Stay strong and injury-free on your way to fitness. Learn the keys to safe and effective exercise.

All of us at Bally Total Fitness want you to get started on your own personal journey to fitness, or continue to make gains if you’re already well on your way. But it’s vitally important to be safe in all the physical activities you do, whether it’s lifting weights, running or Pilates.

One helpful term to always keep in mind when planning your workout is "overloading." It simply means "doing more than a system is used to doing." If your goal is to achieve a new level, you’ll need to overload your system by increasing the amount of weight, the number of repetitions or by adding new exercises.

If you’re just started out after a long layoff, you will be overloading simply by beginning to exercise, so be conservative in your goals and expectations.

One good overloading rule of thumb…regardless of whether you are adding weight, time, distance, repetitions or speed, never increase by more than 10% of what your body was previously used to. Overloading more than 10% will increase your risk of injury and can be counterproductive to your training program.

Below are some weight training safety tips for strength training. For more safety tips, visit our Fitness Tips page and view Workout Safety and Precautions.

Ten Safety Tips for Strength Training

Please keep the following key points in mind when performing any strength training exercise:

  • Never hold your breath while lifting weights. This can cause you to feel lightheaded, dizzy, and lead to fainting.
  • Never lock your joints (knee, elbow, etc.) while lifting weights. Locked joints are put under an enormous amount of stress, which may lead to injury.
  • Always use collars on the bar when lifting weights.
  • Focus on controlling the weight. To avoid injury and maximize the effectiveness of the exercise weights should always be lifted and lowered slowly.
  • Always have a "spotter" present when performing free weight exercises. Spotters can assist you with form and ensure that you avoid injury.
  • Keep both hands at equal distance from the center of the bar when using free weights. Not doing so could result in harmful stress to one side of your body.
  • Never excessively twist or bend the spine, which can cause lower back problems.
  • When standing, always maintain a slight bend in the knees to reduce stress on the lower back.
  • The knees should always remain in alignment with the toes when performing leg exercises.
  • Always replace weights to the proper racks so that others do not trip over them. that others do not trip over them.

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