Weight lifting may seem as easy as showing up and lifting as much weight as you can. However, if you’re not experienced and you aren’t smart, you can injure yourself. Getting hurt will not only be painful and inconvenient; it will also set back your workout plans and keep you out of the gym for longer than you’d like. Follow a few simple safety tips when you’re preparing to lift weights.

First, know your body. Don’t continue lifting weight if you feel pain. Resistance is normal, and you want to feel like you’re getting a good workout. However, if you notice a specific pain in a certain area, stop what you’re doing and get treatment.

Next, make sure you pay attention to your breathing. It can be easy to hyperventilate, and you may find yourself holding your breath while you lift. Practice breathing before you begin your workout. Get to know the pace and speed of your breathing.

Finally, give yourself enough rest. Your muscles aren’t going to develop any faster when you lift every day of the week. In fact, the periods of rest give the tissues an opportunity to heal and grow. You shouldn’t be lifting weights more than three or four times per week.

When you’re weight lifting, it’s important that you know your limits. Working out this way is all about testing your limits, but do it wisely. Work with a partner or a spotter, and don’t try to lift more than you’re ready to handle.