Lifting Makes us Healthy
Lifting weights makes you more healthy.
Lifting too heavy of weight incorrectly causes injury.
These two statements seem pretty straightforward, and as someone searching for health you should absolutely understand the difference between these two. I think of the biggest misconceptions that many physicians (and their patients) have is that doing certain lifts will inherently be bad for one’s health.
One of our athletes recently went to a Sports Physician, who stated without hesitation that squatting is a horrible movement and that there is nothing good that can come from doing a weighted squat. Needless to say she was none too pleased with him and obviously had trouble trusting anything else the physician had to say.
I’m here to say that he was wrong. Squatting can provide some of the greatest benefits in regards to muscle strength, balance, and bone strength. Now here is the rub. Squatting with POOR form WILL hurt. And will lead to injuries. If you are a beginner then you MUST learn to squat correcting. Take the time to learn to squat. Do not lift too much weight without proper training.
My first 6 months of CrossFit I had an awful air squat. I could not seem to understand how to get my butt to back and down first before bending my knees. It was very frustrating. I would have this weird knee pain after air squats. I was not doing them fast and was not really paying attention to it all.
I did something about that. I subscribed to the CrossFit Journal. Then I read about how to perform the proper squat. In the journal they have the Level 1 trainer guide available to read. In this there is a several page description of how to learn (and teach) to squat. I then spent one full night for like 3 hours going over this form. Then for the next week or so, I pulled this out to review it. And now I will occasionally look over it. Here is the step-wise check list from the journal.
Now I am not here to say that my squat is perfect in anyway, but I do not feel the hurt like I used to. My trainer pointed out a few things for me the other day on how to fix my back squat. I’m always looking to improve my form and movement, which will lead to less discomfort and less risk of serious injury.
What are the health benefits to lifting weights? There are many, but the most important in my mind is the ability to resist injury in daily activities. I see many people with low back pain from trying to lift or do activities but without the proper strength and technique. Being able to lift a 40 lb bag of dog food or something in your 60’s should be a good goal for many people. Lifting it properly will decrease the chance of long term injury including the threat of a fall in our later years.