When we are stagnant for most of the day, blood settles in our body causing us to feel “tight.”
- Warm up and stretch – stretching increases blood flow and oxygen circulation in muscles. Stretching also allows your body to be ready to perform at its top level. Does a dog stretch before it gets into a fight? No, dogs are awesome, and you are not a dog. So stretch! (I love dogs)
- Always maintain proper form – this one is self-explanatory, but I’m going to do it anyway. You should always have a coach that is prepared to teach proper form for any movement from a jumping jack to a snatch complex. If they are not prepared, then walk out immediately. Mastering proper form is the first step in safety when you begin to lift.
Proper form is the practice of keeping your body in the appropriate alignment in order to perform an activity in a safe and efficient manner. Good form also allows you to focus on the muscle groups that you are trying to train when you lift, and allows the weight to be controlled by the intended muscle group. (Ex: an arched back during a deadlift, focuses weight on the lower back, as opposed to neutral spine alignment (“flat back”) that focuses the weight on your legs.)
- Don’t lift with your ego – if it is too heavy, then don’t lift it. Unless you are a professional weightlifter, there is little benefit for adults to have to be the person that lifts the most at the gym. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to improve the amount of weight that you are capable of moving. What I am saying is that in order to achieve that growth you have to remain within your current limits. If you jump up in weight too soon, then you could be at risk of injury by violating the 2nd tip in this list. The ego is a dangerous thing and can trick you into thinking that you need to make major jumps before you are ready.
- Listen to your body and know when to stop – “If it hurts, then don’t do that.” A wise man made this statement to me. When you experience pain, that typically means your body is telling you to stop doing whatever it is that you are doing. In sports, the thought is that “you have to work through the pain.” I disagree completely. It is ok to work through FATIGUE not pain. The difference: Fatigue is when our body is tired and pain is when our body is hurt. Working through actual pain puts you at a greater risk of becoming injured. If it hurts, STOP!
- Rest days are good – My Christian view is “if God needed to rest, then I should too.” However, the basic science behind exercise is that as muscle fibers are trained they break down, when muscles fibers are broken down they have to rebuild, in order to rebuild muscles they have to recover, and recovery occurs when we rest. So, we have to allow for muscle group to rebuild and become stronger by giving them ample opportunity to recover by not using them.
6. Seek assistance from a medical professional when necessary – if you ever experience pain or discomfort, seek out the assistance of medical professionals. Specifically, medical professionals that you have to pay for their services. I know that you probably have a friend that works in the medical field, but don’t just ask them questions unless they have the tools available to them and are willing to help diagnose what ails you. By ignoring pain you set yourself up to potentially suffer severe injury.
To sum all 6 points up, I would say “Be SAFE.” Common sense and paying attention to your body is always good practice when it comes to exercise and lifting weights. When in doubt, be safe.
If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your Coach during class, or reach out to us here. We’re always willing to help in whatever way we can.
– Coach Robert