Safety in the Weight Room

Hello everyone!! Happy Wednesday :D. If you haven’t yet, make sure you enter my Lush Nuts giveaway!

So, I’m an idiot and I had a small accident in the gym yesterday.

I dropped a 25-lb weight on my ankle…and it hurt really bad. Actually it still does hurt, but thankfully I can tell it is just bruised and that nothing serious happened.

So, here’s what happened. I went to put the weight back on the rack and the rung I was going to put it on was almost full but it had enough room for one more weight. Well, I guess I didn’t push it all the way back and all of a sudden the weight fell and I felt some sudden and intense pain in my ankle.

Yea, it wasn’t fun at all. It stopped hurting after a few minutes, but as the day went on it got a little more swollen, tender, and painful whenever I moved my ankle. I tried taking a picture, but you can’t really see what it looks like…for some reason it looked more bruised earlier yesterday than it did last night.

It doesn’t look like much, but trust me, it’s tender! I can’t believe how careless I was with the weight, but I’m so thankful that it was on one of the lower rungs so it didn’t fall very far.

This “incident” just reminded how important it is to be safe in the weight room and when you’re working out in general!

Weight Room Safety Tips

Most of this is common sense…but apparently we can all use a little reminder every now and then :).

1. When you’re using a bar or machine where you add weight to it, make sure that the weight plates are secured! You wouldn’t want the weight to fall off and then potentially injure yourself or another person nearby.

2. Practice good form. If you’re lifting weights with bad form you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Plus, good form means that your muscles will actually be doing all of the work and you’ll see results! If you don’t know how to perform a certain exercise either ask someone (a trainer could help!) or don’t do it- you don’t want to do it the wrong way and potentially cause harm.

3. Know when you’ll need a spotter and use one!

4. Make sure you are in control of the weight. You don’t want to pick such a heavy weight that it ends up controlling you!

5. Use your legs and not your back when you’re picking up weights.

6. If you’re using a machine, make sure the pins used to select the weight amount is pushed in all the way.

7. If you’re using a squat cage or smith machine, make sure the safety stops are adjusted to just below your range of motion so that it will catch the weight should something go wrong.

8. Put weights away when you are finished with them so that they are not left out where someone could trip over them. And for the other way around, keep your eye out for weights and equipment that other people have left lying around.

9. Recognize the difference between actual pain and the burning sensation that occurs with muscle fatigue. You should not continue to lift if you are in real pain.

10. And apparently, make sure that weights are completely on the rack when you re-stack them ;).

Also, these are a few weight exercises that you should be cautious doing:

Hip Ab/Adduction Machines: These are really not that good for your hip joints and can place pressure on your spine. I have a friend who knows someone that severely injured her pelvis while using the hip adductor machine.

Seated Leg Extension Machine: This machine is not good for your knees. It places a lot of stress on the knee joints because of the placement of the resistance. Squats are actually better for you!

Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull Downs: I cringe whenever I see people doing this because it is so easy to do incorrectly and can increase your risk for shoulder impingement syndrome! It’s best to do it in front of your head, and still works your back just as well!


Anyway, I’m sure most of you know those safety tips, but it can be easy to get caught up in the moment of a good workout and forget something so simple. Preventing and avoiding injury is incredibly important!

Hope you all have an awesome day :).



Have you ever hurt yourself while in the weight room? How?

Are there any other exercises that you think could potentially cause harm?



About In Sweetness and In Health

I'm Lindsay! I'm a 23 year-old graduate student in occupational therapy. I love all things health and fitness related and this blog will document my life as I learn to really love myself, try to stop worrying so much about my body, and truly take advantage of all the sweet things that life offers us.

Posted on October 19, 2011, in Health, Life, Lifting. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. OUCH! those hurt! i’ve done that. not the ankle, but the slam your finger between weights several times. Good tips Linds. Oh and spotters are needed for sure!

  2. Ouchies! 25 lbs is a lot. Oh, and I hate hate hate it when people don’t re-rack their weights. I don’t need to move 2 or 4 your 45-lb plates off the bench every time, Mr Muscle!!!

