Follow These 7 Tips to Minimize Risk of Injury While Lifting

weight lifting

Lifting weights is a great form of exercise for people of all ages and walks of life. When you strengthen your muscles, you make your body more resistant to injury while increasing endurance and improving overall function of the musculoskeletal system. However, if you approach lifting in an unsafe way and end up injuring yourself, you can not only cause yourself pain and discomfort in the short term, but you risk a potentially permanent performance issue.  

Even if you heal from the injury, you will likely always be prone to repeat injuries in the same area. Therefore, it is vitally important to prioritize safety. The following are some key tips for keeping yourself safe while weightlifting. 

1. Always start with a warm-up exercise.  

Most people who work out are eager to see progress as quickly as possible. For this reason, many people will skip the warm-up and move directly into heavy weights. However, warming up allows you to prepare your muscles for more strenuous exercise and significantly reduces the risk of injury. Warm-ups get the blood flowing into the muscle to help remove lactic acid and deliver the energy necessary to complete more strenuous exercises. When warming up, it is helpful to think in terms of each exercise rather than the entire session. In other words, do a little warm-up before each exercise, not just when you first get to the gym.  

2. Wear appropriate clothing at the gym.  

One of the most dangerous things you can do while lifting is wearing inappropriate clothing. When clothing fits you too tightly, it limits your range of motion, which can jeopardize your balance and cause you to fall. Imagine trying to do squats in a pair of jeans. Keeping your balance would prove extremely difficult.  

Gym clothes should allow you the full range of motion of all your limbs. However, remember that you shouldn’t wear clothes that are too loose either. If clothing has the potential to wrap around you or things in your environment, that is a major hazard. Also, ensure you wear supportive, athletic shoes and that they remain tied to reduce the chance of injury. 

3. Focus on executing perfect form.  

If you cannot control the weight that you are trying to lift, then you are working with something too heavy for you. Weights that are too heavy put incredible stress on your bones and joints, which can quickly lead to injury. Always pay close attention to your form. If you cannot keep your form perfect, move to a lower weight until you can. The problem is that form exists for a reason, and going against it can lead to overuse injuries and other problems. With patience, you will get to the heavier weights you want to lift and be able to do so without injury.  

4. Pay attention to your surroundings.  

Because lifting involves the use of heavy weights, which can cause a lot of damage, you need to be extra diligent whether you are lifting alone or in a crowded gym. Look at what the people around you are doing and keep an appropriate amount of space. Think about whether the exercise you are about to do will get in another person’s way and adjust as needed. Furthermore, consider the physical space. Some lifting accidents occur due to slips and falls on wet or polished floors. If you notice a hazardous condition, alert gym officials, or if you’re working out at home, ensure your safety before you work out. 

5. Listen to your body at all times.  

People who exercise frequently learn to listen to their body in terms of limits. You will quickly learn the signs that you have pushed yourself as far as you are meant to go. Respect those limits; pushing beyond them often results in injury. Sometimes, lifters will continue despite a warning sign, such as dizziness, which puts them and the people around them at risk. If the lifter passes out, they could drop heavy weights on themselves or their spotter. Everyone’s body is different, and you need to learn the signals your body makes when it is time to stop, or at least rest and respect them. 

6. Check equipment for safety concerns.  

Whether you work out at a gym or in your home, you need to check your equipment before use. This step takes only a couple of seconds and can protect you and the people around you from serious injury. One of the most common causes of injury while exercising involves unsecured weights. Always make sure weights are secured and that everything is in proper working order before you begin any exercise. 

7. Get guidance when you need it.  

Lifting when you are not sure of what you are doing is very dangerous. You could injure yourself in any number of ways, from acute issues to unevenly building muscles. Before you start lifting, you should get general instructions on how to do certain exercises. This will help ensure that you have good form. Lifting with an experienced buddy is also a good idea because they can check your form over time. If you ever have a question or concern, be sure to check with an expert before you continue. 

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