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1. Do a 5-10 minute cardio warmup first. If you will be strengthening the legs, warm up on the treadmill, bike, stairclimber, elliptical machine, etc. For upper body warmups, try the arm bike, row machine or elliptical (using both arms and legs).
2. Warm up strength exercises with light weights.
3. Exercise muscles in their full range of motion and at a slow-moderate pace.
4. If performing a new exercise, start with lighter resistance and higher repetitions.
5. Do not lift through joint pain. Either decrease your resistance or select a different exercise to strengthen that muscle group.
6. Prepare appropriately for high-level or maximal lifts. Do not perform without adequate training and strictly proper technique.
7. Use ice after a challenging workout (for example: knees or shoulders).
8. Strengthen opposite muscle groups to maintain balance between front/back/sides of each body part. Use various exercises to strengthen each muscle.
9. Beware of risk for knee injury if squats are performed incorrectly. Do not let your knees go forward past your toes (imagine a vertical line coming up from your toes).
10. Beware of risk for back injury with squats and dead lifts. Do not perform unless you know proper technique.
11. Avoid using wraps and braces for stability. If you train without them, you can slowly increase your weight without needing external supports.
12. Lifting belts are not necessary for back safety if you learn the proper techniques and train without using them. However, if you have trained with a belt, do not attempt a heavy lift without it.
13. Do not neglect strengthening of the rotator cuff, back extensors, hip abductors/adductors.
Source: Baechle TR, Earle RW, editors. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 2nd ed. 2000: National Strength and Conditioning Association. Pages 48-52.