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Strength training is your best bet for staying in shape. In conjunction with a balanced diet and cardio regiment, strength training allows you to improve your strength, toning and even heart health. But lifting incorrectly with poor form can do much more harm than good. There are a few principles to keep in mind to avoid devastating injury.

 

Use Proper Form

Using proper form is critical if you want to prevent an injury. Using poor form is the quickest way to end up hurt. A personal trainer can teach you proper technique. Or, if you’ve been hitting the weights for years, ask a friend to use video or photos to catch any flaws in your movement.

 

Do smart exercises

If you’re worried about injuries, the best exercises to use are those that are functional and strengthen your core; pushups, lunges, and balance work are all great. Avoid dangerous exercises, such as Olympic bench presses, squats and deadlifts. These all offer more risk than reward.

 

Warm up Properly

This means raising your body’s core temperature through some light cardio for at least five minutes, and ideally incorporating some very-low resistance dynamic exercises that will prep your body for upcoming stress. And once you’re all warmed up, use the right weight. Lifting weight that’s too heavy discourages proper form. It also makes you that person at the gym grunting loudly everyone knows is pushing themselves too hard.

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