In general, lifting weights is a very safe exercise. Most of us will probably go our entire lives without a major injury, aside from the occasional pain. If you’ve gone a long time without exercising, you’ll almost certainly notice some soreness after lifting weights. This pain usually lasts for one to two days. But if you follow the guidelines below, you’ll greatly reduce the amount of soreness you have after your workout.
Be sure to warm up before lifting. You should get at least 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic exercise before lifting weights. Aerobic exercise helps increase core temperature and therefore increases the temperature of working muscles. This helps make those muscles less susceptible to injury. The constant movement of aerobic exercise also helps lubricate joints with a fluid called synovium. This fluid coats the joints and keeps them moving smoothly. If you’re considering training with heavy weights or doing any type of weight lifting, you’ll want to increase this warm-up time.
After your aerobic exercise you should do some kind of stretching. You want to make sure that each stretch not only works the muscle you’ll be targeting with your workout, but the opposite muscle as well. For example, if you are going to work the triceps, you should also make sure to stretch the biceps. You should do at least 8-12 repetitions of any stretch before moving on to the next.
Excellent exercises are walking, bicycling, jumping rope, or lunges. If you want to make sure you’re also targeting your upper muscles as you walk, try swinging your arms back and forth. If you’re riding a bike, try turning your shoulders. There are other machines that will exercise your entire body, such as ellipticals or rowing machines.
For your first set, you should always start with 8-10 reps with a lighter weight. This is called a warm-up set, and it helps your muscles get used to the action and movement of the exercise. Even very experienced bodybuilders and powerlifters do warm-up sets. If you start straight away with heavy weights, this is where you risk seriously injuring yourself. These are not behaviors you want to continue. Going straight into heavy weights can cause you to lose control of the weight, if you’re not ready you could drop the weight, or you could strain or tear a muscle. Any combination of these injuries can cause you to lose time in your training to recover.
When you’re doing your initial warmup, make sure you lift weights in slow motion. Shaking weights too fast is a good way to insult yourself. A good rule of thumb is that if you hear weights clicking on the bar, then you are moving too fast.
One of the most important and most overlooked components of weight lifting is breathing. You want to make sure that you are breathing continuously throughout the repetition. During any exercise that involves weights, a temporary increase in blood pressure is to be expected. If you hold your breath for a repetition, your blood pressure will rise even more. This will also cause pressure in the chest cavity, which stops the circulation of blood cells in the muscles. Once you breathe and relax after the repetition, your blood pressure drops, which can cause you to lose the weight. So remember to inhale on the first movement and exhale on the last movement.
Finally, you need to make sure you are using proper form when lifting weights. You have to make sure that you keep your back on the bench. You’ll also want to make sure you’re not tilting your wrists the wrong way. Any of these can cause serious injury. You need to make sure that you place your body in a position where it does not put undue stress on your joints and muscles. The form is everything.