Gym Safely

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SANJIV NIDAMBOOR

The gym, as you know, is a great place for fitness. It can also, at times, present you with problems — some small, some big. To achieve gym balance, it is most essential for you to understand and follow certain safety programmes.

The Integrative Post presents a handy peek at what you ought to know — or, how you can do your workouts safely — while avoiding injuries, or other difficulties.

The gym is a ‘solid’ ground for strength training. Strength training, as we all know, offers a host of important benefits. These benefits, it maybe said, cannot be achieved by any other exercise, or activity.

While it is an elevating, healthy feeling to do workouts in a gym, it is equally important for you to enjoy doing your exercise, without any hitch. To do that, you need to adhere to certain precautions. This will help you make your programme not only effective, but also safe.

First things, first. It is recommended that you get a physical and medical check-up done before you start a strength [weight] training programme. Because, in the presence of physical problems, you would need to modify, or even avoid, strength training.

THINGS TO DO

  • Remember to follow a system following an exercise session — warm-up, stretching, and cooling-down. This will enable you to reduce your risk of injury. This also increases your blood flow and peps your muscles to work correctly.
  • Perform your exercises through a full range of motions in a slow, regular, and controlled mode.
  • Always start with light weights. Slowly increase your load and intensity. Choose a weight you are comfortable with — and, do a warm-up set of 15 repetitions. While doing so, keep perfecting the correct lifting technique. If you feel the weight is too light, add a little weight. Otherwise, make sure that you increase your ‘load’ in a few weeks’ time. Not quickly.
  • Never get into the muscle fatigue zone, when you begin a new programme, or increase your weights. You should remember that it makes sense to practice and perfect your technique. You should also, in so doing, learn to concentrate on the muscle you are giving work to.
  • Correct breathing is a must in weightlifting. Holding your breath while doing weights increases your blood pressure. Breathe slowly when you perform your exercise. If you are not able to, don’t worry. Just focus on your breathing. It will work.
  • Never leave your equipment around. Someone may trip over it. Use collars when you use barbells. Also, keep your hands away from chains, cams, pulleys, and weight plates of exercise machines when they are not in use. Be careful while choosing the weight for a machine exercise. Make sure to push the pin in — all the way. Never ever forget to wear a weightlifting belt on exercises that ‘plant’ stress on your lower back [e.g., bent-over lifts like squats and barbell rows].
  • You need to have a spotter, not only for safety reasons but also for improving your workout, or performance. An effective spotter will have an eye for detail. You will be told what is right and what is not right with any given workout. The best part — a spotter will assure your safety. A spotter will give you a hand when you make a mistake, or are too fatigued. A spotter will also know when to provide you assistance.

HOTS: HELP ON THE SPOT

  • When you gym, have a spotter in tow. When a spotter sees someone using a barbell, they will use both hands to provide assistance equally on the bar. This will ensure that they do not throw the person doing exercises off-balance, or support one side more than the other.
  • When they spot someone doing dumbbells, they will provide assistance in the same place for both hands. The support will be even on each side.
  • When they spot someone on a machine, they will be ready to provide assistance underneath the weight. They will make sure to correct the negative, or the down phase, with resistance.

This will help promote effective results for the lifter. It will also assure their safety, more so in case the weight is just too much to bear.

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