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Common Misconceptions About Weightlifting

Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions you won’t find in a weightlifting how-to article involves ego and wrong motivations. The wrong motivation in weightlifting can create the wrong attitude and bring about wrong expectations. Muscle familiarization is more important than simply having beefed up pecs or biceps. All too often, we hear about tragic accidents at the gym that could have been prevented if the weightlifter simply took the time to research and be educated about form and function.

One of these accidents involve a man who got crushed to death beneath a weight he simply could not bench press. He was lifting without a spotter in his own garage using a bench he just bought after drinking beer with his buddies. In this case, ego should have taken a backseat and let prudence drive. It cost him his life.

Those who are cross-training and into various CrossFit exercises could also do well to take heed to these warnings.

Each form of exercise targets a specific set of muscles and joints. It puts a strain on the interior skeletal structure. Too much emphasis on a specific set could lead to dangerous muscle fatigue, joint wear and tear, or worse, ligament and muscle sprains. This weightlifting how-to will focus on the fundamentals of weightlifting dos and don’ts to help you avoid these kinds of injuries.

 

WEIGHTLIFTING DOS AND DON’TS

Dos:

  • Have a qualified professional assess your physical fitness levels. If your gym  provides you with an instructor who has the requisite background, experience and credentials, work with him/her on coming up with a specific training course. Better yet, some gyms already have customized plans based on your assessment. Follow it rigorously.
  • Have someone or the gym make a plan and record it. Make sure that everything is written down and documented before you hit the gym. This is crucial as it would also take into account your progress. The plan would also help you in determining the safety gear that you would require.
  • Prepare or acquire the appropriate safety gear. If you know that you’re going to do exercises that put a strain on your knee, then preparing with a knee brace is optimal.
  • Warm-ups, cool-downs and stretching are essential before beginning and after ending any training regimen. Those who workout know this all too well. Any weightlifting how-to will tell you that getting your cardio primed and ready through exercises such as jogging in place, jump ropes and even the stationary bike prepares your muscles by providing them with the necessary blood flow. (WebMD)
  • Weightlifting spotters are essential. Alright, so you’ve managed to do x amount of repetitions bearing x amount of weights for years. You say, “I don’t need a spotter anymore.” Nothing could be more dangerous than an overconfident weightlifter. Spotters aren’t there to massage your ego. They’re there to make sure that if something unexpected like a quick stroke or a heart attack happens, you won’t suddenly freeze and then drop a 200 lb load on yourself.
  • Know that weightlifting is only one aspect in physical improvement. Getting into CrossFit training or cross-training will complement your weightlifting regimen. Regular jogs, swimming, cycling and other cardio intensive exercises will make your program more well-rounded and balanced.
  • Know your gravity, center of balance and posture. During the actual weightlifting exercise, these are three are interrelated. Gravity gives the weights, while you lift their downward pull. Your posture affects your balance. If you are always aware of your center of balance and if you are aware of how a particular exercise makes your muscles move or contract, then you won’t have any problems. Injuries happen when there is an imbalance among the three. A good posture takes into account your position on a centralized plane. You lift the weights and your muscles act. If you are imbalanced or distracted, the weight could just as easily make your muscles succumb to an improper form which can lead to injury.

Do Not:

  • Lift weights beyond your program. It may be tempting to go all Rocky and “push it to the limits.” As the song the “Eye of the Tiger” begins to play in your head, think about how much money the prosthetic industry is making. Stick to the program. Discipline must control ego and weightlifting is very much like a marathon of sorts. If you want to be in it for the long run, know your own limits. Gradual and planned increases are the way to go. If you think about long-term weightlifting or even cross-training, there is virtue in doing things gradually.
  • Copy or imitate others who are making good progress. Each of us has our own limits and progress. Sometimes, our human weakness makes us compare ourselves to others. Remember, this is your own battle. It’s a battle between yourself and yourself alone. Unless you’re joining the Olympics or an international competition, be content in knowing that you are making your own progress (however little that may be).
  • Skimp on safety gear. Accidents happen because they are unintended or forget about a simple and small factor in safety. In the same way that there’s a right gear or shoe for cross-training or crossfit training, there’s appropriate safety equipment for every weightlifting exercise.  

This weightlifting how-to focused on the general aspects of the dos and don’ts when it comes to weightlifting safety. To summarize, attitude and discipline play a key role in your development more than any fancy routine or expensive equipment. Your only competition is yourself. If you want to be in this for the long term, keep these pointers in mind and they will help keep you from getting injured.