The gym is packed with your buddies all working out intensely. You are moving fast through your workout. You are quickly throwing weights on and off the Olympic weight lifting bar as you move between sets. What rule of weight lifting safety did you potentially and foolishly just miss?
You see this happen in high schools, colleges, and gyms everywhere. You choose not to secure the weights on the bar. You know, you are sure, you are confident you have control of the bar. Then on that final rep your left arm drops 2 inches a plate slides off the bar and suddenly the bar is flipping out of control out of your hands. Never, ever, leave your weights loose on the bar. It may be faster changing weights between sets, but it is the fastest way to end up in the emergency room, too.
Weight lifting safety should be at the front of your mind in every workout and every exercise you do. Safely lifting allows you to keep making progressive gains day after day. Being sloppy leads to injuries, often leading to months without working out.
Another common safety violation in the gym comes in what appears to be a safe weight lifting practice. You are getting ready to do some heavy dead lifting so you grab the wrist straps and strap up. You get busy lifting and suddenly on the last rep you cannot pull the weight to the top. If you strapped up properly you can still get free. If you strapped up improperly you may have a big problem and need to lower the weight safely, if you can. Learn proper techniques for using all equipment before you use it. Just because your buddy does it this way does not mean it is right.
Are you a loner in the gym? You love to workout hard, fast, quick, and alone. No problem with any of it, except you better find a couple friends. Even when you love to workout alone you must know a few other guys in the gym to spot for you. You cannot lift heavily on the bench press or squats without spotters. Do not tell yourself crazy stories about being able to get maximum gains without pushing through to your limit. If you try to push out those extra reps without spotters you are putting yourself at huge risk.
Figuring it out on your own. This may be the biggest weight lifting safety failure in every gym. Smart gym owners set rules to not allow you to use new equipment without being signed off by a trainer. You should take the same precautions on using free weights. Any time you are going into uncharted territory get a trainer to watch your technique and then make the corrections. Only with proper form can you be safe.
Weight lifting safety is not about straps, belts, and other accessories. Safety comes from learning to use the equipment properly, executing with perfect form, and using good common sense. Avoid injuries and get the most out of your body. It is never fun to lay on the couch waiting to heal.