Staying free from injuries when you are strength training can be difficult. Since you are stressing your body, injury risks abound. Practice the following 7 tips for injury-free strength training and you will receive the maximum physical benefits without any painful downtime.
1 - See your doctor before you begin training.
Get a checkup or at least a physical fitness test before you begin any strength training regimen. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where most fitness-minded individuals drop the ball. You absolutely must know if you have an underlying heart disease or other condition which could cause injury, or even death, before you start working out.
2 - Warm up before you exercise.
Here is another important practice where people anxious to get started often skip. Just 5 minutes of mildly intense warm-up exercise elevates your heart rate and gets your body ready for the intense physical stress it is about to undergo. This could be as simple as walking, jogging, or tackling a few flights of stairs.
3 - Start off slowly and listen to your body.
Whether you are just getting started strength training or you are a seasoned veteran, each session should start off slowly. Focus on your very first exercise and each individual repetition. Watch yourself closely, and “listen” to your body. Do not ignore warning signs of any nature, even if you have only a couple of reps left to finish a set.
4 - Steadily build time and intensity.
You want to build strength and muscle, burn fat and get fit fast. But accelerating your weightlifting repetitions, sets and the amount of weight you are training with too quickly can cause an injury that could set back your physical fitness regimen weeks or even months.
Muscle growth happens when you slowly and steadily increase the load you are working with. By increasing how long you work out you can also improve the impact of your strength training, but do so steadily and slowly.
5 - Stay hydrated.
Whether you think you have enough fluids in your body or not, drink 16 ounces of water 2 hours before you work out. And keep a water bottle handy while you are strength training. Thirsty muscles do not recover and heal properly.
6 - Practice proper rest and recovery.
Muscles require rest to grow stronger. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, and allow 24 to 48 hours between working out the same muscle groups.
7 - Eat properly and never train hungry.
Did you know that your diet makes up as much as 60% of how you look? Some nutritionists and physical fitness experts believe that number to be even higher. So do your homework, and make sure you are eating the right ratio of protein, healthy fats, calories and carbohydrates, or all the right strength training moves will have little effect.