General Advice : Training Safety
In your bodybuilding experience you will perform thousands of reps, but if you cannot learn to do one properly, you will get nowhere. Using proper exercise form is the number one fundamental of not only achieving muscularity and strength, but also avoiding a serious injury.

Using proper form also makes sure your muscles as well as joints are in the strongest possible position. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone in my gym demonstrating horrible form that not only requires virtually no muscular effort, but increases the chance of them injuring themselves, and thereby resulting in more trouble caused.

Still, most people tend to do just that at least once in their journey to a fit physique. Some things cannot be helped - bad luck strikes in the gym as easily as outside it - but there are some steps you can take to tilt the odds in your favor.

Warm Up. This may sound like the king of cliches, but guess what? A large percentage of the bodybuilders out there are so eager to hit the bench press that they skimp on or ignore the warm-up altogether. This is a big mistake. Properly warming up will raise your core temperature, get your metabolism into gear and lubricate your joints in preparation for the actual workout. Simply put, your body is ready to tackle the big weights. Your warm-up should consist of 5 to 10 minutes of moderate cardiovascular workout on a treadmill or stationary bike, 5 minutes of light stretching and, as you get ready for the weights, 1-2 light sets before your "real" sets begin.

Stretch. Failure to stretch will make your muscle bellies shorten over time, making you less flexible. While it may seem like a minor aesthetic detail to get that slightly-hunched, gorilla-look, your muscles and joints become a lot more vulnerable. If a supporting muscle stiffens or becomes shortened, it will start interfering with the normal groove of your exercises. The cumulative effect over a couple of years can throw some serious curveballs at your bodybuilding efforts. In addition, stretching between sets flushes out lactic acid and byproducts while bringing in fresh nutrients, thus making you stronger for your next set. Finally, post-stretching helps you recover faster between workouts.

Balance. If you tend to go with exercises that allow the stronger side to overpower and take over some of the load from the weak side, you're in trouble. Typically, most barbell exercises and machines with a single bar are guilty of this. On the other hand, dumbbells and machines where the two handles operate independently make this impossible. It is prudent to include exercises where the motion on both sides are controlled separately in every workout and, if uneven strength is already a problem, consciously holding the stronger side back until they have equalized.

Breathing Pattern. When performing intense exercise such as weight lifting, holding your breath can slow the rate of blood flow to and from the brain, causing the subject to faint. As a general rule, exhale while performing the positive portion of a rep, and inhale while performing the negative portion of the rep. Irregular patterns of breathing can damage the efficiency of our workout and in the long term, harms our heart.

Start It Slow. Always start your training programmes slow. It is to allow your body to get used to the way you train and the speed of your training. If you jump immediately to intensive training, your body will not be able to handle the pressure, and eventually it will malfunction and cause severe injury. Do not be mindful if you are an amateur, you should pay attention to your body more than the eyes on you.

The greatest safety you can learn is through the knowledge that you can absorb. To beat the man, you got to be the man! To overcome something, you need to understand. The more you know about bodybuilding, the lower chance you will be hurt.

About the Author: Colin Tan is a fashion model and fitness trainer based in Singapore. See more of his articles on weight loss, muscle building and fitness at .

This article is brought to you by Nutrition Park - Bringing you good nutrition and real results. .

Last updated on: 18/11/2008, 18:46:25hrs
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