Strength training is a critical player in physical health and athletic performance. Though it’s essential to incorporate into your workouts, it can also pose some challenges. If you’re starting or returning to a workout routine, rehabbing an injury, or even looking to decrease physical stress, you can successfully include strength training into your workouts.
Here are three ways you can safely incorporate strength training into your workouts:
1. Ease Into Your Training
When getting started in CrossFit or any strength program, it is important to ease into the training gradually. To get your body acquainted with specific movements, and allow your muscles, bones, and joints to adjust to lifting heavier loads, start by setting a foundation and then build upon it.
One way to begin gradually is to start with lower weights. Scaling back the weight will allow your body to build this foundation and reduce your risk of injury. Lifting too heavy, too soon, skips that vital period of building foundational strength, which can lead to overexertion of stress on the body, resulting in injury. By starting with a lower weight, you condition your body to manage the physical stress and recover more effectively. This base allows you to increase weight gradually, with a lower risk of injury.
2. Recognizing Potential Injury
Most of the time, the small aches, pains, and soreness experienced during and after workouts dissipate over time without needing additional attention. Sometimes, however, the more constant or more intense aches and pains could be the body’s way of signaling a bigger issue. It is important to be in-tuned with your body and recognize when pain may be more than just a small annoyance.
If a pain becomes persistent, give your body time to heal. This may mean taking rest days, developing better stretching and recovery habits, or even seeing a physician. Addressing an issue early could prevent you from seriously injuring yourself down the line.
While exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, rest is equally important. Rest is valuable to the body because it allows muscles to heal and rebuild following strenuous work. But it doesn’t have to mean skipping workouts or sitting on the couch all day. Rest comes in many forms and can be tailored to fit your specific needs. It can involve scaling back on weight during strength training or swapping a high-intensity workout with a lower-impact session.
One crucial factor to remember when thinking “rest” is variation. Varying workouts and intensity will allow different muscle groups to receive and manage stress during exercise, along with the opportunity to rebuild during periods of rest.