25 Tips on How to Lift Heavy Weights Safely

male_crossfit_athlete_dropping_barbell_on_head
male weightlifter - barbell front squat

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregorwinter/8364765619/

Lifting heavy weights is risky business. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could encounter all kinds of problems. And even if you do know what you’re doing, you’re not necessarily off the hook either. You could pull, strain, or tear a muscle. You could tear cartilage or hyper-extend a joint. You could throw out your back, or any number of other things that will leave you hurt, injured, and feeling and performing lousy – or worse. And the heavier you go, the riskier it becomes.

Fortunately, there are many ways to mitigate the risks. And with the right combination of factors, you can all but eliminate them. In fact, that’s a cornerstone of health-first fitness – minimizing problems so that you can maximize your results over the long term. Because what good is it if you’re always experiencing setbacks and getting hurt?

So, here are 25 tips on how to lift heavy weights safely. Apply these to your own lifting and you’ll drastically reduce the risk of problems.
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9 Fitness Tips For Brand New Parents

How To Stay Fit When You Have a New Baby In The House

I got a message the other day from a regular reader who was wondering if I had any advice for those who want to stay healthy and active with a newborn baby in the house. As you can see in the screenshot below, I gave him 3 tips in exactly 140 characters.

fitness tips for new parents

But you didn’t think I’d leave him hanging like that? Not ol’ blabbermouth, John! You see, I’ve got a few kiddos of my own, and I know that a few bullet points delivered in less than 140 characters may not exactly cut it. So today, I’m going to expand a little bit on those responses.

Granted, my advice will vary from person to person – and this post is mostly geared for new Dads – but here is some general advice that will apply to most new parents.
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So, you’re fit. Now what?

You’re finally in good shape. Congratulations. You’ve done well. But now what do you do?

male runner

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tymtoi/7205317504

Do you simply maintain your body composition? Keep doing what you have been? Try to get just a little bit better – get a tiny bit leaner, add a few more pounds to your PR, etc.? Or, maybe take on a new challenge?

Here’s what I think.

We never truly arrive at an ideal state of health and fitness. We never reach perfection. It’s a process. And the closer we get, the harder it gets to keep making progress. For example…

-Getting from 10% bodyfat to 5% bodyfat is much harder than getting from 20% to 15%. The leaner you get, the harder it gets.

-Going from 300 to 350 lbs in the barbell squat is much harder than going from 100-150 lbs. The stronger you get, the harder it gets.

-Shaving a minute off of your one mile run time is much easier when you’re running ten minute miles than when you’re running fives. The faster you get, the harder it gets to improve further.

In other words, the closer you get to your peak potential, the harder and more slowly the results will come.

Now, we know that fitness training should be specific to your unique needs, goals, and circumstances. For instance, if you’ve got a bad back, achy knees or a bum shoulder, your fitness program should address that. And if you’d like to run your first marathon, set a new PR in one of your lifts, or reach single-digit bodyfat, then your program should be designed accordingly. That much is obvious.

But here’s the thing. Most people tend to specialize in one or two things that interest them rather than doing the things they really need. This is something I had to deal with when working as a personal trainer at my local health club years ago. Many of my clients wanted to do certain things, but they really needed to do some other things to achieve their goals. For example, some of the females I trained weren’t very interested in strength training, even though that was the most suitable method for achieving their goals. And some of the guys I trained didn’t want to do anything outside of the weight room – none of that “cardio or yoga stuff” – even though that’s exactly what they needed.

And this happens all the time – even outside of the trainer/client relationship. We do the things that we like to do because we enjoy them, are good at them, keep seeing progress, etc.

Those who are strong keep lifting.
The endurance athletes keep running/swimming/etc.
The hyper-flexible keep deepening their yoga practice.

But here’s the problem…
Continue reading So, you’re fit. Now what?

Interview with the TACFIT Firefighters about Pull-up Training

Learn How Top-Level Firefighting Fitness Pros Integrate Pull-up Training Into Their Fitness Programs in this Interview with Christian Carson and Ryan Provencher

Ryan Provencher

Ryan Provencher

If you’re a firefighter, or if you’re employed in another physically-demanding profession, then do yourself a favor and get to know Christian Carson and Ryan Provencher. Not only are they professional firefighters, but they also have extensive fitness backgrounds, too.

These guys are literally at the forefront of tactical fitness, and particularly when it comes to firefighters, which is obviously a profession where fitness matters. And even if you’re not in a profession like this, but you still want elite-level fitness, then you’ll certainly benefit from following their work. They are truly top-level coaches who are influencing the future of precision fitness.

And today, I’ve got another great interview with both of them (see links below for our first interview together), except this time it’s all about pull-up training. Now, the pull-up exercise is obviously only one small aspect of firefighter fitness training, but I wanted to hear how Ryan and Christian employ it in their programs alongside the rest of their vigorous physical training and preparation.

Like all of us, firefighters have unique fitness needs, one of which is a state of constant readiness. This means that their training needs to help them stay healthy, injury-free, and be able to recover quickly, among other things. In other words, they need to attain and maintain a high level of fitness with a low risk of problems. And these two smoke eaters know exactly how to do just that.

christian carson

Christian Carson

During our interview, some of the topics we cover include…

  • How to prepare for a firefighter physical fitness test
  • Beginner and advanced level pull-up training tips for those with physically-demanding jobs
  • One technique tip that will help you focus on recruiting your major muscle groups, instead of letting your smaller muscle groups fatigue prematurely
  • How to activate your core, hips, and legs to turn the pull-up into a full body exercise for maximum strength recruitment
  • Their go-to workout for increasing their pull-up numbers in 12 weeks
  • 5 strategies they use to break through a plateau
  • A workout protocol to temporarily boost pullup results and get a big spike in your numbers
  • How to make the pull-up exercise much easier by augmenting your workouts with another key training tool
  • The straight truth on kipping pull-ups and how to use them wisely
  • Cutting-edge recovery methods to make sure you stay healthy and are able to perform at your best
  • And much more!

So, if you have a physically-demanding job or you’re in a position where you need to prepare for a Physical Fitness Test, and you’d like to bring up your pull-up numbers so that you can perform your job to the best of your ability, check out this interview with the TACFIT firefighters.
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3 Old-School Strategies to Enjoy The Holidays and Stay Lean Into The New Year

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Three Unconventional Strategies To Enjoy the Holidays Without Packing On The Pounds – Even if You Occasionally “Stuff Your Face”

chocolate covered strawberries

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/3345154686

Every once in awhile, usually around the holidays while I’m eating something delicious at a social event, I receive a comment like this one:

It must be nice being able to eat all of that and not get fat.

So they say with a playfully-despising look. Or, maybe it’s a well-intentioned, “are you really going to eat ALL of that?”

Why, yes. Yes, I am. Oh, and would you be a dear and pass the butter, please? Thanks.

Seriously, that kind of conversation has happened more than a few times over the years. And get this. Despite my seemingly “binge-like behavior” as it may be described by the casual observer, I’m still healthy, fit, and lean. And that doesn’t change over the holidays. So, yes. It is possible to “stuff your face” and still not get fat. And in this short article, I will show you how to do it.

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Continue reading 3 Old-School Strategies to Enjoy The Holidays and Stay Lean Into The New Year

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