Even the minor injuries suffered while working out can cause major problems. I've come up with a list of 5 things to do to try to avoid injuries in the gym.
1) Always perform a thorough warmup.
A proper warmup is the single best thing you can do to minimize your risk of injury. This simple 15-20 minute process will prepare your mind and body for the hard work to come by increasing blood flow into the surrounding connective tissue and by lubricating your joints. I would recommend that you perform 5 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise before each workout followed by 4-5 warmup sets for your first major exercise of the routine.
2) Always train with proper form.
This should go without saying. Every exercise that you perform in the gym should be done with proper form and technique in order to keep the stress off of your joints. If you start squatting or deadlifting with a rounded back, jerking the weights around in a ballistic manner or performing dangerous exercises you are almost guaranteed to hurt yourself at some point.
3) Always train within your own personal limits.
Weightlifting is a personal battle, and letting your ego take over is almost always a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter what the guy next to you is benching and it is completely irrelevant to your training program. You must always use weights that you can handle and control with proper form, and if you start piling on the plates to impress the people around you, you’ll be stretching your limits and putting yourself in a very vulnerable position.
4) Always know when to quit.
If you cannot complete another rep of an exercise using proper form, the set is over, plain and simple. Put the weight down and rest up for your next set. If you start using huge amounts of momentum and jerky body motions to crank out a couple of extra reps, you’ll be on the sidelines before you know it.
5) Never ignore your aches and pains.
When you’re motoring along through a training program and are making progress from week to week, the idea of quitting just seems impossible. This can sometimes lead us to ignore those obvious injuries and pretend as if they aren’t really there as we often “work through” the pain and hope that it magically disappears.