Weight training, when done correctly, is one of the most effective ways of getting fit in the gym. But, if proper technique isn’t used, you may be putting yourself at risk of injury…
Whether you’re a regular gym goer, or you’re just getting started, you’ll no doubt be aware of weight training. It’s an integral part of many people’s exercise routine and can be adapted to suit any skill level or previous experience. This makes it an attractive method of getting stronger and fitter.
That said, weight training isn’t as straightforward as just lifting something heavy up and down for 20 minutes! There are an endless number of different exercises you can carry out, with a wide range of different pieces of equipment, which means you need to be well prepared before you hit the weight room.
The consequences of poor weight training technique, such as a serious spinal cord injury, should not be underestimated. That’s why, in this post, we’ll be covering some of the most important reasons to use proper weight training technique. We’ll also give you a closer insight into what that actually looks like in practice.
5 Reasons to Use Proper Weight Training Technique
1. You Reduce the Risk of Short-Term Injury
First thing’s first, the most obvious and important reason for using proper weight training technique is to reduce the risk of an immediate and sudden injury. When we lift heavy weights, your body may naturally come out of alignment, which puts added strain on our muscles, joints and tendons.
If you lift a weight incorrectly, you may put the load of the weight on one area of your body, such as your lower back, which could lead to strains and tears.
There’s also an increased chance of losing your footing or balance, which is likely to lead to you falling over. While this isn’t an immediate risk in itself, when you’re carrying a heavy weight you run the risk of landing awkwardly or, without properly bracing yourself, leading to a serious injury.
The risk of an injury due to poor technique is significantly increased if you try and lift a weight that is too heavy, or you use a piece of equipment without having a tutorial beforehand.
2. Helps to Alleviate and Prevent Long-Term Health Issues
Even if you don’t suffer an injury during the act of weight training with poor technique, there is a chance that you will cause long-term damage to your body. Poor technique increases the load on your joints which, if left unchecked, could lead to the development of a condition such as arthritis.
On the flipside, using the correct technique will actually have the opposite effect. If you already suffer from a condition such as arthritis, weightlifting is the perfect way to build up your muscles so that they can properly support your joints.
So long as you use proper technique, doctors will often recommend weight training as a way of counteracting arthritis. This is because it can ease joint stiffness, boost bone strength, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
3. You Understand Your Limits
When you don’t use proper weight training techniques, it can be difficult to understand what your limits are and how much you can safely lift without running the risk of an injury.
In many situations, it may be physically easier to lift a heavy weight with the incorrect technique, but this should never be the approach you should take. It will give you a false sense of what you’re capable of achieving and will only be detrimental to your overall progress.
It is much more beneficial to lift lighter weights with the correct technique.
4. You Can Better Determine How Productive Your Sessions Are
Using consistent, safe weight training techniques will help to effectively assess how productive each of your individual sessions are. It will also allow you to measure your progress over a sustained period of time.
If you use the exact same technique each time you perform a specific exercise, you’ll be able to accurately assess how much progress you’re making. This will indicate whether you’re ready to safely push yourself with a more rigorous test.
5. You Can Target Muscles and Muscle Groups
By lifting with proper form, you’ll be able to properly target specific muscles and muscle groups that you want to develop. For example, if you’re squatting a heavy weight, you want the load to be pushed through your legs. Proper technique will allow you to achieve this – improper technique may push the load through your lower back instead.
Another example may be if you’re trying to complete a bicep curl. Isolating your body and only moving your arm will help to build up your bicep muscles, whereas swinging your whole body will prevent this from happening.
What Does Proper Weight Training Technique Look Like?
What’s defined as ‘proper’ technique will depend on the type of exercise you’re carrying out and the equipment you’re using. However, there are a few pointers which will remain consistent across the board and can be applied to a number of different exercises. These are:
- Carefully warm up and stretch your muscles
- Start with light weights and slowly work up
- Be sure to focus on your breathing
- Work to a consistent tempo
- Stick to a regular routine
- Never push beyond your limits
- Rest if you have an injury
It’s also worth speaking to a trainer, or experienced friend, if you’re thinking about doing a new exercise or using unfamiliar equipment. When you’re working with very heavy weights, it’s best practice to have a ‘spotter’ who can step in if you think that you’re struggling.
Are You Ready to Start Weight Training?
And with that, you should have enough incentive to use proper technique whenever you’re doing weight training!
Sometimes it’s not always easy to tell if you’re lifting a weight properly, so it’s always worth getting someone to assess your form so they can give you some effective feedback.
Have you got any more tips related to proper weight training technique? It would be great to hear them in the comments below!
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
Photo 1 – Sergio Pedemonte via Unsplash
Photo 2 – Victor Freitas via Unsplash
Photo 3 – Gursimrat Ganda via Unsplash
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