Tips to Avoid Injuries When Strength Training…

chfitnessXhealthWithout a doubt, strength training is the key to staying fit and healthy long into your senior years.

However, like anything else, there are challenges you face when beginning a new strength training program.

When you work muscles that have not been worked for a while it is normal to feel dull aches and or soreness in these muscles. This pain is caused by the micro-trauma of muscle fibers from the connective tissues in the body.

This is absolutely normal and healthy. In fact the term “no pain, no gain” is appropriate but even better is “no strain, no gain.”

Pain is a signal you should not ignore. It is your body relaying to you that it needs to rest. When you feel pain simply give your body 1 to 2 days rest and usually you’ll find that your pain disappears.

If however, the pain does not go away or is persistent, you should consult our physician for further evaluation. Unrelenting pain is not normal nor is it something you should be experiencing. When injured your body lets you know through persistent pain and you must honor your body by stopping the exercise immediately.

Common muscular and skeletal injuries are accompanied by inflammation so an ice pack is the first course of treatment. Should you experience a sudden onset of pain, any popping sounds or severe relentless pain, recognize these as signs that something abnormal is going on in your body.

Know that pain is a signal your body sends you to warn you of impending danger. Pay attention when it signals, stop exercising and if need be (if you experience ongoing pain), consult your physician immediately.

Some tips to avoid injury while strength training:

Honoring your Joints: A joint is only as strong as the muscles that cross it. If you have not done any strength training in a long time, or if this is your first time ever, be careful how much you ask of your joints.

Using too much weight too soon: Always start lower than you expected ability and work your way up slowly. If your form suffers, you are swinging the weight, or using momentum, this indicates you may be using too much weight. Greater momentum increases the potential for injury and reduces the effectiveness to the muscle group being targeted. You should be careful to increase the weight you use no more than about 5% at a time.

Rest is important: Not resting long enough or resting far too long can both be a workout killer and lead to injuries. The recommended rest period is between 30-90 seconds for overall fitness. And, don’t forget your rest days in between your workouts. This is the time your body uses to “regroup.”

Engage in Slow Weight Training: One version of weight training that seems to work well for many people is Slow Weight Training. By slowing things down, you actually turn your exercise into a high-intensity exercise. Proponents claim slow lifting has a decided advantage over standard weight-training techniques because it puts greater demand on the muscles, thus burning calories faster while minimizing the jerking motions that so often lead to injuries. It is intense for sure, but you’ll really know that you have worked your muscles after this “slow mo” type of strength training. You can do this type of training as much as twice a week but only once is needed for results.

My recommendation is to use four to five basic compound movement (you can vary them) for your exercise set.

An example:

Pull-down (or alternatively chin-up)

Chest press

Compound row (a pulling motion in the horizontal plane)

Overhead press

Leg press or squat

You can do these type of exercises using free weights or machines. Select a weight that is light enough so you can do at least eight repetitions, but heavy enough so you can’t do more than 12. If you can squeeze out more than a dozen you’re ready to switch to a heavier weight.

Here’s a quick summary of how to perform these exercises:

Begin by lifting the weight slowly and gradually as you can with a four-second positive and a four-second negative, meaning it takes four seconds, or a slow count to four to bring the weight up and another four seconds to lower it. (When pushing, stop about 10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened; smoothly reverse direction). Slowly lower the weight back down to the slow count of four.

Repeat until exhausted; should be at around four to eight repetitions. Once you are exhausted do not try to heave or jerk the weight to get one last repetition in (that’s just asking for an injury). Instead, just keep trying to produce the movement even if it’s not “going” anywhere for another five seconds or so. Using the right amount of weight or resistance, you should be able to perform four to eight repetitions.

Immediately switch to the next exercise for the next target muscle group and repeat the first three steps. Your workout should take no more than 12 to 15 minutes.

Everything you need to know to slow down and even reverse the aging clock can be found in my anti-aging library of help: “Reclaim Your Longevity.”

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