be aware of your surroundings. Take note of where the equipment is, who is standing nearby, and where possible obstructions could be. The middle of a routine is a terrible time to realise something is in the way. Worse still is just after dropping your weights in exhaustion.
Remember to breathe
The general rule for breathing is to exhale forcefully through your mouth as you lift the weight and inhale deeply through your nose as you lower it. Don’t overdo it or get fixed on the mechanics, though. Just remember that proper breathing is important for speeding oxygen to your muscles so it’s a good idea to be aware of it. Don’t hold your breath for too long because you can increase your blood pressure and even pass out.
Complete your range of motion
Weight lifting safely requires that you use the correct range of motion for each exercise. In other words, you need to pull or push as far as you’re supposed to without going past a natural range of motion. For example, if you’re lifting dumbbells out to the side; don’t go above shoulder level as this puts too much stress on the shoulder and can injure the joint. Sitting down too far during a squat can also cause knee injuries.
Focus only on the muscle you are working. If you don’t, you’ll find that your workout isn’t as effective as it could be. If you’re performing abdominal crunches, focus on your breathing and keeping the correct form. Complete each rep slowly while engaging all the necessary muscles. It’s easy to do abdominal crunches without really working your abs.
Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy to become a professional
If you are interested in an Olympic lifting course that will allow you to become a professional trainer locally or abroad, contact Trifocus Fitness Academy today. Trifocus Fitness Academy offers nationally and internationally accredited courses in the health and fitness industry. To find out more about our Olympic lifting course, visit our website or call us on 0861 444 765.