Fundamentally, weightlifting is about pushing your body to its limits and then pushing it even a little further. So, it’s little wonder that there are so many injuries commonly associated with this activity. The good news is that most of these wounds are relatively minor and easy to correct, but the bad news is that, if they do not heal properly, they often lead to bigger problems. Read on to figure out how to stay as injury-free as possible as you pursue your passion.
Excessive spinal wear and tear often cause degenerative disc disease, and poor mechanics often cause herniated discs. Poor weight lifting posture both increases the risk for these conditions and worsens them when they occur. The most prominent symptom is a sharp pain in the back that radiates down the legs.
To avoid these conditions, be mindful of the small spinal curve in the lower back, This natural curve is essential for proper back health, so make sure it remains in neutral position for all your reps. Furthermore, although it sounds trite, lift with your legs and not with your back. Finally, avoid the Russian twist and other exercises.
Exercise, heat, and proper hydration are usually enough to correct these issues. If the pain persists, see a doctor, who will most likely prescribe injections.
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with rotator cuff injuries. A Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior tear is basically this injury’s unwanted cousin. Common symptoms include:
- Shoulder pain,
- Popping noise,
- Shoulder weakness, and
- Movement catching.
Much like disc injuries, either repetitive overhead lifting or sudden trauma, like adding too much weight too quickly, cause these tears. But unlike, disc injuries, SLAP tears often require surgical correction.
So, prevention is even more important. Consider using a brace to support your upper back, especially when you add weight, and never participate in any range-of-motion activities that hurt your arm. Instead, focus on reverse flyes and dumbbell presses.
Lateral Elbow Tendonitis
Some people think that tennis elbow is a motion-related injury, but it’s actually a gripping-related injury, so it is quite common among weightlifters. If the outside of the elbow aches and you feel an odd stretch when extending your arm, you probably have elbow tendonitis.
To treat the injury, rest and ice the elbow to reduce inflammation in the tendon. Then, strengthen gripping muscles to prevent recurrence. To prevent the injury, begin workout routines with farmer’s carries or other grip-heavy exercises. Pushups and crawls also help improve flexibility in the wrist, which helps keeps forearm muscles flexible.
With every rep, thumbs are usually pinned between the bar and your other fingers. The issue is acuter if you use a hook grip. The excessive pressure and unusual movement often combine to cause a sprained thumb. Symptoms are usually rather mild. They include pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Thumb sprains, and most other muscle sprains are fairly easy to treat. Apply some ice or pain relief cream and then immobilize the area with a splint or a brace. Thumb sprains are also rather easy to prevent. In addition to the gripping exercises mentioned above, improve your fine motor skills by picking up small objects, like pennies and paperclips. Therapy putty often produces good results as well.
Weightlifting increases the risk of injury, but with some planning and forethought, you can minimize or even eliminate this risk. Furthermore, once these injuries occur, they should not sideline you for long, so you can quickly get back to your workout routine after observing a few precautions.