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Weightlifting Safety Tips

Contrary to popular belief, weightlifting isn't just for bodybuilders and professionals. Starting a weightlifting routine can be intimidating to beginners. After all, there is an increased chance of injury if you don't have the proper form or pick up the wrong weights. A couple weightlifting benefits include increased muscle tone and even weight loss. The more muscle you have, the faster your body burns calories at rest. Many runners lift weights to cross-train, which in turn increases leg and core strength. Safely get started on your weightlifting journey with these essential tips.

Talk to a coach or a physical therapist about your form and technique before you begin. Proper form is everything, and you want to make sure you are getting the most out of your workouts.

Warm-up for about 10 minutes before you begin your routine. Start with jumping rope or a brisk walk to get your blood flowing and ready for lifting.

Start with smaller weights, and in some cases, your body weight. For example, ensure proper form when squatting before ever putting a bar on your back. A good rule of thumb is to use a weight that you can do 10 to 15 reps with. You want to feel the resistance when you lift the weight, with the last 2 or 3 reps to be challenging. If you begin compensating your form, switch to a lighter weight.

It's not about how many reps you do, so there is no need to try to be as fast as possible. You will build more muscle with slow, controlled movements. You should feel resistance when you lift and fight against gravity for a slow descent when you return to your starting position.

Listen to your body. You should not be in pain at any point in the session. If you are, either you're lifting too heavy of a weight, or your form is incorrect. Likewise, you don't need to do a lot when you are first starting out. Take baby steps with one set of 10-12 reps and slowly build up. You also want to make sure you give your body a chance to rest. Typically you should wait 48-72 hours in between weightlifting sessions for your muscles to heal.

Stretch after you finish your routine. Your muscles have just worked incredibly hard and need a good stretch to help them heal.

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