Lifting heavy weights and improper lifting of weights is one of the foremost causes for neck pain or low back pain. Practicing proper lifting techniques is essential to avoid strain on the neck and back.
Prior to lifting weights, stretch slowly and stop lifting weights if you experience any sharp pain. While lifting weights never bend at the waist. Put one knee on the ground, and use your arms and legs to lift the object up onto the opposite thigh. Stand up. Take the object close to the body while lifting weight and put effort on your legs to get the object off the ground, rather than your low back.
You will never hear of thigh muscle strain due to lifting weights; that is because the thigh muscles are longer, stronger and more resistant to strain. The muscles and ligaments in the back however are shorter and prone to muscle spasm. Hence, while lifting weights, put one knee on the floor, use your arm strength to raise the object up to your mid-thigh, and then use the power of your legs to stand up. Another approach is to bend both knees in a squatting position, grasp the object keeping fingers underneath it, keep your back straight, and stand up slowly. In either case, strain your leg muscles to generate the lifting force, not back muscles.
Recreational Dos & Don'ts while lifting weights
Do place your feet and knees at least shoulder wide apart while lifting
Do squat or lean over with the chest and buttocks sticking out
Do take weight off one or both arms if possible
Do balance your load on either side if possible, so that both sides are equally stressed
Do level the pelvis, low back and neck in uniform alignment while lifting overhead
Do stretch and walk around before or after bending or heavy lifting
Don't lift or carry unbalanced and heavy weights
Don't lift and bend too much quickly
Don't lift things overhead with your neck and back bent.
Don't tense and arch the neck when lifting
Don't lift things when your feet are too close together
Don't lift with your knees and hips straight and your lower back rounded
Don't lift heavy objects directly following a prolonged period of relaxation