Trust me when I say that weight lifting injuries should be avoided at all costs. Suffering from such an injury will prevent you from training at your best, might keep you out of training altogether for a period of time, or worse. Plus, it could be a serious injury if it's related to your back, spine, nervous system, etc.
In years gone by I know firsthand how not dealing with injuries smart enough and not having the proper knowledge and understanding can mean a ton of ton of potential pain, lost gains, posture issues, muscular imbalances, or maybe even a permanent injury or one that you'll never fully recover from. In this article we'll look at some tips to help reduce your chance of experiencing weight lifting injuries during your quest for your ultimate physique.
A proper warmup is the single best thing you can do to minimize your risk of injury. This simple 15-20 minute process will prepare your mind and body for the hard work to come by increasing blood flow into the surrounding connective tissue and by lubricating your joints.
I would recommend that you perform 5 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise before each workout followed by 2-3 warmup sets for your first major exercise of the routine.
Do not underestimate the importance of a proper warmup before going in hard with heavy weights. It will greatly reduce your chance of injury such as pulling a muscle.
Your warm-up should consist of two parts. Firstly, a short 5 minute cardiovascular exercise such as the stationary bike or jogging. Then 2-3 warmup sets of the first major exercise in your routine, with a light weight. For example, on leg training days you perform Squats first, so you would do 2-3 warmup sets of Squats.
Check out our article Weightlifting Warm Up The Right Way for more detail on performing your warm up routine.
This is another very important safety precaution that should be common sense to all bodybuilders. You should perform all your weight lifting exercises with proper technique to reduce the stress put onto your connective joints.
An especially important thing to keep in mind is how you perform your back exercises, such as deadlifts and barbell rows. You need to keep your back straight, not rounded. Rounding your back on these types of exercises can stuff your back up real bad. Using momentum and doing forced reps should also be avoided as much as possible. Doing a forced rep here and there is understandable, but you should do it in a controlled manner.
Ideally you'll want professional, detailed instructional videos to performing all exercises correctly (the complete muscle-building programs here all include this).
Don't let your ego make your decisions in the gym. If you see a guy next to you lifting a heavier weight than you, don't assume you should be lifting that amount of weight too. Showing off to the people around you in the gym can lead to weight lifting injuries, fast. So don't worry about what people think and just go on with your business.
Everyone's different, and you need to lift a weight that you can perform with good form and technique. Focus on your routine and don't get distracted by what others are doing.
Another thing to keep in mind is knowing when to quit. Sure, you need to give 100% of your strength and energy to lift those weights if you want the best muscle gains possible, but you also need to be reasonable.
If you can't perform another rep of a certain exercise with good form, then don't try to do anymore. Your work is done. Like I said before, trying to jerk the weight up using other parts of your body will only lead to injury in the long run.
By this I mean that you need to listen to your aches and pains. Pain is a normal consequence of heavy weight training and is inevitable, but if you keep experiencing the same pains over and over again, there might be something wrong.
Seek professional advice and treat the injury immediately if you have one. Don't continue training with it. It might hinder your gains in the short term, but its better for the long run.
Another important part of reducing risk of injury in the gym is doing weight training stretches. Stretching before and after workouts is a great habit to get into.