There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to safety when lifting weights. The goal of staying injury-free should always be the objective when working out. You may not be able to do much of anything if injured. Allow me to give you 7 safety tips for lifting weights.
Warm your body up before you start putting a bunch of demands on it. Working out without warming up is like someone stretching a rubber band when it is cold. If you stretch a rubber band without it being at the temperature it can be elastic, the chances of it snapping go up. Think of your muscles that way.
Make the time to warm up thoroughly to prepare your body for the demands you are about to put on it. I recommend that you do some light cardio followed by some dynamic stretches. These dynamic stretches will further prepare the body for various ranges of motion. I suggest emphasizing stretches that are similar to the movements you will be performing during your workout.
2. Cherish Rest Periods
Do not rush your rest periods. Give yourself time to recover between sets, circuits, or so forth. Depending on what your goals are, that will usually determine how long your rest you need to be. In general, if you working on strength or power, your rest periods will be long due to the type of energy system you are working on. On the other hand, if your goal is endurance your rest period will be shorter because that is another type of energy system being worked.
Rushing through your rest period may cause you to sacrifice your form on an exercise. It may also cause you to start training another energy system which is not the goal. Doing the work is important but rest is just as important. You want to get quality sets in by making them count. Allow your body to recover between sets but not the point that you get cold and feel a need to warm up again.
3. Never Sacrifice Form
This is one is key, especially for beginners. Never sacrifice your form to lift a weight. If you cannot lift a weight safely with the correct form, you need to lower the weight. If you are in the middle of a set and got the first few reps done with the correct form but your form starts to fail, rerack the weight. Attempting to lift a weight with incorrect form could lead to you injuring yourself and/or others around you. All it takes is one wrong move and things can go array. Ego lifting is not the way to go. Leave your ego at the door.
While performing exercises, remember to use that valuable tool found in most gyms. That tool is the mirror. Do not only use it for looking at yourself after you get a pump, checking yourself out but use it during the actual exercise. Use the mirror to check your form while working out. Look for imbalances when performing the exercise. The mirror can also make you aware of who is around you to help avoid any accidents such as you and someone bumping into each other for instance.
4. Use a Competent Spotter
Many do not think about this safety tip until they have a scare or unfortunately get hurt. Picking the right person to spot when lifting is important. First, you want to pick someone that knows how to properly spot you on whichever exercise you decide to do. Secondly, make the person is strong enough to spot. With both, it may be a little hard to tell who is knowledgeable and strong if you do not know the person but look around when you get in the gym. If you have been going for a while you will get a feel on who knows what they are doing and have some strength. Another option is to have a trainer spot you, who has the training on how to spot properly.
Now there is one thing I want to cover in relation to using a spotter. Remember the spotter is there to spot you, not lift the weight for you. You do not want to put the spotter in a situation where they have to lift the weight completely off you or put them at risk of getting injured.
Now, when a spotter is not available, depending on the piece of equipment you are using, take advantage of the safety mechanism that may be built-in. On most power racks, there are spotter arms, straps, pipes, or pins to use in which you can adjust the height to where you need it in the case you cannot lift the weight back up or trying to work a certain range of motion only.
5. Use the Appropriate Amount of Weight
My final workout safety tip when lifting weights is to pick an appropriate weight to lift. Going into the gym just grabbing any weight and attempting to lift may not turn out well for you. If you do not know which weight is appropriate, there are several ways to find what weight is. First thing first, is to know your goal which will determine what rep range you will be working with.
Now you have two ways to find the appropriate weight to use from here. You could start with a low weight you know you can lift close to your desired rep range as a warm-up set and go 5 to 10 pounds heavier on the next set as a working set. The second way is to make use of your one-rep max but use an estimated one-rep max to give you a ballpark figure of what your 1 rep max is. In addition, an estimated one-rep max is safer than attempting an actual one-rep max. Once you have that ballpark figure, you can use a training load chart to figure out the amount of weight to use.
Nevertheless, you find yourself unable to get inside the rep range in order to reach your goal, just lower the weight. There is no shame in doing so. Always lift in a manner that will allow you to lift another day. Safety always comes first.
6. Unload and Re-Rack Weights Properly
I have witnessed someone almost being severely injured or dying from someone not unloading weight properly. When unloading plates off a barbell, unload the plates evenly. I recommend alternating a taking plate off each side at a time. Do not take all the plates off one side then do the other. I have seen someone make this mistake and the bar flipped over like a mousetrap hammer about an inch or two from someone’s head. There should be no flying barbells in the gym.
When re-racking weight, know where to re-rack and set it down in a controlled manner. You do not want to make the mistake of re-racking a loaded barbell on the bench press carelessly and missing the j- hooks, dropping all that weight o yourself. Many times, I have seen people miss one hook thinking the bar was re-racked on both.
When it comes to re-racking a dumbbell, make sure it is re-racked within the groove. You do not want a broken foot or toe. That dumbbell can flip back towards you or slide off while you are sitting there thinking you re-racked it. Pay attention to what you are doing.
7. Know How to Bail
If you like to lift alone or cannot find someone to spot, this tip is key. For whichever exercise and/or piece of equipment you are using, know how to bail so that you and others around will not get hurt. Sometimes, in mid-lift, you may just have to give up on a lift for some reason. Reasons could be you felt a slight twinge, misjudged the weight, emergency situation happened, and so forth. If you can bail in a controlled manner, the better. For example, if you are working with dumbbells on a bench surrounded by other benches, just dropping the dumbbells anywhere is not the best idea. It would best to lower the dumbbells to the ground as much as you can then set them down or let them go being aware of what and who is around you.
When it comes to a barbell, you would just drop it and step in the opposite direction if doing an exercise while standing. These types of exercises should be performed on a platfrom. If bench pressing alone, I would not put the clips on the bar, so that if the weight is too heavy to push back up, I could lean the bar to one side letting the plates slide off, then do the other side. With this tip, you really have to be aware of your surroundings.
There you have it, 7 safety tips for lifting weights. Safety should always remain a priority when working out. Hope that you found this article helpful and if need more assistance on our health and fitness journey, pay my health lifestyle resource page a visit for other great companies to assist you more.
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