Some people know exactly when it happened. They may have heard a pop in their shoulder, or felt like someone slapped them hard across the back of their leg. For others, it wasn’t a sudden snap that side-lined their workouts; it was just gradual overuse that caused joints or muscles to wear down.
If you’ve injured yourself during a weight lifting workout, you’ll never want that to happen again – even if it means giving up on your routine. But fear not – regardless of your experience or ability in the gym, there are tried and true methods for avoiding a weight lifting injury well into your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond.
Whether you lift weights for general fitness, to train for sports, or for competition, safety comes first. Lifting weights the wrong way can cause serious injury or even death. Follow these basic guidelines to lift weights more safely.
What Causes Weight Lifting Injuries
There are two types of common weight lifting injuries.
Overuse/Aging – Years of intense workouts take their toll on the body. Cartilage wears down and muscles, tendons and ligaments can become less limber. Dehydration and overtraining also play a role in overuse injuries. All of these can be a recipe for disaster unless you know how to work around them.
Traumatic – These injuries are most often accompanied by immediate pain or a “popping” sound that signals something is seriously wrong. Traumatic injuries can land you in the emergency room, rehab, or worse.
How to Avoid a Weight Lifting Injury
- Use proper form
Using proper form is critical if you want to prevent an injury. All of the experts we spoke with agree that using poor form is the quickest way to end up hurt. So how do you know if you’re using the right form?
“Before using heavy weight, make sure you have good technique. Ask someone to watch you perform an exercise or even record it with a cell phone to see if you have good form. Ask for help and get coaching from a qualified fitness professional if you’re unsure of how to perform an exercise.”
“Those mirrors in the gym are not there just for vanity – they’re actually there to make sure your knees are not over your ankles when doing squats, or that your hands aren’t too wide during those wide-grip bench presses.”
- Do smart exercises
If you’re worried about injuries, the best exercises to use are those that are functional and strengthen your core; push ups, lunges, and balance work are all great. Dr.Wright says that weight training doesn’t look quite like it once did:
“There’s a trend to get away from machines and really focus on functional training in 3 planes of motion. In order to get really strong, agile and powerful you need to use balance and gravity, and you can’t do that in a machine. Also, guys should not be afraid to try things they don’t think are manly – Pilates, yoga, and spin class are all great for building functional strength and endurance.”
- Avoid dangerous exercises
“Most guys who have a busy life outside the gym revert back to what they knew in high school – which is what your football coach taught you, who didn’t really know much about weight training to begin with. Want another exercise that can land you in rehab? Plyometric can lead to muscle strains, tears and worse if done without warming up properly. This brings us to our next point…
- Warm up properly
This means raising your body’s core temperature through some light cardio for at least five minutes, and ideally incorporating some very-low resistance dynamic exercises that will prep your body for upcoming stress.
“Warm up properly by performing self-myofascial release and stretching for tight areas. Common muscles that would benefit would be calf complex, hip flexors, lats and pectorals. These areas become tight from wearing shoes and sitting all day.”
- Use the right weight
Don’t be the guy in the gym who lifts twice as much as he should, grunts so everyone hears it, and has awful form. Before long he’ll be on the side-lines, while you’re working to improve your game.
- Get a spotter when lifting with free weights
This is one of the simplest ways to avoid an injury but can also be the most important for certain exercises.
Stretch after your workout. Stretch during your workout. Stretch before you begin weight lifting, after you’re already warmed up. Muscles lose their elasticity with age, especially for guys in their late 30’s and 40’s, so stretching can help fight off any injuries caused from tight, shortened muscles.
“You absolutely need to stretch. I recommend stretching before, taking a break during your workout to stretch, and then stretching again after. That significantly decreases the incidences of injury while the activity is going on, and it also significantly decreases the likelihood of an injury after.
- Don’t be a weekend warrior
Having a busy schedule during the week doesn’t mean you should pack all of your physical activity into the weekend.
“If you sit at a desk all week and you let your butt go soft or your hip flexors weaken, you will not perform on the weekend like you remembered performing before. That’s when guys jump up and land on their Achilles and it pops, or they pull their hamstring. You just can’t get the benefit of a consistent investment in your body with 36 hours on the weekend.”
