Avoiding Muscle Strains and Soreness When Lifting Weights

How to prevent muscle strains and soreness is a concern that many people who regularly work out tend to have. A strain is a tear or over-stretching of a muscle or a tendon while a sprain is a tear in the ligaments around the muscle. (Just as a reminder, ligaments connect bone to bone while tendons connect muscle to bone.)

In order to prevent muscle strains, make sure that you get a good stretch of at least 5 minutes in before you start working out. Also, don’t use more weight than you can reasonably move. Listen to your body. Your body knows its limits and tries to communicate this to you. If you start to lift a weight and feel as if you are having to exert a lot more force than you usually do, switch to a smaller weight. It is more important for you to save your muscle than to try to impress others. Another way to prevent muscle strains is to practice proper form. Be very careful when using heavier weights because if you push yourself too far, you can end up with an injury that you will never recover from.

If you do happen to develop a strain, use the RICE method to ensure a relatively quick and easy recovery. The RICE acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest means just that. Try not to use the strained muscle at all. You want to allow your muscle some time to get back to its usual state. You may also place ice on the area, but use something to create a barrier between the ice and your skin such as a towel or bag. Compression means putting pressure on the area. This compression, coupled with the ice, will help reduce the swelling. Elevation means keeping the strained area lifted. You want to decrease the blood flow to the area which also helps with the swelling. Another way that you can deal with the symptoms of muscle strain is to take light pain medication such as aspirin and acetaminophen. (Read the labels for the individual medicines and/or consult with your physician before you begin taking these sorts of things often.)

Muscle soreness is caused by lactic acid build up. When you work out your muscles past their limits, you are increasing the amount of oxygen your tissues need and are therefore going into an anaerobic state. Lactic acid builds up, which causes your muscles to become sore. You will have to rest and ensure that you take in a good diet of carbohydrates to allow your muscles to recuperate. Also, potassium can alleviate the feeling of soreness you experience. When you work out, your goal should not be to make your muscles sore. Being sore is not necessarily a good thing but it’s not necessarily bad either. Just make sure that you are putting in the time and effort to ensure that your workout is successful and will help you reach your weight lifting, bench pressing, marathon running, or other goal. If you are the kind of person who feels reassured by soreness, try switching to a new type of work out. When you change work outs, you change the muscle groups and cause a sort of “muscle confusion.” Your muscles become familiarized with the exercise that you always do and will not give you the same results you experienced when you first began performing the work out.

In summation, the most effective way to prevent muscle strain and soreness is to listen to your body. Know your limits when it comes to working out. You don’t have to push yourself to the edge in order to get results. Also, if you do end up getting a strain or having muscle soreness, make sure to allow your muscles to rest or you will develop more serious problems later. One of the most painful and serious manifestations of overexerting your muscles is that you can actually end up pulling the muscle from the bone. Protect your body, not your pride.

Steven Tyrie is an exercise science and general health and fitness expert who specializes in helping beginners reach their muscle building goals. To learn more FREE muscle building tips, sign up to the FREE BuildUpYourMuscles weekly newsletter or to download the complete 'Beginners Guide to Muscle Building' ebook just visit www.buildupyourmuscles.com.Read more at http://www.articlealley.com/article_1972785_23.html?ktrack=kcplink


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