PUMPING IRON - How to lift without injury

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. David Henry
  • Weapons Expeditor
Wear appropriate footwear and clothing. It's a popular trend to wear toe socks, but that's a good way to get your toes broken. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes and shoes that cover your toes.

Do a proper warm-up. It's easy to injure cold muscles, so you need a good 10-minute warm up before getting started. But be sure to warm up the muscles you are going to be using. If you only warm up your upper body, but then go do squats, your leg muscles are still going to be cold and vulnerable to injury.

Use weight collars. These safety devices are attached to each end of the bar to keep the weights from slipping off and catapulting the bar.

Use the buddy system. Spotters are a necessity on free weights to ensure you don't get the weight stuck on your neck or chest. But choose your spotter well. If you are 250 pounds and bench-pressing 300, it's probably not wise to have a spotter who weighs only 98 pounds because they aren't likely able to pull the weight off of you if necessary. It's safer to train with someone who's roughly the same weight class and strength as you.

Know your limits. Many people try training to their ego rather than their body. They try to show off and lift more than they are capable of, which is a sure way to end up either hurt or embarrassed when you're having to have people pull weights off of you.

Stay focused. There are plenty of distractions at the gym. But when you're working with heavy metal weights, you have to stay focused or you may end up in the emergency room.