ORIGINAL POSTING DATE March 31, 2010
What do you need to effectively weight train?
I know, you’re thinking that I’m thinking the answer is, “A certified personal trainer.” Nicely done. It is absolutely true that a personal trainer will help you get the most out of your weight training. Goal setting, program design, safe technique, measuring starting parameters and progress, motivation, all that is great.
But not quite what I was thinking. So what does your body need in order to not only tolerate weight training, but to genuinely improve from it?
And how can you reduce your risk of injury due to weight training?
Prepare your body to function.
First… How’s your Mobility?
Do you have a functional level of pain-free range of motion in your joints and muscles? Do you have muscles which are either too weak or too tight, inhibiting your pain-free range of motion? If you have joint pain, get straight to a physical therapist or physician for a diagnosis before doing anything.
Myofascial release, range of motion exercises, dynamic stretching, static stretching, assisted stretching… all these, among others, can combine to help overcome immobility and prepare you for weight training.
Second… How’s your Stability?
If any of your joints are unstable, they are at risk of collapsing under the stress of additional weight. If you’ve ever sprained your ankle, you know how unstable a joint can be! Picture this… on top of a soccer ball, we try to balance a two by four, and on top of the two by four we try to balance a flat of bricks. Teeter… totter… tumble…. Muscles tend to move awkwardly around unstable joints, and compensations can occur which can quickly lead to injuries.
Isometric exercises, balancing, reactive and eccentric exercises, core activation, scapular and pelvic stabilization… these are some of the techniques used to stabilize your joints, including your spine. Corrective exercises will improve your ability to fire your muscles in the proper sequence and build your strength with the proper balance between opposing muscles groups.
Sounds complicated. Sometimes it is. But usually it isn’t all that complex and a personal trainer with functional training experience can help you make sense of it all. (There’s the big plug!) Expert help can make the difference between being dogged by injury and enjoying incredible strength, stamina and vitality.