Why Good Form Matters When Weightlifting Advice from Alex McDonald, Athletic Trainer for Inspira Health & the Philadelphia Wings Weightlifting is a valuable part of any workout plan. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends strength training at least two times a week. Strength training provides different benefits in comparison to sticking with cardio. Those benefits include an increased metabolism, better circulation, increases in mobility and joint support. When it’s time to strength train, athletes know that good form can mean the difference between a fruitful training session and a season-ending injury. But, why does good form matter so much? It Protects You From Sprains, Strains and Fractures When it comes to range of motion and how much weight they can support, all muscles and joints have a limit. When you move outside of that range a ligament may sprain, a muscle strain or a bone may fracture. Maintaining strength allows the body to support itself with the wear and tear that occurs from daily life. For example, a pain in the wrist could come from improperly gripping a dumbbell or pushing more than we are able. This may cause tendon inflammation, a sprain or a small fracture. It Helps You Prevent Overuse Injuries Keep an eye on proper form and how you feel after an exercise. Signs of over training can be fatigue, insomnia, decreases in performance and increased injuries. When evaluating one’s self make sure of proper posture, if your back is rounding excessively or your knees are collapsing inward. Those could be signs of an increased chance of injury. Knowing the warning signs like of these potential injuries could prevent them from becoming permanent or disabling. It Helps You Maintain Balance Balance means utilizing all your core muscles. All exercises require balance to be successful. And while some workouts may call for one foot or arm to be used at a time, it’s important to feel secure throughout your core while performing the exercise. “In every rehabilitation program or training session, it is critical to add at least one to two core stabilizing exercises,” offers Alex McDonald, Athletic Trainer for Inspira Health and the Philadelphia Wings professional lacrosse team. “Our core muscles are vital to all bodily movement and to optimizing our endurance. Whether your goal is to feel your best or to maximize your performance on the field, balancing your weight training with core building has lasting implications long after the final whistle.” In the case of squats or deadlifts, maintaining steady footing, keeping your stomach tight, your back straight and engaged are some queues to aid you in performing the exercise. Most weightlifting injuries can be avoided with the help of a certified personal trainer. They will ensure you properly warm up to keep joints and muscles mobile while intermittently testing your fitness. This is to make sure the weights you lift are appropriate and challenging. Trainers will also demonstrate exercises that are not only safe for you, but beneficial to your goals. If you’re interested in maximizing your athletic performance or improving your ability to prevent injury, schedule an appointment with Inspira Health’s Sports Medicine program by calling 1-800-INSPIRA or request info online.