I do not fear looking like a man (such a silly myth.) I do not fear gaining muscle mass. I do not fear having to buy new tops because my old ones are feeling too snug. I don’t even fear post-workout soreness (although I tend to walk like a baby with a poopsie in her diaper for two days after a killer leg routine.) What I DO fear is injury. I know it may happen because I have graduated to big girl weights, however, I do everything in my power to prevent getting hurt or straining myself.
To protect myself from a pull, tear or strain I practice safe lifting by doing the following:
I check my form in the mirrored walls.
If unsure about a movement, I ask a professional fitness trainer.
I warm up my muscles on a cardio machine, such as the rower, before every workout.
I stretch thoroughly after every workout.
I do injury prevention exercises.
I take sufficient rest and recovery.
If a movement does not feel right, or there is a sudden sharp pain, I stop said movement immediately.
I fuel my body with healthy, energizing food. (I’m getting a lot better at this.)
I take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
I use a wrist straps for added support.
I expressed my concern for my child-sized wrists in this post. Another area of concern for me is my shoulders. This is a region of my body where I really push myself with heavy lifts. I also have increased the weight of my bench press, where shoulder strength and stability is imperative. I have to try to remember that I have twiggy’s shoulders and not The Wolverine’s. One injury prevention exercise I do for my twiggyesque shoulders is to work the rotator cuff. I generally do this exercise at least two times per week:
Cable External Rotation:
Raise the pulley until it is even with your elbow. You’ll be standing sideways next to the weight stack so if your right hand is holding the handle, your left foot should be closest to the weight stack.
Grasp the cable attachment with your far arm while keeping your elbow close to your side and forearm across your stomach. Your palm should be facing in. Pull cable attachment away from body by externally rotating your shoulder. Return and repeat. Turn around and continue with opposite arm.
I also work the rotator cuff doing the same movement, but I lie on my side on a bench, and hold a light hand weight on the side I am exercising.
This is all I can do to stay safe and prevent injury, as I said it is a possibility. Bodies in movement at times get hurt from practicing a sport, especially when you are testing your limits. In all reality, an injury can happen at anytime in any activity. My friend Beata pulled her back once when lifting up her chubby (but oh so adorable) little baby. A lady in Zumba had to stop mid cha-cha because she moved her knee in a strange way. If we can prevent injuries, and you are aware of your weaknesses, why not try to prevent them? I call this my rock and a hard place. My upper body is weak, but I need it to become stronger. I must lift heavy, thus enhancing the possibility of an injury. The 5 and 10 pound hand weights I started with simply do not challenge me any longer and I will get no growth or progression from continuing to use them. I do know this, I do not want to return to the days of those pink Barbie weights. That is what I fear.
To learn more about keeping the rotator cuff in tip-top shape, click on the link below:
Resources/works cited and image found at: