You know, it’s a funny thing we do, us bodybuilding types. All our lives our mothers and fathers told us to stay away from dangerous things, yet here we are, laid on our backs several times a week lifting weights above our heads that could equate to a washing machine or more… and just one slip… you get the picture.
But, it’s like anything… bodybuilding may get a bad rep for being a dangerous sport (and it is, if you aren’t careful) but even if you are the most careful person in the world, accidents will still happen sooner or later. The fact is you can’t live your life in a bubble.
Fact is, every time you climb in your car, you are at risk of death or serious injury. Now, I don’t know of a single person who has killed themselves by actually lifting weights, but I do know several people personally who have died in car accidents – and I’m still a young man… there is going to be more in my lifetime unfortunately (hey, maybe even yours truly… though I seriously hope not, touch wood.)
Then other sports: rugby, football, hockey, etc. All potentially dangerous sports in which at least one person on the field is going to suffer from some minor or more serious injury at some point.
But, you get my point?
Let me tell you right now, the biggest dangers in bodybuilding which you can avoid, and minimize the dangers of:
- Improper warm up: truly, warming up doesn’t have to be some excessive 5 mile run and 500 star jumps and 30 light sets of each exercise… a good warm up may simply be a few (3 at the least) warm up sets before moving onto your main sets. Why would you risk injury to your tendons, ligaments and muscles by skipping it?
- Letting your ego get the better of you: this tends to happen mostly when you are at the gym with others around you, friends, etc. Although training with serious friends and some element of competition can raise your game (that’s what having training partners is all about) it can also make you do stupid things and push yourself way beyond your capabilities, resulting in injury. Be careful, and don’t be an idiot, frankly.
- Steroids: now I know I bang on about this quite a lot, but steroids are dangerous, particularly in the wrong hands. If you are going to take steroids, make sure you do serious amounts of research, and don’t ever be tempted to exceed the recommended dosage. Doing so is one reason why steroids get such a bad rep – because people take far too many and end up with serious side effects they otherwise may not have gotten from sensible dosages.
- Progressive injuries: this is a toughie, because it can gradually occur and you may never even know why, so you’ve got to be on the ball with knowing your body and what feels right and wrong. But, the best advice I can give you about progressive injuries is this: listen to your body, and at the first sign of pain or awkwardness from an exercise, let it heal, and alter your technique the next time you lift. If you continue to experience pain, the exercise is obviously damaging you, so you need to either take a big rest from the exercise so it heals completely, before coming back with a new technique which doesn’t cause pain, or you need to ‘can’ the exercise altogether. Not everyone can do all exercises – that’s just the way it goes, unfortunately. Never, ever, ever continually force yourself to lift through pain or whilst injured, you are asking for serious chronic injury and may even need a serious corrective surgery eventually. Don’t be a fool to yourself.
I hope this article has given you some food for thought. Stay safe, and enjoy lifting!