Weightlifting can boost strength, muscle tone, and heart health, making it a solid part of your new gym routine. Since it deals with heavy weights that challenge your body, it’s crucial to follow safety practices to avoid injury to yourself or others, while maximizing its benefits. Here's what to keep in mind as you add lifting to your workout plan.
Have a capable spotter.
A spotter is there to supervise your lifts and ensure your safety. They’re responsible for assisting if you struggle to control the weights, can’t complete the lift, or have poor form or technique.
You should have a spotter when lifting more weight than usual and when doing heavy lifts, even if you’re used to them. Make sure they’re experienced, knowledgeable, and fit enough to assist with the weights.
Use clips when lifting.
Clips should be fitted onto barbells to hold the weights in place when you’re lifting, keeping them from sliding off and injuring you, bystanders, or equipment. The only exception is when you’re benching weights. Not using a clip allows you to tilt the barbell and slide the weights off if you and your spotter can’t lift them or need a quick out.
Breathe too quickly.
It’s critical to continue breathing evenly while lifting, or you risk getting light-headed or losing your grip on the weights. Proper breathing gives you more pressure to boost your lifts and ensures adequate oxygen supply throughout your muscles and body. Breathe in slowly through your nose, then exhale slowly as you lift. Avoid hyperventilating, as rapid and shallow breathing doesn’t aid in oxygen delivery or strength.
Overwork your muscles.
Focusing on the same muscle group over several sessions can greatly increase your risk of injury. When you go to the gym, alternate the muscle groups that you work out, dividing them up into the back, shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and calves. Work each group at least once a week for optimal strength and muscle building, but don’t exercise the same group more than three times a week.
If you’re new to weightlifting, a personal trainer will ensure you have proper form, technique, and safety practices. Top Form in Delmar and Clifton Park, NY, is a gym dedicated to one-on-one fitness, with nationally-certified trainers and custom workout plans. They’ve helped clients throughout Albany's Capital District meet their health and fitness goals since 2014. Explore their services online, or call the gym at (518) 451-9283.