Weight Lifting Tips to Avoid Injury

An injury is the last thing you want when working out with weights to get stronger and leaner. Follow these smart strategies so you don’t get injured from lifting weights.

Contact Dr. Benjamin Szerliip in Cedar Park, Texas today for help with any sports-related injuries you have sustained! We look forward to returning you to the game as soon as possible. 

How to Avoid Getting Hurt When Working Out

You lift weights to get stronger and leaner. The wrong approach, however, can do the opposite, and you end up with an injury that takes you out of the gym for several weeks instead. To prevent a painful injury, remember these strategies when picking up a barbell to stay healthy and get stronger.

Use Good Form

It should go without saying that you should use proper form when lifting weights. But it’s tempting to read an article or watch someone else doing an exercise, and then try it yourself without understanding the proper movement patterns. 

You’re better off mastering the basics, such as squats, presses, and rows, before getting creative. If you’re unsure how to begin weight training, invest in a few sessions with a personal trainer who can instruct you on your form.

Increase Weight Gradually

You’re lifting weights to see gains, so it’s tempting to increase your weight load to advance more quickly. But trying to heave too much weight is a surefire way to create an injury. Add just 10-20% every week or two, and make sure you can do 12 reps of an exercise with good form before piling more weight on.

Always Warm Up

Heading straight for heavy weights without first preparing your body is a bad idea. A warm-up takes 5-10 minutes and prepares your body for the work ahead. It raises your core body temperature, increases your metabolic rate, and gives you better control over your muscles by speeding neural pathways.

Do two to five minutes of light cardio for your warm-up, such as marching in place or riding an exercise bike. Then, wake up some of the joints you’ll use during your weight lifting routine, but without any weight. Bodyweight squats, shoulder circles, walking lunges, and jumping jacks for three to five minutes should suffice.

Schedule Time to Rest

Weight training tears down muscle fibers so they can grow stronger and thicker. But this growth happens when you rest. You should always take off for 48-72 hours between heavy lifting sessions to facilitate growth. 

If you want to train on consecutive days, work on different body parts. For example, lift for your chest and back on Monday and for your legs and abs on Tuesday. Take one full day off per week, too, to allow your body time to recuperate.

Stretch Regularly

Long-held stretches before your warm-up aren’t really necessary, but having a flexibility routine that you do after your workout is vital to a healthy body. Stretches relax and elongate your muscles after they’re warm. 

Stretching helps improve circulation and range of motion, which enhances your lifting technique and muscle health. Stretches performed after your workout also help move waste material out of the muscles, so you feel less sore the next day.

Get Help for Your Injuries

Unfortunately, many people come into our office in Cedar Park, TX having injured themselves during a workout. Following the advice above makes you less likely to be one of them. Be sure to contact Dr. Benjamin Szerlip if you have sustained a sports injury to get the help you need!

Medically reviewed by Benjamin W. Szerlip DO