Defining your muscles through strength training is no new concept. In fact, evidence of dumbbells for cultivating muscles for recreational pleasure dates to the fifth century B.C. Since then, civilizations throughout the world have used dumbbells or other forms of free weights to create strong, well-defined bodies. While women may use dumbbells to create a lean and healthy body, dumbbell safety must be fully understood and implemented to prevent accidental injuries.
Unlike machines, dumbbells build up momentum during exercises. This momentum can cause serious injury if not handled properly. Preventing accidental injury from out-of-control dumbbells starts with proper form. The American College of Sports Medicine states that free weights, which include dumbbells, demand a higher degree of muscular coordination than weight machines. Therefore, improper form can injure muscles and joints through straining. Before starting a dumbbell workout routine, practice each movement without dumbbells. This ensures that you understand your range of motion and what path the dumbbells must travel.
A common injury from lifting dumbbells occurs during the actual picking up and putting down of the weights. Mayo Clinic suggests that exercisers prevent lower back injuries by lifting weights with the legs and not with the back. As you bend over to pick up the dumbbells, keep your back in a neutral, straight line. Do not allow your shoulders or spine to curve as you bend over. Instead, bend at your knees and press through your heels to lift the weights. As always, only pick up weights that are within your current strength level. Even with proper lifting technique, picking up weights outside your strength level can cause injury.
As you exercise, you begin to sweat. While the drops of moisture are a reminder of the wondrous toil you’re placing upon your muscles, sweaty palms can cause accidents. Keep from dropping a dumbbell by wearing strength-training gloves, which are designed to provide extra grip. The fingerless gloves typically feature padding and grip-strengthening material on the palm.
If There’s Pain, Stop
A popular saying in weight training circles is, “No pain, no gain.” While catchy, this mantra could result in damage to muscles or joints. When lifting dumbbells, listen to your body. While muscle soreness or fatigue is common during resistance training, when fatigue turns into pain, immediately stop the exercise. Due to the free range of motion dumbbells provide, it is possible to strain muscles or ligaments. Therefore, always listen to your body and only lift when each repetition is pain-free.
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- Mayo Clinic: Weight Training: Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Technique
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