Weight lifting is one of the most iconic exercises of them all – throughout history people have engaged in weight lifting to make themselves stronger, increase their muscle mass and develop their fitness. It can be a fantastic way to take control of your bodies abilities and your appearance, but for its many benefits it also has some essential risks involved. With proper knowledge and sensible behaviour anyone can enjoy the positive effects of weight lifting. Detailed below are some of the most common injuries people incur while developing with weights, and easy ways to prevent them.
The knee is generally assumed to be a particularly vulnerable joint to damage from weightlifting, particularly squats or any exercise which puts sudden extra pressure on the leg. There is some truth to this as the knee is a relatively inflexible part of the body, with limited options for movement. Sudden, jerking movements executed without proper form can easily tear the connective tissue in the knee, or stress the joint affecting your balance and comfort. This can be prevented by ensuring your feet are planted squarely before any exercise and lowering yourself evenly, with equal pressure on each leg.
Almost every weightlifting exercise will put increased and unfamiliar weight on the back which is the frame supporting all the muscle groups in your upper body. Dead lifts, bench presses, rows and curls can all result in strain on muscles and tendons, even torn ligaments in severe situations. The best way to prevent this is to remember the old adage – “lift with your knees and not your back”! Form is essential and you should never begin a rep without confirming your back is straight, supported and engaged. Proper stretching before and after a set can also increase the elasticity of your back and reduce any unpleasant strains.
An increase in bodybuilding style exercises over purely strength based lifting in recent times have resulted in a focus on developing the definition and appearance of specific muscle groups. Incorporated into a well-rounded routine, this will not be an issue, but exercises which isolate the shoulder muscles and upper body can result in disproportional stress to key joints and soft tissue. The key to avoiding hard to identify damage to the shoulders is to avoid an over reliance on weight lifting machines and ensure you’re regularly rotating your exercise regime to ensure that pressure is being distributed evenly across a variety of areas.
Neck and Spine Stress
If you are approaching your lifting routine safely you should never have to worry about serious damage to your neck and spine. However, the reality of the range of movements involved in the most common lifting exercises means that sloppy form, overloading on your weight limit, or pushing yourself beyond the point of fatigue can result in mistakes slipping into your movements and causing sudden sharp pain to these areas. Poor posture and loose grip are the easiest way to cause injuries of this type, so it’s imperative to approach every set with the same focus and attention to detail as your first.
Weight lifting is an exciting opportunity to transform your body and change your life, and if you act smart and think ahead about the potential risks, you’ll be able to reap the rewards in no time at all.