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Lifting weights is an important part of any workout regimen. It burns calories, builds muscle, and strengthens bones. However, poor technique can lead to muscle strains, ligament sprains, and joint pain. Get the most from your weight training sessions and remain injury-free with these tips.

Begin a New Exercise Routine

The best advice we can give is to talk to your doctor before you start any new workout program, especially if you are overweight, are 40 years or older, have a pre-existing medical condition, or haven’t worked out in a long time. You might also choose to work with a personal trainer who can help you tailor your workouts to your fitness level, age, and physical capabilities. No matter who you counsel with, remember to start any new exercise routine slowly to get your body accustomed to it.

Weight Training Safety Tips

While you should always follow the advice of your doctor or personal trainer, here are some general weight training safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Warm up for five minutes with stretching and light aerobic exercise. This gets your heart pumping and loosens tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Begin with low weights and low reps to prevent injury and keep muscle soreness to a minimum. Once you can easily do 12 reps, gradually increase the weight.
  • Listen to your body. Stop if you ever feel pain or exhaustion.
  • Only use safe, well-maintained equipment. Weight training with faulty equipment greatly increases your risk of injury.
  • Focus on breathing. Exhale during the exertion phase, and inhale during the release phase.
  • Use controlled movements. Never build up momentum to swing the weights through your range of motion. Instead, use slow, steady movements.
  • Maintain good posture to prevent incorrect technique. In general, you should keep your back straight and maintain tight abdominal muscles.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Loose, comfortable workout clothes should allow you to sweat easily and not restrict your movement.
  • Work out different muscle groups during each trip to the gym. This gives your muscles time to heal and grow. As a general rule, work each major muscle group no more than once every 48 hours (every other day).
  • Set weights down gently. Never drop them to the floor from any height.
  • Know when to skip training. You may want to stay on track with your workouts, but forcing your body to be physically active when you’re ill or injured could impair the healing process.

Get Help for Weight Training Injuries

If you become injured at the gym, physical therapy and sports medicine treatment may be your best recovery option. At Effective Integrative Healthcare, we believe in delivering high-quality care without pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures. Our offerings are well-rounded and varied to help us treat patients with joint discomfort, ankle sprains, pulled hamstrings, shin splints, tendinitis, and more.

Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation at one of our offices in Millersville, Crofton, or Lanham, MD.