5 Tips for Injury-Free Strength Training
Strength training plays an important role in maintaining your overall health and fitness. Strength training makes you stronger and fitter. It strengthens your bone. It helps to manage your weight. Specifically, for fat loss in a long term. Strength training helps to improve your body posture. Guess what, strength training also helps to build your confidence. If the training is done wrong, you could be injured. That is the one thing you need to avoid.
I will share with you my 5 tips for injury-free strength training and lift longer. I experienced that before on my left knee. It was an old injury due to a basketball match. I stop playing basketball and move to Powerlifting. I felt great and stronger than before. That was that moment, I was pushing my squat number, and I got too ambitious. From 150kg jumped to 180kg! Yes, I did it, but the technique was very bad. The rest was history! There goes my knee. From the 180kg squat, drop all the way to empty bar. Step by step I am building my squat number again.
1. YOU MUST NOT GO TOO HEAVY TOO FAST
This is the most obvious tip! Do not go too heavy too fast. How much is too heavy? First of all, you need to track all of your exercise programs. It is all about the balance of the intensity and volume of your exercise. In simple term, the intensity is the load you are lifting and volume is the set and reps that you are doing. Let just say you typically your workout set of squat is 100kg, 5reps and 3 sets. Then, the next week you feel great and pumped! You worked on 150kg, 5 reps and 3 sets. That is a bad idea! It is an example of going heavy too fast. The best way to check is to look at your form. If it is terrible! Just stop and drop the weight.
I would recommend, 1.5kg to 2.5kg incremental increase per-week is good enough with the same volume. Most important, gauge your limit and do not lift based on feeling. Track and record your exercise program. Remember to balance the intensity and volume. Once again, you must not go too heavy too fast.
2. YOU MUST SET UP A RIGHT EXERCISE ARRANGEMENT.
When you step into the gym, fresh and active, you must start big. Then, work small later. Do your heavy squat first before you do your bicep curl. In technical term, high skill exercise first then to a low skill exercise. Compound lifts such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, clean and jerk and snatch are high skill exercise. High skills are highly technical lift because it works on multiple joints and muscle group. Bicep curl, dumbbell shoulder press, leg press, tricep cable extension and even running are considered low skill exercise. These exercise work on typically one joint, one muscle group and one isolation movement. It uses less energy compared to high skill exercise. Start with big exercise and followed by smaller exercise.
3. YOU MUST INCLUDE MOBILITY WORK AND FOAM ROLLING.
Among all the tips, this is one of the key game changers and it should not be underestimated. Mobility work is a must. Mobility means the ability to move without restriction on the muscle and joints. Invest in form roller and it is a mandatory item for me to go to the gym. Foam rolling is known as the self-myofascial release in which pressure is applied to a particular body part to relieve pain and soreness. These two work compliment each other. It helps to increase blood flow and flexibility to your muscle and joints. It helps to improve your range of motion. It helps to promote muscle activation and unlocked your strength potential.
Let me put it in a simpler term. When you drive your car for a long period of time on difficult terrain, it impacts your tyre alignment and suspension. In order for your car to work at its top performance in a longer, you need to send your car to tyre alignments service. Then, it will be a smooth ride. Mobility work and foam rolling are like sending your muscle and joints to tyre alignment. It reduces the restriction of your body movement. So, never leave mobility work and foam rolling out from your workout. You may never maximize your strength potential.
4. YOU MUST ADDRESS IMBALANCES.
A chain is only strong as its weakest link. We have a right hand and left hand. We have a right leg and left leg. It is normal that either one of your sides will tend to be weaker. Usually, a right-handed person has a stronger right hand compared to the left hand. However, when you want to push your lift more and bring your strength training to the next level, you need to address your imbalances. Let’s just say, when you are doing your overhead press or the bench press your weaker arm will give way over when you lift. Pushing hard will lead to injury on your weaker part of your body. To avoid that, you need to work on both sides of the body individually. Examples of workout to address the imbalance strength are dumbbell press, dumbbell shoulder press, dumbbell flyes, single cable tricep push down, single leg Romanian deadlift, single leg squat or pistol squat, and etc. There are more! Just google it. Please takes it slow and focus on the right technique on the right side and left side.
5. YOU MUST HAVE ENOUGH SLEEP.
The most important factor of staying injury-free is recovery. Strength training is digging a hole and recovery is filling that hole back up. The most effective way to recover is SLEEP! It is the only time when your body needs to repair themselves. This will include your muscle, joints, bone and even your nervous system. Sleep deprivation affects your overall well being. It makes you grumpy and loses focus when lifting. It is just a matter of time when you got injured due to insufficient sleep. You need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day. The athletes usually sleep more than 8 hours to recover and they even take naps. You need it too.
Just remember all these 5 tips and execute on it. You will have an injury-free injury strength training. Do not be afraid of weight ladies and gentlemen. With the right step, it will improve you are overall well being.