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Is weight training dangerous


Is this where lifting weights will take you?

Did you hear about that guy who used to lift heavy weights all the time? Last week his doctor told him that all the bones in his body were permanently broken. The cause of this great tragedy was- WEIGHT TRAINING! Now he is no better than a vegetable and has to lie around the whole day, as any activity will cause him pain.

Ha ha, okay I will stop scaring you now, but I am sure you must have heard similar stories about weight training, maybe not so devastating but surely bad stories. After hearing these stories you might have concluded that free hand bodyweight exercises and cardio were all that you will do and stay away from weights for the rest of your life!

If you have made the above mentioned decision then I cannot help but inform you that you have made a major BLUNDER! Do you know that weight training is probably the best available way to exercise on the planet! It helps you to maintain your muscles, which keeps your metabolism elevated and makes you look younger. It increases your muscular strength and resistance to injuries. Plus it has a lot of other benefits which will take up a whole article if I were to mention them all.


Now if anyone tries to lift heavy weights immediately after their injury and even before it has healed, then they are being foolish. However if anyone says that lifting weights will definitely cause injuries then they are bigger fools in my opinion. Did you know that a lot of top bodybuilders got into weight training for rehabilitation after they got injured playing other sports? All top sportsmen nowadays lift weights. They do so to improve their performance with the added strength and to prevent injuries with a stronger body. Is it possible that they are fools or that they have too much of time and energy to waste behind futile and dangerous activities? 

Weight training is only one form of resistance training. Resistance training also includes push ups, pull ups, using resistance bands, etc. I have always wondered how some people consider other forms of resistance training like push ups to be safe, but weight training to be dangerous! Do they think that their body does not work against a weight, that is their bodyweight when doing push ups? In fact for some people lifting heavy weights is easier to do than doing 20 push ups. So why demonize weight training? Remember one thing that when we engage in weight training our bones become stronger and denser. This is crucial to prevent problems like Osteoperosis.

Now before you tell me about all those people who got injured while lifting weights, let me ask you did they use proper form? Proper form is vital to derive the benefits of weight training. Unfortunately many people around the planet try to lift too much weight to boost their ego while using improper form. Thus they get injured. Let me give you an example. We all know of the amazing speeds that a formula 1 driver drives at. Now if the average person imagines himself to be a Michael Schumacher and decides to drive at speeds comparable to him, then what do you think will happen? He will obviously in most likelihood be involved in a fatal accident and may not even survive. So do we ban driving cars for all non Formula 1 drivers? Of course not! We can never let that happen because automobiles provide a lot of advantage in our lives. Imagine having to walk 20 kms everyday in the absence of cars. We all do however realize that we must drive within our limits. 

Besides driving all other physical sports out there have their fair share of risks involved. Infact even relatively gentler activities like dancing, walking, etc have also caused injuries to its practitioners. So then if an injury were all that it took to ban an activity, we would probably be left with no physical activity whatsoever.Thus whenever someone attempts to lift weights that are way above his or her limits and/or neglects proper form, then they are asking for an injury. In such cases it is the individual who is to be blamed, not the equipment or system.

Nowadays one can find out about the proper form of exercises from various sources like the net, magazines, books, etc. Of course it is still best to use a live knowledgeable trainer if available, however the main point is that learning proper form is no longer impossible for a person who has never lifted weights before. One can learn the techniques through various sources and gain the enormous benefits of weight training. It is however necessary that when starting a weight training program one should use light weights to focus on the form, and lift heavier gradually.

So do not avoid weight training due to fears of injury. Lift properly and enjoy the various benefits of weight training. To help make weight training safer and avoid injuries keep the following points in mind:

  • Use proper form- this goes without saying that using improper form is when you are putting yourself at most risk. Of course training at 100% proper form all the time is not possible and may even hamper improvements in strength, but try to maintain atleast 90% proper form all the time to stay safe
  • Lift according to your strength- if you have spent 2 months in the gym then do not try to match your lifts with the heavy lifters in the gym who have been training for years. It takes time to get strong and it will be wise to be patient
  • Listen to your body- if you are not feeling good on a particular day then do not hesitate to lift lesser or skip some exercises. The chances of an injury are higher if you try to push too hard on days when you do not feel 100%
  • Take your time to learn new exercises- a new exercise must be given sufficient time to be good at, even if you have been exercising regularly for the last 10 years. You will be surprised to know how often people with a lot of experience end up injuring themselves while learning new stuff because they thought that they could rush through the learning process
  • Use spotters wisely- if you are going for a max lift on an exercise where you could get stuck in a dangerous position or there is a physical risk involved that a spotter can help reduce, then be wise and use one. No, you do not need one all throughout an exercise session but when needed then surely do use one



Image courtesy- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Injured_young_man_in_first_aid_station.jpg


                                 

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