If you’re looking for physiotherapy in Mississauga, chances are you’ve been injured, and it’s possible your injury was a result of improper technique at the gym. When training with weights, it’s important that safety is always your first priority. Improper lifting techniques are a leading cause of injuries among athletes and can easily put you out of the game or leave you out of the gym for days, weeks or even months if you’re not careful. Preparing yourself and knowing your limits are both vital to your training and will reduce the rate of injury. Here are some of the most common lifting mistakes and how to correct them.

Misjudging Weight

You need to know how much weight you’re going to be able to handle before picking anything up. Lifting too much weight is an easy way to give your muscles more than they can handle, increasing the risk of injury. Underestimating yourself is always safer than overestimating, so slowly work your way towards more weight until you’re at a comfortable level. Start with a weight that you can perform 15 repetitions with before needing to stop from fatigue. Gradually increase the weight slowly ensuring that you can perform between 10-12 repetitions before fatigue. As you build strength, and the resistance becomes easier, increase repetitions prior to increasing resistance. If you can perform 15 repetitions and still feel as if you can rip off a few more, then you may want to bump it up a notch.

Sloppy Squats

The squat is a popular and essential lift that many athletes strive to perfect. Unfortunately, it’s also a lift many people get wrong. To squat properly, start with a proper stance. Keep your feet roughly shoulders width apart. Then, with the barbell properly balanced on your shoulders, take a deep breath and descend while keeping your spine neutral preventing your knees from collapsing in. Hip hinging while squatting is essential.  So, when you are lowering your body, ensure to keep a neutral spine with a forward trunk lean. Descending until your thighs are parallel to the ground is ideal but if you cannot, it’s ok to stop just above parallel. When you stand back up, do so immediately and try not to bounce. Pull your back up and extend your hips as you ascend.

Dodgy Deadlifts

Nicknamed the “king of all exercises”, the deadlift is a staple to any good lifting routine. It’s great for working a variety of muscles in your body all at once, but it’s also very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

To deadlift properly, start by standing with your mid-foot under the bar and keeping your feet hip-width apart, narrower than when squatting, and also point your toes out 15 degrees. Then, bend over without bending your knees and grab the bar about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar and do not let the bar move away from your mid-foot. Straighten your back by raising your chest but do not begin to lift yet. Take a deep breath, and then stand up with the weight, exhaling as you lift. It’s very important that you do not at any time during the lift arch your back! Keep the bar in contact with your legs while you pull and do not shrug or lean back at the top of the lift.

  Bad Bench Press

The bench press involves lying on your back and pushing weight directly up using your chest and arms. Shoulder and arm injuries are often the result of bad bench press technique. To avoid injury, start by lying flat on the bench with your eyes under the bar, knees bent and your feet on the floor. Your feet should be under the mid thigh, as you will use your legs to help drive the movement. Extend your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together, then grip the bar with your pinkies on the ring marks. Take a deep breath and push the bar off the rack by straightening your arms, then move the bar over your shoulders. Lower the bar to your mid-chest while keeping your elbows tucked about 75 degrees and your forearms vertical. Press up and extend while keeping your butt on the bench. Breathe once at the top.

If you perfect these techniques, your risk of injury while lifting will be reduced dramatically. But if it’s already too late, then it’s time to start seeking out some help at our Mississauga physiotherapy clinic. Visit Lift Physiotherapy today!