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11 Tips for Injury Free Weight Training

By Matteo Longobardi

Here is a list of some important safety tips that should be followed by all weight trainers. These tips can help prevent injury and help speed your progress.

•  Have a medical check up before you begin working out, especially if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle over the past year or more.

•  Always warm up prior to working out. Most injuries are the result of jumping into a heavy workout too quickly. A good warm up only takes a few minutes, but it can prevent pulled muscles and injured joints.

•  Use collars on all barbells. If you forget to put the collars on the barbell, the plates may fall off. This can cause serious injuries such as muscle tears, pulled tendons, etc. Play it safe, and use the collars.

•  Use a spotter when necessary. When doing exercises such as bench press, squats, shoulder press, lying tricep extensions, etc. have someone stand behind you and provide assistance lifting the weight if necessary.

•  Where applicable, use catch racks such as the squat rack or power rack. The rack will prevent you from getting pined under a heavy barbell. This is a must if you are working out alone and do not have a spotter.

•  Use proper exercise form at all times. Training with poor exercise technique will produce poor results and increase the risk of injury.

•  When unsure how to do an exercise, ask a knowledgeable instructor or experienced gym member.

•  Use a weight lifting belt when doing heavy squats, deadlifts, or heavy rowing exercises. A good belt can help support the lower back muscles and help keep your back in proper alignment. However, do not use a belt for lighter exercises. Your lower back muscles need to be exercised just like any other muscle and if you wear a belt all of the time the lower back muscles will get weak.

•  Dress appropriately for your workouts. If it is a cold winter's day, make sure to wear a sweat shirt and sweat pants. This will keep the muscles warm and prevent injury. The opposite applies during a warm summer's day, wear lighter clothing to keep cooler and prevent dehydration.

•  Put your weights back when you are finished with them. It is not safe to have barbells and plates laying around on the floor or left on the exercise equipment. Return all equipment to it correct location when you are finished, this is good gym etiquette.

•  Drink water during your workouts. This will prevent dehydration and help maintain your energy levels. Carry around a water bottle and sip water between sets. It is best to drink water that is at room temperature because cold water can cause stomach cramps while working out.