Injuries are the absolute bane of weight lifters. They rob us of the chance to continue to enjoy our hobby, since lifting when you are injured is never a good idea, nor a pleasurable one; and at a worse case scenario, they can be the downfall of all your hard work and pretty much end your weight lifting ‘career’.
In this article I’d like to point out several of the most common injuries people get from weight lifting, and tell you how you can go about avoiding them.
1: Back Problems
Without a doubt, this is the most common issue among lifters. Whether it’s squats, dead lifts, bent over rows, or any number of exercises – the back plays a major role, and, if you aren’t careful you could seriously injure your back and pretty much kiss goodbye to lifting.
Most of the time when the back is injured, it’s simply because the person is using either improper form through lack of experience or bad habits, or simply because they are trying to use too much weight and are sacrificing form for whatever reason. (Usually ego or the mistaken belief poundage is superior to form.)
There are very, very few instances in which the back should ever be rounded when lifting, and 99% of the time it should be locked. Locking the back allows the stresses of the lift to be exerted on the vertebrae evenly, and will keep the back safe.
2: Knee Problems
I’ve heard this countless times: “Squats are bad for knees!” – Well, I disagree. I think they are great for knees; if you perform them with care and proper form. Two things which are always excruciating for me to watch is lifters who squat above parallel, and suddenly stop dead heave back up with their legs buckling like a new born calf… or when they go below parallel, and actually bounce off the bottom. This is what shocks and damages the knees.
Squats should be performed absolutely fluidly. Plus, everybody has their own different build. You know, long legs, long trunk, short legs, long trunk, etc. Finding a stance which is comfortable to you is important. It may involve more forward lean, legs wider apart, etc. But always, the back should be locked, the legs should be solid and perpendicular to the floor throughout, and the movement should be fluid and controlled.
3: Rotor Cuff / Shoulder Injuries
It’s very rare to see a lifter of many years who’s not ‘developed’ a shoulder injury. Most shoulder injuries don’t just suddenly appear, but develop over time. One of the biggest culprits for the shoulder injury is the rotor cuff wear and tear.
You don’t have to wear your rotor cuff out, but improper form when benching or using upright rows in the ‘conventional’ way, plus other exercises which you can feel stress the shoulder joints and not simply the muscle are to blame.
At the end of the day, so much of these injuries can be avoided. Most injuries aren’t sudden but build up over time. If you feel you aren’t lifting in a safe manner, then alter your technique or learn the correct form – it’ll pay dividends in the long run.