Rule of Thumb 1: Technique is everything. Using poor technique with any exercise is one of the fastest ways to wind up with pain. In addition to helping you avoid injury, proper technique also helps you make sure you’re working out the muscles you’re trying to work out.
Rule of Thumb 2: Burnout hurts. When your body says you can’t go any farther, it may be a good idea to listen. Some of the most common injuries at the gym (and your work place) are overuse injuries. So don’t be afraid to give your body a break, especially if you feel joint pain. You can also reduce your likelihood of overuse injuries by keeping plenty of variety in your regiment.
Rule of Thumb 3: Get a partner or work with a trainer. It’s not easy to find someone to get in the weight room with you at 5 a.m. However, having someone alongside of you will help you avoid injury by spotting you when you get in a bad situation and helping you practice proper form throughout your routine.