Class and weight-room safety are very important when you workout. I see a lot of people lift improperly using poor body mechanics so is it any wonder why we have a physiotherapy studio co-located within the facility where we train? Today, I want to touch on proper techniques to keep in mind when performing any type of workout, particularly one in which weights or resistance training is involved.
The position of your back when working out is extremely important in every move that you perform. For example, whether you work the upper or lower body, it is essential that your back is straight through each rep / exercise. You can position one leg back behind you but keep your heel off the floor to assist in keeping the back straight. It will give you additional support. Remember, when you work out, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure compliance with this principle as it is tough for the instructor to keep eyes on all students. As always, when in doubt, ask for assistance or clarification and as a general rule of thumb, the key to a successful workout is a keen focus on safety.
Another thing I see a lot of is heavy lifting without the proper use of a lifting belt. This is absolutely contraindicated as the belt provides the additional support needed to reach the next level. This being said, it is not to be relied on entirely but used as a tool to aid in correct back position. After all, back pain is the leading cause of injury in most typical gyms and unless you have a personal trainer there to guide you, it is critical to consider the safe approach. Pain, after all, will keep you from training and is not a very good motivator.
One last note for everyone. If your fitness instructor or personal trainer is doing something you feel is incorrect or unsafe, approach that person afterwards for clarification. It may be that you misunderstood. Most instructors are approachable. If not, ensure you voice your concerns and clarify these with other fitness instruors. When in doubt, discontinue your participation until the issue / concern is rectified to your satisfaction.
It is the job of the instructor to provide a safe, fun, interactive environment in which the student is able to achieve their individual fitness goals. Good instructors will ask for feedback to ensure all students have a chance to voice concerns or provide constructive criticism as the class was put together for YOU, THE STUDENT.
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