Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Lifting weights, whether you do it
for fun, training for sports or for competition, can cause serious injury or
even death. You can lift weights more safely by following these basic
Find a teacher
Find a teacher who can help you
learn how to do the exercises correctly. Good technique is one of the most
important ways to avoid injury. Some high-school coaches or athletic trainers
can help you. If a college is located in your town, the weight coach for the
varsity athletic teams may be able to give you advice or recommend another
teacher. Advice from people who have never learned good technique themselves,
such as parents, friends, coaches or other weight lifters, may not be correct.
Books can help, but nothing beats personal
With your teacher’s help,
decide on the goals of your weight-training program. The goals of your training
program will depend on your age, physical maturity and the reason you are
lifting weights. You need to consider which exercises you will use, how often
you will do each exercise, what weight you will start with and when you will
increase this weight.
Wait until your
body has matured enough before you try the major lifts. The major lifts,
performed with barbells, include the clean and jerk, the power clean, the
snatch, the squat, the dead lift, and the bench, incline and overhead presses.
These exercises are likely to cause injury if you lift heavy weights without
proper technique and the help of spotters. The average age when the body is
mature enough for these exercises is 15 years, but this age varies among
Warm up and cool down for
each session. Warm-up before the weightlifting session should include stretching
exercises, calisthenics and jogging. When you begin each lifting exercise, use
small amounts of weight at first and then progress to heavier weights. During
your cooldown after the session, stretching is again
Warm up; cool
- Do use spotters when you try the major
- Do keep your back straight when
- Do use proper lifting technique when moving
weights around the room.
- Do wear shoes with good traction.
- Do make sure the equipment you use is in good
- Don’t hyperventilate (breathe in and out
fast) or hold your breath when you lift heavy weights. You may faint and lose
control of the weights. Breathe out when you lift.
- Don’t continue lifting if you feel pain.
Stop the painful exercise for a few days or try it with less weight.
- Don’t exercise any set of muscles more than
three times a week.
- Don’t “cheat” on your technique
in order to lift heavy weights.
- Don’t lift heavy weights without
- Don’t lift more than you know you can lift