5 Weight Training Safety Tips | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

5 Weight Training Safety Tips

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Before starting any exercise, it is important to get warmed up.
  •  It is important to keep in mind the normal limitations of the body and to avoid over-stressing the muscles.
  • During weight training, it is important to always pay attention to breathing.
  • Following safety measures will minimize the risk of injuries.
  • Always maintaining correct posture.

Lifting weights is an important part of keeping the body healthy and strong. Building muscle will increase physical strength, burn more calories while the body is at rest, and generally makes the body feel healthier.

Though weight training is important, it can be risky if you try to jump into it with reckless abandon.

Following these safety tips will help you prevent injuries, avoid unnecessary problems, and make sure you get the most out of your time at the gym.

Keeping these safety tips in mind, find a workout program that works for you by signing up for a PRO Plan today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, nutrition trackers, and more!

1. Always Engage in a Warm-up

No excuses for missing this one. Before starting any exercise, it is important to get warmed up. Lifting weights without warming up is not recommended because it can lead to injuries and cramping during the workout.

A few methods of warming up include:

  • Fast walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Using an elliptical

Almost any exercise that helps get the heart pumping and leads to sweating will warm up the body.

The ideal warm-up exercises should begin slowly. Don’t just come in cold and start with high-intensity plyometrics – that’s just asking for an injury!

Instead, start walking or jogging on a treadmill, then gradually speed up until you start to sweat. Slow down again and then start working with the weights.

Warming up prepares the body for intense exercise by getting your heart pumping and blood flowing throughout your body. Without warming up, you might run into a few problems like cramping that are otherwise avoidable.

2. Pain Is Not Always a Good Sign.

A key to improving muscle strength and ability is training the muscle group more than the accustomed amount. Working the muscle harder than usual will result in improved strength.

While the goal is getting the muscles more training than normal, it is important to keep in mind the normal limitations of the body and to avoid over-stressing the muscles.

Exercise shouldn’t feel painful for joints and muscles. There is a difference between muscle fatigue and serious pain.

Just because your arms are tired, that doesn’t mean you have an excuse to stop short! The risk of injuries increases when the muscles are overstressed and fatigued.

Injuries can range from simple pulled muscles to serious injuries as a result of dropping weights or other accidents.

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3. Pay Attention to Breathing

Breathing is an important part of exercise. The proper breathing technique during weight training is exhaling while lifting the weight and inhaling while relaxing the muscle to lower the weight.

During weight training, it is important to always pay attention to breathing even if it slows down the exercises. Holding your breath during weight training exercises can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting!

Beyond holding your breath, it is also important to avoid hyperventilating.

The reaction to hyperventilating is often lightheadedness as the oxygen levels in the body change, causing fainting and similar complications that can lead to serious injuries.

Instead, take a slow breath in while releasing and bringing down the weight, and slowly exhale during the exertion part of the exercise. This will result in improved oxygen levels and better control over the weights.

4. Always Take Safety Measures When Possible

During weight training, safety measures can vary from having a spotter to making use of the safety clips on bars during the training. Following these safety measures will minimize the risk of injuries.

Making use of the clips on bars will give better control and ensure that the weight is evenly distributed and stays that way.

Imbalanced weights can lead to potential injuries as the muscles try to compensate for the inaccurately balanced weight.

Having a spotter is often suggested in gyms while using free weights instead of machines. The free weights have inherent risks based on improper form or misjudging the amount of weight you can lift.

Be careful loading up that barbell with four 45s too soon!

A spotter helps limit the risk during free-weight sessions by helping correct your form before injuries occur and helping you lift weights when your muscles are too tired.

5. Avoid Twisting or Bending Your Back

Back injuries caused by improper form like lifting with the back or twisting in an awkward way, are all too common during weight training.

By always maintaining correct posture and sticking to the right form to prevent lifting with the back, it is easier to limit potential back injuries.

In general, it is best not to twist the back while holding the weights. Twisting the back while holding weight can put undue stress on the lower back, and you don’t want that.

Some advanced exercises require some twisting motions. We suggest avoiding these until you know you can handle it with perfect form.

Weight training is an important part of keeping yourself well-balanced and maintaining a healthy body. Despite the fact that it is important to lift and work on weight training, it is also important to minimize the risks to the body.

There’s no reason to risk injuries at the gym, and you should do everything you can (besides stop working out) to avoid them.

Taking safety precautions will make a difference when the body remains fit, strong and healthy while working on improving muscle definition and strength!

Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Training

Should I weight train in the morning or evening?

Some studies have shown that lifting weights in the early evening is more beneficial because cortisol levels are lower. With that being said, the best time to weight train is when you feel the most energized and/or have the time to do so.

Are free weights better than machines?

Free weights are better for an overall workout than machines as they require the use of more stabilizer muscles; however, machines are a great addition to a well-rounded exercise routine.

When should I go up in weight?

If your last couple of reps can be done easily and quickly (with good form), then it’s time to increase the weight of your lifts.

Is a weightlifting belt necessary?

A weightlifting belt should only be worn when it’s absolutely necessary — like when you have a very heavy load on your back.

As you develop a workout plan that’s right for you, make sure you have a fitness pro in your corner. Join our Pro plan today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more!

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