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I have been weight lifting for two months (squat, bench and deadlift), and while I have been very happy with the short term benefits of my new routine, I'm concerned about the negative long term effects of weight lifting.

What measures can I take to ensure that I'm lifting safely and not pushing myself too hard, minimising the risk of injuries in the long term?

In particular, I'm currently deadlifting 80kg. My family (who knows nothing about weight lifting) are concerned that this is too heavy and that I could be hurting myself, if not now then in the long term. While I'm sure that this isn't the case at this particular weight, It makes me wonder what that threshold is and how I can reassure my family and lift as safely as possible so that I minimise injuries.

I understand that poor form can definitely cause issues in the short and long term, so I'm rather interested in the case where the exercise is performed with correct form. I have absolutely no issue with taking as long as necessary to get my form correct before adding weight.

  • Just a note, "weightlifting" (one word) is generally taken to mean Olympic weightlifting (as in, the snatch and clean-and-jerk), as opposed to powerlifting (squat, bench, deadlift) or weight lifting (just, y'know, lifting weights). – Dave Liepmann Oct 30 '14 at 15:57
  • @DaveLiepmann thanks. I had "lifting heavy" in originally but the tag wiki says weightlifting is "Resistance training with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and other weights. Questions involving how to lift and maximizing lifting performance. Includes powerlifting, bodybuilding and Olympic lifting." so I thought I could use weightlifting as an all-encompassing term. – user5376 Oct 30 '14 at 16:00
  • I also used to use "powerlifting" but when I say that people think I'm competing. – user5376 Oct 30 '14 at 16:01
  • Thanks for noticing the tag issue! And I hear you about getting mistaken for a competitor. – Dave Liepmann Oct 30 '14 at 16:29
  • On the topic of competition, seriously consider doing a local meet. If you gives you something to train for, and I bet you'd be surprised at how well you do. – Eric Oct 31 '14 at 2:53
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Your family's concern is misplaced. Deadlifting 80kg is perfectly reasonable, as is deadlifting 100kg, 120kg, or 160kg.

What's dangerous with lifting weights isn't the amount lifted, but whether you're advancing carefully with additional weight, being judicious with one-rep-max attempts, warming up sufficiently, managing minor injuries, and acting preemptively on mobility and inflamed joints.

What, then, will convince your family of this? It's impossible to know. Are they convinced by evidence? Show them injury rates compared across sports, which shows weightlifting to be extremely safe. Are they convinced by reading regular women who lift? Show them a quick blog post. Might they be convinced by seeing women lift competitively, to broaden their conception of women's capabulities? Show them, say, Julia Rhode.

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    Dave's right. The general public (as is evident by the amount of obese weaklings running around) is completely out of touch with physical fitness. Don't take your cues from them anymore then you'd ask them how to perform surgery or do options trading. And props to Stacey for being a female who's doing effective weight training. Just make sure you mix in some overhead presses 1:1 with those bench moves. – Eric Oct 30 '14 at 16:53
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You get stronger, and likely bigger if you eat more. Anything more is speculation.

This is a overly general question and can't really be answered concisely.

There are many forms of pursuing lifting - for competition in Weightlifting or Powerlifting, for Aesthetics - Bodybuilding, for general health/fun, or other reasons too numerous to list.

Any sport pursued long enough will change your body, and yes, risk injury, but look at long term lifters in your gym, online and see how they are doing. They will show you the many paths your lifting can take you towards. Have fun while working hard and you will be rewarded.

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    Women, in general, will not add the mass comparable to a male due to the lack of sufficient testosterone. Many women hesitate to weight train because of this fear. – rrirower Oct 30 '14 at 15:13
  • I edited my question :) – user5376 Oct 30 '14 at 15:39

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