What are safety tips for weight lifting?

The following tips will improve your safety when lifting weights:
  • Begin with optimal mobility and stability in your body before adding additional weight.
  • Consider getting an assessment to determine if you have any existing muscle imbalance that might be made worse by adding additional weight.
  • Regardless of your goal, start with lighter weights and more repetitions (15-20) with a focus on proper technique for several weeks to build a foundation.
  • If you're new to weight lifting get some instruction from a certified personal trainer who can help you learn proper technique right from the beginning. 
  • Always use a spotter when you're lifting overhead with free weights.
  • Generally it's best to work from large to small muscles during your workout. 
  • Avoid holding your breath as you lift weights. If possible, exhale on the greatest exertion during the lifting phase. 
  • Move in a slow and controlled manner and be sure you have adequate space around you. 
  • Don't assume exercises that someone else is doing are appropriate for you. Ask for professional recommendations. 
  • Wait at least 48 hours between lifting sessions involving the same muscle groups to allow adequate recovery. 
The tips above apply to using machine weights, free weights, cables or kettle bells. To begin a weight lifting routine, it is often recommended to begin with machine weights, which are more stable, before progressing to use of free weights, which require greater stabilization and balance. Weight lifting can safely benefit all ages and stages of life.
Here are some safety tips for weight lifting:
  • Inspect the weight to make sure it is secure on both sides before beginning your lift.
  • Make sure that during your lift no one is around you who could be injured.
  • Have a spotter whenever you are performing a bench press, squat, or other lift, even if the weight is relatively light, to make sure that you do not injure yourself.
(This answer provided for NATA by the Washington State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.