Weight lifting is something that has been around for many years. People have been hitting the gym and lifting barbells for as long as you can remember. Of course, people haven’t always had weights and other gym equipment. They would just lift whatever they could find. Now there are leg press machines, squat racks, and so much more that can help you get the muscles that you have always dreamed.
This new equipment and gym mindset have come with new ideas as well. Back in the day, people would just come in and lift as much as they could, then leave. Now, there is more research that surrounds the gym culture.
One thing that many gym-goers think about would be joint pain, especially in their knees. It has been estimated that knee injuries make about approximately 40 percent of all sports-related injuries.
Since knee injuries are pretty common, there has been a lot of research conducted on them. There are a lot of different ways that you can keep your knees safe while still lifting weights.
Make Sure To Warm Up Properly
The very first thing that you should do to ensure that you will not experience any knee injuries would be to warm up. Warming up isn’t the most glamorous part of hitting the gym. It is pretty boring and a lot of people think it is a waste of time. You will want to stretch for at least ten minutes before you start lifting. However, 20 minutes would be better.
Stretching is not the only thing that you will want to do to protect your knees. You will also want to practice your exercises with lighter weights. Instead of loading up the barbell with 200 or 300 pounds, you will want to start with no weight or very light weights. This will let your body get used to the movements and prepare for the heavier weights.
Perfect Your Form
Your form is so important when it comes to any type of exercise, especially weightlifting. If your foot is slightly in front of the other one or your knees turn in on a squat, you can cause yourself a lot of pain. When you are exercising, if you cannot do it with proper form, take the weight off and practice until you are doing it the right way.
Squats can be one of the most difficult exercises to perfect. Your knees need to be hips-width apart and you will want to be sure that your knees do not extend past your toes. Squatting can be a very rewarding exercise, just make sure you have your form perfected.
Lighten The Weight
One of the biggest reasons that people experience injuries in the gym is because they are trying to lift to match their ego. They don’t want to mess around with the lighter weights because they feel like people will judge them.
The majority of people won’t even notice you unless you end up getting hurt. So, leave your ego at the house and lighten the load if you need to.
Use the Correct Equipment
Shoes are so important when it comes to weightlifting. Just like runners have a specific type of shoe that they need to wear, so do weightlifters. You will want something that has a flat sole whenever you are training legs.
There are shoes designed specifically for weightlifting or you can even lift barefoot. Just make sure that you are careful and don’t drop any weights on your feet.
Another important item are knee compression sleeves. These provide both support for your knees and protect them from chafing when lifting. The support of a knee sleeve allows your leg muscles to work more efficiently and most people increase their limit by several pounds. Read this for a some great weight-lifting knee sleeves.
One way to strengthen your knees is by taking part in different exercises. Many weightlifters prefer to only lift weights. However, practicing other forms of exercise is a great way to strengthen your knees.
Only using your muscles in one way is the easiest way to cause injury to them. Instead of lifting six or seven days a week, only lift three or four but go for a run or bike ride on the other days.
Avoid Rotating Your Hips And Knees
Your hips and knees are very closely related. So, if you are rotating your hips, then you can be guaranteed you will be rotating your knees. Since there are so many small parts in your knees, this rotation can cause a lot of stress.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
The food that you are eating should be used to fuel your body. While takeout and pizza may taste great, they can do a lot of damage to your body. If you are not eating food that is benefiting your body, you are hurting it.
Your body uses the food that you eat to aid in recovery. That is why professional athletes and bodybuilders follow a strict diet that is full of whole foods. These whole foods will give them the energy that they need to work out, plus the nutrients that they need to recover quicker.
You don’t need to follow a strict diet every day of the year but you should try to stay healthy most of the time. Once you realize how much better you feel, you will want to continue these healthy habits.
Never Lock Your Knees Out
There have been horror stories of people locking their knees out on the leg press machine and it causes a major injury. Even if you don’t experience an extreme injury, it can still be damaging to lock your knees out.
When you lock your knees out on exercises such as squats or the leg press, you will be transferring all of the weight from the muscle onto the joint. This stress is what will lead to injury, even if it is not a bad one.
The only time that you should lock your legs out on an exercise would be when you are doing leg extensions or stiff-legged deadlifts.
Work On Your Posture
Having good posture is one of the best ways to help all of your joints. If you are slouching over, it can cause your hips to be out of line. If your hips are out of line, then you can guarantee your knees are suffering as well.
Always Listen To Your Body
Your body will let you know when it is hurting. You may think it makes you look tough to push through the pain. However, pushing through too much pain can lead to injuries. If you feel like your knee is sore, then you may want to take a day off from working legs out.
If your knee is constantly hurting, you may want to talk to your doctor. You can also ice it and do some foam rolling to help ease the pain.
Keep Your Knees Safe While Doing What You Love
Weight lifting is a great way to look and feel great. However, you must be taking the proper steps to protect your body. You won’t be able to enjoy the gym if you have a bum knee. So, make sure to follow these tips so you will be safe and healthy.