  3. Girlfriend! I hope you feel better! I’m SO glad you posted this because nothing pisses me off more than people throwing around weights dangerously and not re-racking, etc. Not only is it obnoxious, but it’s dangerous too.

    • Thank you! Yes, it’s so annoying and it pisses me off too. I worked at the rec for a bit in undergrad and it was always so obnoxious having to pick up all the weights at the end of our shift haha

  4. These are great tips and reminders! When I used to work at the gym, I would see people making these mistakes all.the.time! I would just cringe and hope they would be okay. I really wanted to go up to them and correct them, but I think a lot of people would’ve been annoyed by me if I did that. I hope your ankle feels better! I can’t imagine how painful that would be!

  5. Yyyouch that must have hurt Lindsay! I hope you feel better asap

    This is a great post to remind us of the importance of staying safe! I chosen not to put those guard things on a barbell to keep the weights on and you know what happens? They slip off… duh! Safety is essential to keep in mind

  6. I have never hurt myself at the gym, but I have seen women (and I’ve done it myself) who use weights that are too heavy for them. I was doing pendulum lunges (lunge forward, then backwards) and had 10lbs weights in my hands. This was too much and I knew that I was not using correct form. At least I knew enough to reduce the hand weights so I could focus on my form; I’ve seen women who didn’t and their form was way off. Maybe their injury didn’t surface that day, but form is VERY important!

  7. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    I’m sorry about your ankle 😦 That is no bueno and I hope it gets better soon!

    Also, thanks for the “bad exercise” list! I used to use the abduction machine a lot, until a personal trainer came up to me and told me how bad it truly was. Needless to say, I switched over to doing my own inner leg raises on the floor with free weights 😀

  8. Oh my gosh I hope you’re ok!!

    One time, I got my finger caught in between two metal bars on a pull up machine thingy and boy did it hurt! Talk about a bruised finger nail! Mine was seriously black for months!

  9. Nice reminder! It’s important to keep in mind that in the weight room there are more ways to injure yourself than by performing exercises the wrong way. That equipment’s heavy (duh)! I think the worst I’ve gotten is pinched fingers between weight plates.

  10. OUCH! I hope you feel better soon!

  11. Owww!! Sorry that happened, feel better!! That is something I would do. Great tips!! 😀

  12. Aww hope you’re feeling better. Thanks for the tips!

  13. Oh, I hope your ankle feels better!

    I just dropped a weight on my finger while cleaning up at work…the “F” word definitely slipped out hah!

  14. Ow!! I’m sorry you got hurt! 😦 I’ve never gotten seriously hurt in the weight room, but I’m a total klutz, so I know I’ve had a few stubbed toes and other things in my time! 😉

  15. ouch!! I have definitely dropped weights on my toes before. SO not fun! these are great tips!!

    and I’m glad to hear that the seated leg extension is a no no. I HATE that machine haha

  16. Hope you’re okay! I am working at an urgent care right now, and we get a few weight room-related injuries a few times each week (dropping weights, incorrect form, etc.). It definitely happens a lot!!

  17. Oh, I’ve had that happen way too many times! And one time, I pinched my fingers between two plates and it made a huge blood blister. Not fun!

  18. Ohhhh my gosh. That is always a fear of mine! Every time I put a weight back on the pole I picture it falling off and landing on my foot. Oh man. So glad it is just bruised and you will be a-okay! Yikes, weights are dangerous. Safety first! 🙂

  19. Hope your leg feels better!

    These are great tips. I started using weight machines when I went away to college (5 yrs. ago), and I think that bad form and starting out with too much weight has caused a lot of joint problems for me. I do my best to practice good form now, and stop when I feel pain!

  20. Oh gosh that sounds so painful, I hope your ankle is feeling a bit better now!

    I don’t use the weights room at the gym (the guys are too intimidating!) but I have a set of dumbbells at home and I’ve dropped one on my foot multiple times!

    Great tips though, safety is important after all 🙂

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