Strength Training Safety

Yesterday I had a great friend come in and tell me he partially tore a pectoral muscle.  This conversation prompted today’s post.  Strength training is serious business.  You can get hurt in a millisecond.  You must train in a manner that is safe for you.  Let me give you a few tips to make certain you remain safe and productive. 

1) Choose exercises that do not irritate joints or cause structural damage.  Use pain as your guide.  You might consider having a good chiropractor or therapist evaluate your posture.  You could hire a good trainer and have them evaluate your form on exercises.  

2) Choose resistances that do not damage the body.  Many times we have clients that can’t train particularly heavy on a movement due to orthopedic conditions.  However, we can train lighter and  increase the repetitions per set.  This strategy is probably one of the best ways to insure safety. 

3) Controlling repetitions at all times.  During our conversation yesterday my friend mentioned that he did get carried away with his control of reps.  That was probably the reason for his suffering the injury.  It won’t help your ego to train a little lighter and control your reps but it will certainly keep you injury free.  By the way your ego will get you in trouble most of the time. 🙂

4) Choose exercises that do not put the body in compromising positions.  I could write a book on exercise selection but that is beyond the scope of this entry.   I would not perform any exercises behind your head.  Like pulldowns to the back of the head or behind the head presses.  For some people the deadlift is a horrible exercise.  For some the back squat is a bad exercise.  This goes along with item 1.  Listen to your body.

Bottom line:  Use pain as your guide.  If an exercise, repetition, resistance, or any training variable hurts your joints you must change it.  Find something similar but different.  Be safe and you will enjoy the only form of exercise that will transform your physique.



Michael’s Approved Exercises


Good morning Internet readers.  I am so amazed at how our traffic is growing through this site.  Today lets discuss exercise selection.  Exercise selection is vital to your success in building your physique.  I don’t know how many times I have been to a gym and seen a young person performing cable crossovers for chest work and there chest development was nonexistent.  As most of my clients know I am into very basic movement patterns.  When we look at the body wesee that basic, multi-joint movements activate a large amount of muscle tissue.  When you are strength training activating a lot of muscle tissue is key to being efficient and getting results.   

Lets cover very briefly my list of approved exercises:

Chest             Dumbbell Presses (Incline, Flat,) Some machine presses

Upperback     Pull-downs, pull-ups, dumbbell rows, cable rows, machine rows

Lower back    Back Extensions, Dead lifts (if you can perform safely) dumbbells or barbell

Hamstrings   Same as lower back.  Adding leg curls

Biceps           Standing Dumbbell Curls, Incline Curls, some machine type curls

Triceps          Close Grip Presses, pushdowns, triceps extensions dumbbell, dips

Calves           Calf Presses, Standing calves, Seated Calf Presses

Quads           Squats (dumbbell or barbell) , dumbbell lunges, horizontal leg press, some 45 deg leg press

When choosing exercises make sure you choose exercises that don’t cause joint discomfort.  You should feel the exercises recruiting the desired muscle group.  I hope this information helps and please don’t get on a leg extension machine instead of performing a leg press, lunge or squat. 

Have a Great Day and Stay Strong,