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Safe Weight Training

By: John Beith - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Weights Weight Training Weightlifting

Whether you want to build muscle, get a six-pack or just be able to see your toes while standing on the scales, then a weight training programme could be the way to achieve your goals.

You should set yourself a target of what you want to achieve and get advice from a trainer on how you can meet your targets and devise a training schedule that suits you.

There are plenty of health benefits gained from weight training, your overall fitness, improvement in your metabolism, and body toning are just some of the benefits. It helps with weight management and strength training has been shown to help people who suffer from depression and stress.

Some people think that weight training is just for bodybuilders, or for the person who wants to look good on the beach, but more and more people are realising the benefits that weight training can bring and men and women of all ages are now going to fitness centres to exercise on weight machines.

Before you embark on a weight training regime there are some things you should consider to ensure you are lifting correctly and exercising safely.

  • If you haven't been doing any exercise for a time, are extremely overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are over 30, or are suffering from any medical condition then check with your family doctor before starting any weight training exercises.

  • Get a fitness assessment and discuss your goals with a qualified trainer.

  • Warm up before lifting. Because weight training is a very explosive exercise your warm up shouldn't be the normal stretching routine that you would do before many other sports. Instead you should warm up for around 10 minutes doing a lighter version of the activity you are going to perform. A couple of sets of repetitions of squats, or lunges, using an empty bar is an ideal way to workup a slight sweat , before starting your first real exercise.

  • Don't overdo it! Don't try to compete with the big guy next to you who is bench pressing huge weights. Lifting too much too soon is sure-fire way to pick up an injury. Start slowly and build up the weights you lift through time.

  • If you lose control of the weight before you finish the repetitions you were hoping to achieve, then you have too much weight on the bar.

  • If you feel pain or it hurts when you are lifting or lowering beyond a certain point, then stop. Speak to your trainer and tell him. Not everyone's flexibility is the same and you may have to avoid some types of exercises, or build up very slowly to achieve the lift.

  • Don't worry about becoming too muscular. Many people especially women feel that weight training will give them huge masculine looking muscles and biceps, it's not the case. The bodybuilders who you see with huge muscles have to work extremely hard and do specialist exercises over a long period to get a physique like that.

  • If you are lifting weights overhead, you should have someone to spot you. This person will be there to help control the bar if you get into difficulties.

  • Leg injuries are most common in beginners, usually brought about by incorrect technique, or by lifting too much too quickly.

  • To avoid injury while doing leg exercises don't lock the knees when extending your legs.

  • Leg press is a machine based exercise and you should keep the torso steady, and the movement should be smooth. Don't jerk or use quick movements, or you're liable to pull something.

  • Squats can be done with or without a machine and are a very good exercise for the legs as a whole, if done properly with the correct weight. You should keep your back stable while moving only your knee, ankle and hip. This should help you avoid any injury.

  • When doing leg curls you're back shouldn't arch while doing the exercise. Don't try and lift too much weight as this can cause back or leg injuries.

  • Start with a low weight then build up to one you are comfortable with.

  • Beginners could try starting off using dumbbells. As with all other weights make sure the technique you are using is correct.

  • Don't train every day. Reducing the number of consecutive days you train has been proved to help lessen the number of injuries that take place. Instead of training 1 hour a day for six consecutive days Why not try training for 90 minutes Monday Wednesday Friday and Sunday, the overall training time is the same but you're giving your body time to recover.

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