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.