Anyone who tries weight or strength training at home needs to know how to look after their body. If you’re doing sessions alone, you don’t have a trainer to correct your technique or point out when you’re doing something potentially dangerous.
Of course, even lifting safely comes with some risk. Here are some top tips for taking care of your body when weight training to minimize those risks.
1. If You Get Injured, Consult a Specialist
Healing your body properly after an injury can be the difference between a full recovery and a problem that impacts your ability to do strenuous exercise forever. Injuries that don’t heal properly can have life-altering consequences.
The first step to healing is having your injury treated by local specialists. The Wake Forest Orthopedic Specialists recommend that immediate access to the proper care and a specialist’s advice on how to proceed with your recovery will make a big difference.
A specialist will be able to recommend exercises and best practices for letting your body heal fully. They’ll also be able to give you an accurate timetable for when you can get back to the kind of strength training that you love and advice on how to avoid repeating or exacerbating your injury.
2. Listen to Your Back
“Lift with your legs, not your back” is one of the foundational lessons of weightlifting. Most of us learn it from a parent or a sports coach at school as children, but you can never hear it too many times. Your back is one of the easiest parts of your body to damage when strength training and a common injury.
We might dismiss a twinge in our biceps while doing curls just to get through the last set. If you feel a twinge in your back, however minor, it’s probably time to stop. It’s natural for your back to feel sore the day after a vigorous workout, but twinges typically indicate that something’s been put under strain that shouldn’t have. SO pay attention to what your back has to say.
3. Try Massages
Massages work for some better than others. If you find it an uncomfortable environment, they’re not essential. However, for those that enjoy the experience, it can have significant benefits for muscular recovery.
As a rule, the more you feel during a massage, the more effective it is — as long as your masseuse is properly trained, of course. You can even find alternatives that suit your preferences like assisted yoga.
4. Follow a Balanced Diet
We all know that protein is important for muscle growth and recovery, but it’s not everything. Ensure that your diet includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables: it’s the oldest health advice in the book, and still among the best. Omega-3 acids found in fish are also very beneficial.
Eating well can help your exercise go further, and it can also help you heal. Most importantly, make healthy meals that you enjoy eating. There’s no quicker way to ruin a healthy relationship with exercise than turning all your meals into a bland protein slurry.
5. Research New Trends Thoroughly
A quick final point is to research new trends before you try them. Ice baths are useful in some cases and are still hugely popular. However, they can slow down muscle growth, making them questionably effective for most weight training.
Some tips and tricks are simply fads, and you should consider if they’re truly beneficial in your fitness journey. Never trust a method until you’ve seen evidence of its efficacy.
Safety at Home
Working out at home is a wonderful, affordable way to improve your health. The important thing to remember is that, in your home gym, you’re the one responsible for keeping an eye on your form. Treat yourself well and follow best practices, and enjoy the results.