Ask most people in the gym about their biggest regret, and the answer will vary, without a doubt. Some will say they wished they lifted a certain way. Many will wish they had striven for balance in their training earlier along the road. Some will talk about the poor nutritional choices they made, or the lack of rest & recovery with which they gave their body previously. Rarely will most lifters talk about a single day, a single workout, or simply a single repetition which regrettably led to them losing months or even years of progress: The Training Injury. Most lifters will sustain a few bumps and bruises along the way. Small tweaks and twists, little isolated aches and pains beyond the standard DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) - these things are all normal and part of the iron game. However, the big injuries, where lapses in judgment or simple training imbalances led to catastrophic injury... these are the regrettable moments which most gym goers cannot muster the courage to admit. Thus, the wisdom which could arrive from learning from their lessons goes unrealized. The first step of mastering injury prevention is to admit and realize its importance. You have to realize that the best nutritional practices, ideal recovery, insanely intense lifting - none of that matters if poor form on dumbbell shoulder presses leaves you out of the gym for 2 months with a rotator cuff injury. Let's check out a few tips and tricks you can employ to avoid injury and keep your training progress rolling! 5-10 Cardio Rule Always start and end your workout with 5 to 10 minutes of walking on the treadmill or elliptical work. This will move oxygen all over the body, and blood to the muscle groups that you're about to target. Sure, it may seem easy to just jump on the first available squat rack you see as you walk in the door. However, the thought of squatting 225 pounds cold, and the ensuing knee scope procedure, should be enough to scare you to the cardio section for 5 to 10 quick minutes of warm up! Let the muscle do the work It's easy to say "Squat Safe!" but it's often difficult to explain exactly how this is done. At the bottom point of the squat, when you reach a point where your thighs are parallel to the floor, the thighs stop doing the work. Anything below parallel involves transferring the workload from your quad/glute muscles to your knee joints and tendons. This can lead to injury, and should thus obviously be avoided. Apply this logic to all of your training - and once the muscle is no longer doing the work, you have exceeded the muscle work range of motion, and entered injury territory! Compounds, then machines Early in your workout, your balance is excellent as your muscles are fresh and strong. As the workout passes, you fatigue the muscle fibers of the body as you responsibly work to push each muscle group to failure. What many lifters don't worry is that muscular failure can lead to balance failure, which can lead to a weight landing on your head, or a dumbbell pulling downward awkwardly. Stick with machines after your initial 10 sets of heavy compound muscle group slaughter. Seek Growth! You'd have to be living beneath a rock for the past decade not to be aware of the many insane benefits seen from use of human growth hormone. Athletes using it will not only bounce back faster from injury, but they'll also possess strength, stamina, and durability to often avoid injuries in the first place. If GH isn't in your budget or physician's wheelhouse, you should check out Humatropic as a safe and affordable alternative. Common sense Above all, you should employ common sense. Don't do stupid things in the gym. Leave your ego at the door. The things you have done so far haven't led to injury. Something as simple as the way you take a step off the bench, or the path you take to lower the dumbbells following a set - deviating from the way you've always done these can lead to injury. Don't lift with your ego. Don't go extremely heavy without a spotter. Speak aloud "I'm about to..." and if it sounds stupid, insane, or something you'd be embarassed to share with a paramedic... Don't Do It!