Safe Weight Training

Safe Weight Training

General Guidelines

• When beginning a program or trying new exercises or equipment, ask a qualified trainer or instructor to show you how to do exercises safely and correctly.

• Lift weights from a stabilized body position; keep weights as close to your body as possible.

• Protect your back by maintaining control of your spine and avoiding dangerous positions. Don’t twist your body while lifting.

• Observe proper lifting techniques and good form at all times. Don’t lift beyond the limits of your strength.

• Don’t hold your breath while doing weight training exercises. Doing so causes a decrease in blood returning to the heart and can make you dizzy and faint. It can also increase blood pressure to dangerous levels. Exhale when exerting the greatest force, and inhale when moving the weight into position for the active phase of the lift. Breathe smoothly and steadily.

• Don’t use defective equipment. Be aware of broken collars or bolts, frayed cables, broken chains, or loose cushions.

• Don’t exercise if you’re ill, injured, or overtrained. Do not try to work through the pain.

Safe Weight Training Photo Gallery


• Use spotters for free-weight exercises in which the bar crosses the face or head (e.g., the bench press), is placed on the back (e.g., squats), or is racked in front of the chest (e.g., overhead press from the rack holding the weight).

• If one spotter is used, the spotter should stand behind the lifter; if two spotters are used, one spotter should stand at each end of the barbell.

• For squats with heavy resistance, use at least three spotters one behind the lifter (hands near lifter’s hips, waist, or torso) and one at each end of the bar. Squatting in a power rack will increase safety during this exercise. A power rack consists of four vertical posts with two movable horizontal bar catchers on each side.

• Spot dumbbell exercises at the forearms, as close to the weights as possible.

• For over-the-face and over-the-head lifts, the spotter should hold the bar with an alternate grip (one palm up and one palm down) inside the lifter’s grip.

• Spotter and lifter should ensure good communication by agreeing on verbal signals before the exercise.

Free Weights

• Make sure the bar is loaded evenly on both sides and weights are secured with collars or spring clips.

• When you pick a weight up from the ground, keep your back straight and your head level. Don’t bend at the waist with straight legs.

• Lift weights smoothly; don’t jerk them. Control the weight through the entire range of motion.

• Do most of your lifting with your legs. Keep your hips and buttocks back. When doing standing lifts, maintain a good posture so that you protect your back. Bend at the hips, not with the spine. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, heels and balls of the feet in contact with the floor, and knees slightly bent.

• Don’t bounce weights against your body during an exercise.

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