The New Year is upon us, which brings about resolutions! Many of us will choose to start a new fitness regimen and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Weightlifting for women is growing in popularity with great benefits to health. Here are a few tips for women to keep in mind if you are planning to begin a weightlifting program in 2015.
Don’t Skip Your Warm-Up
You wouldn’t start off in a sprint during your treadmill run, so treat weightlifting the same way. Lifting with cold muscles is an easy way to end up injured. An increase in your blood flow and heart rate improves the muscles ability to respond to resistance. I suggest using a dynamic warm-up. Something like 3 set of 10 air squats, 10 pushups, 10 lunges, and 10 jumping jacks.
Understand Proper Squat Technique
Women have wider hips naturally for child birth which increases the Q-angle, or angle from the hip to the knees. This makes women more prone for valgus collapse, or the knee caving in, during squats and knee injuries. Use glute strengthening exercises like resisted sidesteps to prevent poor tracking.
Don’t Neglect the Upper Body
Don’t worry about bulking up. There are many upper body exercises that are beneficial to posture and preventing injury. Weight bearing exercises and resistive training has been proven to prevent osteoporosis. Adding exercises like rows and modified push-ups are a great addition to your program without turning you into Arnold!
Ask a Trained Professional
If you are not sure if you are doing the exercise correctly or with proper form, ask a trained professional. It is also important to seek advice from the right people. Make sure the individuals answering your questions are educated and experienced.
Listen to Your Body
There is a big difference in muscle fatigue and pain. You should feel muscle fatigue in the muscles you are targeting. If you are feeling nothing at all, the exercise is probably too easy and a waste of time. That being said, if you are feeling pain in another area than the muscle you are targeting, either your form is incorrect or you are near injury. For example, if you are targeting your upper back with rows and your arms are burning, your form is not correct. If you are targeting leg strength with squats and you?re having back pain, stop.
Jeanna LeClaire Hill is a doctor of physical therapy and certified athletic trainer at HSS Spine & Sport in Jupiter, Florida. Jeanna graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training, going on to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. She is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, co-owner of CrossFit Waterway, and a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach.