Gym Safety: Four Simple Ways to Stay Safe and Strong in the Gym

Gym Safety: Four Simple Ways to Stay Safe and Strong in the Gym

Today, I have a guest post from! Gym etiquette is super important, but what’s even more important is gym safety. This guest post highlights just a few ways you can protect yourself in the gym;

When we go into the gym, we usually have some specific goals in mind. Whether it’s to lose weight or to build muscle, or just to feel stronger and ready to take on life’s challenges, we’re there on a mission. While some of us practice good gym safety rules, some of us tend to make a more hardcore approach in an attempt to get results quickly. When I first started training, I fell solidly in this group. I wasn’t worried about gym safety nearly as much as I was getting to my workout and lifting as much weight as possible. In fact, it took a severe shoulder injury to make me realize how important taking a few precautions was.

Training in the gym is very much a physical activity, and it places stress on the body. With any physical activity, there is a certain chance of injury. But by playing smart, we can greatly reduce those chances with some gym safety precautions. Some things we learn through experience, and some things we should know from common sense. I should have known better than train the way I did when I was first starting out. But hopefully, by sharing what I’ve learned with you, I can help you avoid any injuries of your own.

  1. Warm-up before your workout. This may be obvious to you, or it might be something you overlook. I have never enjoyed warming up; I’d rather get right to the heavy lifting. But what I’ve learned over time is that I enjoy soreness and injuries even less. Trust me when I say that a good warm-up is important. And don’t even think about stretching before a workout. Your warm-up routine should consist of moderate physical activity that will pump blood into the muscle group you plan on training. Try some light sets of your main exercise, or try another exercise that’s less challenging. Just don’t take it to failure; take it easy and get ready for the heavy work to come.
  2. Don’t lift too heavy. No, I don’t mean you need to make your workouts easy. I’m just saying you need to keep them manageable. Make sure you control the weight, instead of the weight controlling you. Whether you’re lifting moderate weight for high reps, or heavier for just a few reps, be sure to perform each rep with proper technique. If you can’t get the weight up with good form, then it is too heavy for your rep scheme. Either scale back the reps, or drop off some of the weight.
  3. Use a spotter or proper safety equipment. This rule doesn’t apply to every exercise: spotting someone on curls is just silly, and asking for a spot on deadlifts can get a little weird. But heavy bench sets, squats, or overhead presses definitely warrant a spotter for gym safety. And if you’re lifting heavy enough that you need a spotter, that spotter needs to be competent. You’re trusting this person to have your back if something goes wrong in a potentially dangerous situation. Make sure they know what they’re doing, and make sure you talk to them before you begin the set. Let them know what you want to do, how many reps, when to step in and help, etc.
  4. Use supplementary exercises. While failing to follow this gym safety rule won’t cause an injury right away, it can lead to some serious problems over time. Focusing on just one or two lifts, or even just the Big Three, can cause imbalances in your muscles. Imbalances in your physique not only look bad, they’ll also cause problems in your posture, and leave your joints and weaker muscle groups vulnerable during a big lift. While the major lifts should be at the core of your weightlifting program, smaller exercises are important as well. By focusing on a balanced approach that works the support muscles as well as the major muscle groups, you’ll see better development overall and also stay safe and strong in the gym.

These are just four simple rules for gym safety. If there is any piece of equipment you are unfamiliar with in the gym, ask someone to show you how to use it safely. Consider getting a personal trainer if you still feel uncomfortable. Sometimes being in a hurry and forgetting gym safety can actually set us back further in the long run.

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