If you haven't you likely will sometime soon.
While many injuries are preventable to a certain degree, wear and tear along with recovery plays an important role in overall lifting health. Injuries can often cause discomfort and a lack of motivation when it comes to overall lifting performance.
Related: Exercise for Kids - Is Strength Training Safe?
As we age and put more miles on our bodies, injury prevention and overall recovery play an even greater role in physical health. The number of potential injuries from lifting can be nearly limitless but there are certain injuries that are extremely prevalent in the lifting community.
5 Common Weight Lifting Injuries
#1 - Lower back pain/injuriesAsk any bodybuilder and chances are they have encountered some degree of back injury at one point in time or another. These particular types of injury can be mild ranging from a minor sprain from rounding the lower back to extreme with multiple disc herniations.
The types of movements that put the highest degree of strain on an individual's lower back typically include improperly performing deadlifts and squats. Some ways to negate lower back injuries include increasing mobility and focusing on form rather than weight lifted.
It is much safer and more effective to properly deadlift 225 pounds than 405 pounds with a rounded back and improper form. Lower back injuries typically occur due to poor posterior chain strength which should be an essential part of every person's training regimen.
#2 - Shoulder/rotator cuff injuryShoulder injuries and rotator cuff tears may partially be caused by overuse of the shoulder muscles. However, most commonly these injuries occur from the bench press.
Using improper form and/or overloading the bench with too much weight may result in overuse of the front deltoid as opposed to activation of the pectoral muscles. Concentrate on not flaring out the elbows; keeping them tucked at a 45 degree angle the entire time instead.
Also, be sure to retract the scapula and dig your trap muscles into the bench prior to performing the lift. Shoulder injuries tend to be one of those nagging injuries that never go away even with surgery and become progressively worse as the years go on.
#3 - Elbow/wrist tendonitisTendonitis is one of the few injuries that cannot be repaired with surgery. Tendonitis many times involves overuse of the joints and tendons activated by performing different exercises.
Elbow tendonitis is generally sparked by overhead triceps movements such as French presses, barbell skull crushers, and heavy triceps kickbacks.
Wrist tendonitis is caused by bending the wrists performing overhead presses or bench presses when the wrists should maintain a neutral position angled upwards at all times.
Tendonitis may be corrected using tension bars that focus on increasing tendon strength. As we progress and become stronger it is important to also make sure tendon and joint strength improve along with muscle growth.
#4 - Knee pain/injuriesThough it is less common than some of the other injuries, knee pain is a frequently reported weight room injury.
Often times lifters will give the excuse of persistent knee pain as the reason they avoid heavy leg movements such as squats. However, with proper mobility and warm-ups along with protective gear such as knee sleeves, one can generally avoid knee pain and injuries.
#5 - Pectoral tearPectoral tears are not extremely common. They are generally limited to individuals doing heavy pressing such as in powerlifting competitions.
The most common reason for these injuries are simply attempting to press too much weight. Again, keeping the elbows tucked at a 45 degree angle may help aide in preventing some of these common nagging pains. Pectoral tears generally heal themselves over time without the need for major surgery.
Final ThoughtsThese are simply a few of the most frequent injuries in the weight room. By properly performing adequate stretches and warm-ups along with gradual weight progression you will be able to avoid injuries and prolong your lifting career for decades at a time.
Age is simply just a number as long as you can perform the movements in a safe manner and avoid major injuries.
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