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 sidelined 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.
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.
There are many ways you can injure yourself during weight training; luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid getting hurt at all. We spoke with experts ranging from orthopedic surgeons to personal trainers and compiled a list of tips, guaranteed to help you stay in great shape and out of the doctor’s office.
How to Avoid a Weight Lifting Injury
1. 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? According to Mike Fantigrassi, National Academy of Sports Medicine Student Success Manager, a personal trainer can teach you proper technique. Or, if you’ve been hitting the weights for years, ask a friend to use video or photos to catch any flaws in your movement:
“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