The Keys to Weight Room Safety

By Alex Ewalt, FNF Coaches Contributor

Head coach Robert Weiner of powerhouse Tampa Plant (Fla.) also oversees and implements his team’s strength and conditioning program. He shares tips on how to avoid injuries in the weight room.


Plant players have a “pregame” routine before getting into their main workouts. Weiner chooses movements that will prepare specific muscle groups for the more strenuous lifts and exercises later in the day.

“They’ll do something to get them warmed up, whether that includes speed and agility, rope work, or step-ups to get their blood flowing, and it usually involves just a weight movement to get their muscles engaged,” he says.

For instance, to warm up for power cleans, Weiner’s warm-up might include split squats or similar movements.

“You’re not really working those muscles hard yet, but you want to ignite the muscles that we’re going to use on that day,” Weiner said.

It’s dangerous to jump into a major lift without first waking up those muscles, Weiner says, and the negative results could include anything from a simple sprain to a torn ACL in a major lift like the power clean.

Basic static stretches also have their place alongside more complex warm-up movements. The goal is to have a safe build-up in any workout, and that includes avoiding overloading any one muscle group with multiple lifts in a short time.

“You don’t want to tap out the body,” Weiner says.

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