Tips for making your training safe
When first beginning your strength training program, be on the conservative side with the weights you use and temper your aggressiveness in your approach the first few sessions. At least do so until you are somewhat accustomed to exercising on a regular basis. The penalty for not heeding this advice is extreme soreness known as delayed on set muscle soreness (DOMS). For now, here are a few caveats before you begin your training.
1. See your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Go over your health history and talk to them about what your fitness goals are and how you intend to go about achieving them.
2. Learn how to do each exercise the right way. This helps prevent injury and targets the muscles the correct way. If need be, get a personal strength coach to show you the right way to do the exercises in your program.
If it hurts, then stop; something is not right. If it does not feel right, then reconsider even doing that particular exercise. Other exercises will do the same thing and may even be more appropriate for you.
3. I find it is best for a newcomer to start out with a clean slate ego wise. By this, I mean it does not matter if you lifted fifty pounds or three hundred and fifty pounds in the past. Now is now and these weights may no longer be the wise choice for you at this time.
Get used to exercising and then start adding the weight if you are comfortable going higher. Remember you are beginning fresh and too much exuberance will cause muscle soreness if you are not careful with what you are doing.
4. Start out two to three times per week for about 40-55 minutes a session. Any more than this and you could become discouraged or injured due to the sharply increased physical overload. Stay away from the routines that show up in the muscle magazines. These are for far more advanced athletes and it is my suspicion that drugs are also involved to reach the state of physical absurdity some of these people are displaying.
5. Always do a general warm up, followed by a general area warm up and finally a movement specific warm up.
6. Start out light and make certain you are doing the movement correctly. Begin with one set for each exercise until you are more conditioned and can tolerate the extra sets and reps.
If excessive soreness (meaning you did too much too soon) rears its ugly head later after your session, then take a day longer to recover.
7. Practice safe lifting. It is easy to get hurt if you get sloppy with the exercise and are not doing the movement correctly. Even doing it the right way can get you into trouble if the weight is too big and you get stuck under the load.
The bench press is especially dangerous because it does not take long to lose consciousness and die if it pins your neck to the bench.
Be careful when lifting alone; use the safety gear that comes with your equipment. Use a spotter if in doubt or do not do it in the first place.
8. Lift wisely and safely but most of all have fun while you get into better shape.
The following is sections contain information about how your body adapts to the training and the ways to increase the training adaptations.