It is a hobby, or a passion, that most young (and some older) men engage in: going to the gym and weight training. Many people have a dedicated workout partner, while others use the trainers who work at their gym.
Strength training and weight training can be highly beneficial for people who internalize their stress and need an outlet, people who are out of shape and want to look and feel better, and for people who compete on an amateur or professional bodybuilding level.
The fact that weight training is an exercise which gets the heart rate up high for an extended period is a health benefit, but it does come with risks. Using machines that assist with form helps to negate some of those risks – but when a person uses free weights, there are a number of potential problems that can occur.
Using Weight Machines in Weight Training
Weight machines foster perfect form in weight training. If a person places too much weight on one side, they can’t complete the motion. When a person attempts the same motion but uses free weights, they open the door for potentially hazardous accidents, such as a snapped wrist or a torn ligament or tendon.
While machines do allow for perfect form, a person cannot count on the machine to safely guide them through the weightlifting exercise. They have to hold the free weights, get in position, do their sets, and then safely place the weights back on the floor.
Heavy Lifting vs. Proper Lifting
Lifting heavy weights and exercising to exhaustion can wear out the connective tissues in the body and cause injury. It also elevates the blood pressure when all that extra strain is placed on the body – so it can cause a life-threatening aneurysm.
Serious weightlifters like to perform the relatively safe motion of the “clean and jerk” method. This is when you lift the barbell (“clean”) to your collarbone/shoulders, then lift (“jerk”) the barbell all the way above your head by fully extending your arms. A trainer can show you the proper techniques and how to properly drop the weight if necessary.
People who perform the clean and jerk with heavy weights take the chance that if the weights get too far in back of center, it can cause a severely dislocated shoulder. Using heavy weights can affect a person’s form, as it takes every bit of strength a person has just to lift the weight.
Benefits of a Workout Plan
By following a plan – one that targets maybe two muscle groups a day – it allows other areas of the body to rest on the off days. The off days are almost as important as lifting weights themselves, because the body needs time to heal and adjust.
If you hit the gym every day, you will soon suffer burnout and not see the excellent results gained by resting between workouts. Not following a workout plan can leave you feeling worse than if you hadn’t exercised at all; you may also be over-exercising certain muscles and neglecting other muscles which could actually provide support.
Sports Medicine in Clinton Township
Visit an orthopedist before embarking on your crusade of weightlifting. Your doctor may recommend a session or two with a physical therapist to determine your level of fitness and to create a workout program that is best for your body.
Contact our team at Movement Orthopedics today by calling (586) 436-3785 or request an appointment online now, and embark on your journey to a stronger you, safely!