Exercise injuries easy happen when people don’t know how to work equipment. Sherman Baatjes, sport science lecturer at Stellenbosch University share some helpful tips on how to get the most out of a good workout without causing harm to your body.
1. Holding your breath
Holding your breath during any weight lifting exercise may cause your blood pressure to rise dangerously high. The best recommendation about when and how to breathe during a weight training exercise is to exhale through the sticking point during the exertion phase (the most difficult movement part of the exercise) and inhale during the easier part of the exercise (the relaxation phase). This breathing pattern won’t necessarily come naturally, especially if you are new to the game. So you will have to consciously think about your breathing during each exercise.
2. Improper body position
Often individuals will not place themselves in the most secure position for the exercise, but rather what might feel comfortable to them. However, comfort in one area could lead to overcompensation by the body in another area when performing the exercise.
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The following contact positions should always be ensured before performing any weight-lifting exercise:
Exercises performed on a chair-like seat or a torso-length bench requires you to position your body in a five point body contact position so that these body parts or segments contact the seat or bench and the floor or foot platform. These five points include the:
- Back of the head
- Upper back and shoulders
- Lower back and buttocks
- Right foot
- Left foot
For prone exercises, that is, exercises done while lying face-down, most of your front surface of the body will be in contact with the floor or machine pads and handles. For example, the correct position for the leg (knee) curl exercise involves the following five contact points:
- Chin (or one cheek if head is turned to the side)
- Hips/front of the thighs
- Right hand
- Left hand
3. “Spotting” or assisting your partner during training
It is common to see people receiving spotting assistance by their training partner at their upper arms or elbows while performing an overhead or over the face dumbbell exercise. However, this spotting technique may lead to injury if the individual’s elbows should quickly collapse while the spotter is lifting the upper arms or elbows. If that happens, the spotter will not be able to prevent the dumbbells from landing on your head, face, neck, or chest.
A much safer technique would be to spot your partner’s wrists very near to the dumbbell in each hand. This method enables the spotter to offer emergency assistance much quicker in the event of any weight collapse or error while performing the exercise.
*Remember if you are unsure about any specific position, be sure to get professional advice, oppose to guessing what you think is right. Weights can cause serious damage if done improperly – rather be safe than sorry!
Source: Sherman Baatjes, Sport Science lecturer (Stellenbosch University)