Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter and working out in the fresh air is loosing some of its appeal. When the weather turns, more people turn to the gym to keep their routine going. Everyone can benefit from lifting weights but increasing the amount of time you spend strength training can also increase your risk of injury. Here are 4 tips to make sure you’re practicing safe strength training to stay injury free all winter long.
Find a coach. One of the best ways to ensure safe strength training is to use a coach or trainer. Partnering with a certified professional who will help you learn the proper way to perform movements while pushing you to try new things is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.
Take it slow. If you choose not to work with a coach, resist the urge to dive in head first. Take a little bit of time to educate yourself on what each muscle group does and what exercises are the best to work on making it stronger. Get comfortable with movements before increasing weight, making sure you’re performing each one properly for every repetition.
Take it seriously. Just because your passion is running and not lifting weights doesn’t mean hitting the gym should be taken lightly. Warming up and cooling down are important parts of any workout, especially when you’re pushing muscles to do something new or hard. Safe strength training means showing those days respect and putting in the time to treat your body well.
Mix it up. A big part of safe strength training is trying new things regularly. When you give your body a new challenge, it’s forced to constantly respond, burning calories and getting stronger every workout. Changing up your routine also prevents overuse injuries that come from performing an exercise to excess without a break.
Recover. Foam roll, stretch and mobilize after each workout. Safe strength training includes being ready for the next day’s workout. Listen to your body and take a day off or try something new when you need to.
Use these five tips for safe strength training to keep your gains on track without risk of being derailed by an injury this winter.