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Safe Effective Strength Training

With New Year’s resolutions still fresh in mind, many people are taking bold steps to get fit and build strength. But some strength training exercises revered by gyms and fitness instructors may not be based on how the body works best.

“All too often, strength training programs don’t take into account correct biomechanics or even individual body types,” says Mayo Clinic’s Ed Laskowski, M.D., of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Some strength training exercises, if performed with poor technique, can cause injuries ranging from spontaneous twinges to more severe aches that come from months of cumulative stress.

The key to safe, effective strength training is doing it right. Consider the below advice when planning a strength training workout:

  • Core stability: Essential to upper body, lower body and trunk strengthening, training the core involves not only activating abdominal muscles but also training back muscles. Workouts need to progress beyond fitness balls and floor exercises to incorporate upright positions more similar to life and sport movement patterns.
  • Upper back and rear shoulder: Many people focus on training the muscles in the chest and in the front of the shoulder. For more balanced shoulder strength, a training program should emphasize strengthening the muscles in the upper back as well as the back of the shoulder.
  • Ask for help: Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists can help people review their workouts to optimize benefit and flag any potentially dangerous flaws that may cause injury. Novice or seasoned athletes can ensure a proper foundation by making an appointment to review the appropriate biomechanics of a workout, a football throw, or even a golf swing.

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