Woman lifting weights on a machine

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The Peril of Breaking Out of the Weight-Lifting Pack
Expect: Toned muscles; a revved-up metabolism; stronger bones
Avoid: Tears, sprains and strains
You've been taking sculpting classes for months, and now you're ready to do your own thing. But even experienced weight lifters can sometimes get a little overconfident with new machines and fitness props.
Do it right: Dr. Oz suggests taking these steps to reduce your risk of injury while lifting at your own pace:

Warm up. Before you work out, improve blood flow throughout your body with a light jog or uphill walk. You'll also raise your core temperature, and muscles respond better when they're warm.

Breathe. Exhale while you contract your muscles (especially if you have hypertension); inhale as you relax. It may feel slower than what you were doing in class, but this pattern helps keep your blood pressure in check.

Get guidance. Consider hiring a personal trainer for at least one session to show you the latest, most effective exercises and help you create a customized routine.

Read more: Dr. Oz's beginner's guide to building healthy muscles
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