It was just this week that Stafon Johnson, former running back for the University of Southern California and NFL free agent, sued his former alma mater for injuries stemming from a weight room accident in 2009. And while the suit and decision remain to be seen, it brings up a great opportunity to highlight the potential dangers of the everyday weight room.
Whether the casual gym rat or a school-sponsored or professional athlete, the weight room can do wonders for your physique, but can also cause undue harm if used carelessly or haphazardly. So if you’re beginning a weight-training regime, we recommend playing it safe. For instance, find a trainer or instructor if you’re new to the gym. A trainer will teach you proper form and give you definite guidelines regarding weight limits to maximize your results and prevent injury.
Additionally, you should make sure you’re ready to begin lifting weights. If you’re younger than 15 or have any physical conditions or injuries, talk to a doctor regarding your workout regime. Weightlifting before you’re ready can be both counterproductive and dangerous. If you are ready, prepare for your workout by warming up. Warming up your muscles prepares them for strenuous activity and keeps them pliable – thus preventing injury. It’s also important to cool down after a workout.
And if you’ve ensured that you are properly prepared, you’ll want to do the same with your equipment. Check your benches, bars, weights and machines for damage or instability. The equipment is there to build you up, not cause injury.