Safe Lifting for Maximum Gain
Incorrect posture or tight muscles in the hamstrings often cause lower back pain from intense gym training. If you want to maintain your workout routine without jeopardising your health, then following a strict routine of mobilisation, dynamic stretches, warmup sets and cooling down will certainly help. Ensuring that you train with warm muscles that are flexible enough to stretch if put under a little too much tension will help to minimise strains and tears. Using a mirror will enable you to correct your technique. This simple guide will help you to approach your workouts sensibly, making sure your body is ready for whatever training you are about to throw at it.
Warm Up Sets
Whenever you train a muscle, you should always warm it up, even after you have finished mobilising the joints and raising the heart rate. The best way to do this is to start with a few sets using lighter weights and higher reps replicating the exercise you are about to perform, then gradually increase the weight whilst decreasing the reps. You won't be working anywhere near to failure, and so you won't be in any danger of fatiguing the muscles.
Using the bench press as an example, you can begin by doing some bodyweight push-ups both flat and incline to activate the different parts of the chest. Then lie down and press just the bar for around 10 reps. You'll be warming the exact muscles you're about to use but also giving yourself time to practice your technique and make that mind-muscle connection. Depending on how heavy you lift you'll want to add on 50% of your maximum weight for about eight reps then work at around 70% for approximately six reps. Clearly if the bar is heavy and will fatigue you lifting it on it's own then you can use dumbbells or continue with pushups. Don't worry too much about percentages and reps overall, just warm up until you feel ready but not tired.
Lumbar Support Belt
If you're planning on lifting heavy weights that may try to throw you off balance then use a lumbar support belt. Exercises like the standing overhead press will engage your core, which can get injured very easily if you don't have the strength to maintain the centre of balance of the weight. The back support will provide additional support and confidence, enabling you to build up your strength gradually and practice any tricky techniques a little more safely. It compresses the midsection to reduce harmful flexion and extension and works particularly well with deadlifts and front squats.