Weight Lifting Safety Tips

By Laura Richter , last updated December 29, 2011

Whether you use dumbbells or machines, it is vital to know weight lifting safety tips. Strength training helps you burn more calories throughout the day; however, simple mistakes can cause muscles strain. Through warming up, maintaining proper form, and breath control, you can prevent injury. Beginners and experienced lifters should not overdo it. Using a spotter or partner can make your workout safer and more fun.

Know Proper Position

Keeping your body in proper position while you train is vital. Before starting a new routine, research how to perform the move. If you are using machines, there may be diagrams available to guide you. Adjust the chair and other platforms on the machine as necessary. Ask a trainer if you are unsure of proper form. When lifting the weight, be conscious of your posture. For instance, shoulders have a tendency to rise during arm lifts and dumbbell kickbacks. You may feel tempted to let your wrists go limp while on a chest press machine. Improper positions will rob you of the full benefit of lifting weights. You may also strain muscles and create permanent injuries. You should always be in control of your body and weight distribution as you perform each move.

Use a Spotter or Partner

When using free weights, it is helpful to work out with a spotter or partner. This person can ensure that you are maintaining proper posture while lifting weights. The spotter could be a fitness specialist, trainer, or fellow weightlifter. He should know how to perform the movement correctly. Your partner may offer hands-on assistance. For example, he may put his hand on your lower back for support. He could also help you in the event you lose balance or need assistance. People often find that working out with a partner makes their routines more fulfilling. Partners can spot and motivate each other throughout the session.

Lift an Appropriate Amount of Weight

Beginners and experienced strength trainers sometimes make the mistake of using too much weight too soon. Lifting an appropriate amount of weight for your body is essential to preventing injury. People who push limits find that it is difficult to maintain proper position. They may strain and pull muscles. Beginners who overdo it will quickly become disenchanted with strength training.

The standard weight-lifting routine calls for two cycles of 12 to 15 repetitions. If you are unable to complete at least one cycle, then the weight is too heavy for you. Decrease the weight until you are able to complete at least 12 repetitions. If the weight is too easy for you, increase the weight in small increments until it is a challenge.

Warm-Ups

Before each weight-lifting session, do some stretches and cardio warm-ups. Some people opt to warm-up by walking on a treadmill for five to 10 minutes. You can also bike, jump rope, or use a rowing machine. Follow your cardio session with some stretches, which will help increase your circulation and prepare your muscles for a workout. Injury is less likely if you are physically and mentally ready for lifting weights.

Breathing

Holding your breath is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when working out. It is a natural tendency to stop breathing when you are exerting yourself, yet improper breath control can cause you to become light-headed and weak. Keep your mind on your breath as you perform each movement. Some people may breathe in as they lift upward and exhale as the weight descends. If you become light-headed, stop your workout and talk to a fitness specialist.

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