For weightlifters, physical strength is measured through how much a person can lift on compound lifts like the bench press, deadlift, and squat. These are three exercises every weightlifting program should include as they require you to use multiple muscles and allow for optimal growth. Weightlifting is, of course, a lot more difficult than simply moving heavy weights. These are four activities every weightlifter should consider adding to their routine before and after pumping the iron.
We have all been told the importance of stretching since our first day in gym class. Most of us only do it in our first few moments awake. Stretching is essential for weightlifting because it helps to lengthen our muscles. This is necessary for both warm-up and cool down.
The two basic styles of stretching are dynamic and static. A dynamic stretch requires you to go through the whole range of motion. This is the type of stretch you should do before a workout. The dynamic stretch, ideal for post-workout, is the kind of stretch you hold for 15-30 seconds.
Increased flexibility is immensely beneficial for everyone, weightlifting or not. One way to become more limber is to work on your mobility through different drills. There is some crossover between mobility work and stretching, the biggest difference being that mobility targets joints more.
Two very important places you want to be more mobile are your hips and your shoulders. Activities like squats to stands help open up the hips while shoulder dislocations are an ideal every day activity. Increased mobility protects from common weightlifting injuries. As boring as they might be, they are absolutely necessary.
Anyone who lifts heavyweights, especially squats, will experience pain somewhere in their body that might be temporarily relieved or even prevented with foam rolling. Foam rolling is a deep tissue massage you can do yourself. The goal is to find a painful pressure point and release it.
Common places you will want to foam roll are the hip area and everywhere on your legs. The more you learn about foam rolling, the more familiar you will be with muscles like the tensor fascia latae and illiotibial band. These are two common areas you will undoubtedly want to massage. Be forewarned, the term “no pain, no gain” may have been invented for foam rolling.
Many people will try to rush into lifting the heaviest weights they can while compromising form. Everyone stresses the importance of form when it comes to exercising. As soon as you experience an injury it suddenly becomes a major priority.
Practicing form involves going through the movement for the exercise with and without weights. Your warm-ups are good practice before the actual workout, but on off-days you should consider going through the motions of the different specific exercises. The more used to the movement your body gets, the better you can perform each movement. You will be able to add more weights quicker and drastically reduce the potential for injury.