- Take care of your body outside the gym
This means getting enough rest and staying hydrated, eating well, and having proper posture. It should come as no surprise that a guy who takes care of his health will be less prone to all sorts of ailments, including injuries while hitting the weights.
Some Precautionary Equipment to Avoid Weight Lifting Injury
FEATURES OF COTTON WEIGHT LIFTING GYM WRIST STRAP:
Design: The RingMaster Sports Wrist Strap is designed to provide maximum grip and optimum protection to wrists from possible injuries while lifting weights.
Neoprene: Neoprene in the centre to provide cushioning the wrist under heavy pressure and protect the skin from any scratch.
Length: the weightlifting wrist wrap is approx. 23.5CM in length and made of durable material with wrist lock-in loop.
Support: It provides maximum support to the gym trainers and professionals.
FEATURES OF WEIGHT LIFTING WRIST WRAP GYM WRIST STRAP:
Design: The RingMaster Sports Wrist Wrap is designed to provide maximum support and optimum protection to wrists from possible injuries while lifting weights. There are Heavy Duty Wrist Wraps.
Durable Material: The Weight lifting wrist wrap is approx.12” in length and made of a stretchy durable material with a thumb loop and strong Velcro to keep it intact. Adjust Velcro closure according to your required support.
Support: Provide maximum wrist support during heavy lifting.
FEATURES OF GENUINE LEATHER POWER WEIGHT LIFTING GYM BELT:
Design: The RingMaster Sports 4” Power Weight Lifting Belt is designed to provide optimum protection during the gym heavy workout.
Double stitch: This belt is double stitched and with heavy duty rivets.
Maximum Support: It provides maximum support for anyone doing heavy deadlifts, squats and gym training.
Maintains position: The best feature of the belt is that it moulds around your waist and maintains the correct position, provides support that reduces any possibility for injury.
Ideal: This belt is also for athletes, wrestlers or anyone who worksout at the gym.
POWER SERIES: The RingMaster Sports POWR series Knee support wraps are designed to offer optimum compression and maximum knee support.
ELASTICATED COTTON MATERIAL offers high comfy compression to enhance the performance and prevent injuries by reducing stress on quadriceps tendons.
SUPERIOR SUPPORT & FLEXIBLE FIT: Superior support & flexible fit: 78” extended length allows for overlap and various wrap styles & 3” wide competition grade elastic provides optimum support.
MULTIPERPOSE: Ideal for Squats, Bodybuilding, Weightlifting, Powerlifting and strength training exercises. It ensures compression, heat retention and blood flow.
OUTSTANDING GRIP eliminates the need for pre-workout chalking.
TECHNICAL FEATURES OF WEIGHT LIFTING TRAINING DIPPING BELT WITH CHAIN:
The RIngMaster Sports Dipping belt will help you boost your strength and resistance.
Perfect bodybuilding belt: The perfect bodybuilding belt for closed kinetic chain exercises that work opposing muscle groups in the upper body.
Tough: This unique belt with chain is built to be as tough as steel and will support your back whilst eliminating load swing to keep your workout safe.
Nylon outer: The nylon outer combined with tough webbing makes it practically indestructible, the steel chain hardware and speed clip are super secure, and the contoured design will follow the shape of your lower back for enhanced performance and optimum levels of comfort when dipping.
TECHNICAL FEATURES OF WEIGHTLIFTING HEAD HARNESS ONE SIZE:
The RingMaster Sports head harness neck training equipment is designed to increase the strength and muscle definition in the neck area.
Neck musculature: Sufficient neck musculature not only supports the spine and improves posture, but it’s also an important target zone for bodybuilding.
Triple layer padding: Boost your workouts using our head harness with chain and benefit from the triple layer padding for amazing shock resistance, soft polyester lining for comfort, high grade steel chains for indestructibility, and the adjustable strap for the perfect fit.
Durable: This neck harness will withstand all the burdens of weight lifting and bodybuilder training.