7 Tips For Avoiding Injuries When Weightlifting

Health and safety is no one’s favourite topic, but it is essential if you want to avoid injuries. All exercises carry a risk of harm, which can be greatly reduced by following some basic rules and paying attention to your form. In this post, we are going to consider 7 steps that you can take to minimise your risk of injury while lifting weights.

Warm-up and stretch

two people stretching their arms

If you are going into a cardio session, warming up is a prerequisite to getting your body to perform because otherwise, you will seize up. However, with weightlifting, some people saunter up to the weights and begin their set without preparing their bodies. This heightens the risk of pulling a muscle. Taking a few minutes to stretch before your set will loosen out the muscles and enable you to perform moves more easily.

Heavyweights

When building bulk muscle, you might mistakenly believe that training with the heaviest weight you can manage will maximise your results. However, this is not true. In addition to risking muscle injury, you could drop the weight on your foot or hurt yourself while trying to regain control over the weight.

Signs of overloading your weights include being unable to control the weight throughout the rep, any uncontrolled movement of your body, and heaving while lifting.

Choosing weights

While you want to keep yourself protected from the dangers in the previous point, you also want to challenge your muscles to ensure that they grow and become stronger. A good rule of thumb when first choosing weights is to start at the lower end and see how many reps you can comfortably perform. Note, ‘comfortably’ here means while maintaining proper form.

We recommend judging this on your ability to perform three sets of ten reps. Some people recommend moving up if you can perform one set of ten; however, by adding the extra sets you ensure that your non-bulk endurance muscle is attended to. Holistically training your muscles will give you a better result because it helps to maintain flexibility.

You can use the same rule to judge whether to move up to the next weight. This should be done incrementally, usually by adding 5kg (depending on the weight and exercise you are performing).

Spotters

One of the most dangerous situations to lose control of weight is while performing a barbell bench press because the bar can land on your neck and cause suffocation. This is why you should always train with a spotter. If you train in a public gym, you could offer to spot someone and ask that they do the same for you or, if you train at home, you could ask your partner/housemate or invite a friend over to train. It is important that the spotter be strong enough to lift the barbell though, so bear this in mind before enlisting their help. If you do not have a suitable spotter, substitute the barbell for two dumbbells.

Form

Avoiding Injuries When Weightlifting - Forms

Lack of attention to form is one of the primary causes of injuries in weightlifting. Form matters because different muscles contained in one area are not able to handle the same load – you have major muscle groups and smaller groups that have their own key role in enabling lifting and movement. If weight is suddenly shifted onto a muscle that is not capable of bearing it then you are going to do some, potentially serious, damage.

The only way to ensure you maintain correct form throughout a rep is to learn exactly what is good form and to apply it to your workout. This requires you to pay attention throughout each move and not to rush through your reps. Remember, 10 steady and controlled reps with proper form will always be more beneficial than 20 reps with poor form.

Overextension

Each joint has a range of motion that it can comfortably navigate. Overextension or hyperextension happens when you go outside of this range and force your joint into an unnatural position. This can occur when weight training if you do not maintain good form, especially if you are lifting beyond your capacity. The worst cases of overextension can cause ligament damage, which is incredibly painful and sometimes requires surgery to resolve.

Overtraining

overtraining can lead injury

Overtraining is easy to spot in someone else and difficult to recognise in yourself. If your muscles are tired and achy, if you feel generally run down, if you have rolled back in your lifting ability or hit a prolonged plateau, then it is likely that you are pushing your body too hard. It does not matter if you are ‘only’ training twice a week or if your friend trains harder than you, your body needs more rest. Ignoring these signs will only lead to more muscle damage and slowed progress.

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