Common Weight Lifting Injuries: How Can You Prevent Them?
Whether you are new to weight lifting or you a long-time veteran, avoiding injuries should be a priority in your practice. When you lift, you are putting repeated strain on your muscles and your skeletal systems. Because there is so much repetition, there are many opportunities for injuries. And, common injuries can slow your progress.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent common injuries from happening. With a little extra care, you can stay in the gym and keep building your muscles. Just keep in mind that if you haven’t already, you should talk to your health care provider so they help you stay healthy and safe, too.
Visit Your Chiropractor Regularly
One of the best tools to complement weight training is a regular chiropractic appointment. Studies show that pairing chiropractic treatments and weight training can actually improve the quality of the workouts and add strength. Further studies show that range of motion can improve and so can endurance.
When you regularly work with a chiropractor, you can have adjustments to treat areas that you may have strained, like shoulder joints. Chiropractic shoulder adjustment benefits can keep your rotator cuff and the other complex parts of the joint functioning optimally.
Warm Up Before Exercising
While it might seem like a waste of time, it is important to warm up with stretches and aerobic movement prior to lifting. Warm up exercises can get your muscles ready for the tough work that you will put them through in your weight-lifting routine.
Warm up the muscles that you are going to work that day. Do a few short planks if you are going to work your upper body or do a few lunges on leg day. Stretch your shoulders and chest as well as your quads, hips, and calf muscles, too.
Watch Your Technique
One of the most important things you should do during your weight lifting sessions is to pay close attention to your technique. With improper technique, you will injure yourself. Exercise in front of a mirror, not to look at how good you look, but to watch your form.
If your chiropractor cannot help you with proper form, you can learn about it from an exercise physiologist or a registered fitness professional. In many cases, it is important to keep muscles engaged to protect them and to stay in alignment no matter what exercise you are doing. Many weight lifters will do a regular yoga practice so they can learn more about their body’s alignment.
When you maintain your form, you are less likely to become injured. Staying in control of the weights is vital, because it proves that you can lift the weights. If the weights are too heavy, you will have difficulty maintaining form and you might lose control of them.
Take It Slow and Stay In Control
If you are just getting started, you should practice patience when you are lifting. No one is able to lift immense amounts of weight right away, and you only build muscle by starting where you are. If you try to lift too much, you could hurt yourself and reverse any progress you may have had.
Start with lesser weights and work on being able to do a series of strong repetitions with proper form. Once you can do 10 to 12 repetitions with ease, increase your weights and work toward the same goal.
As you increase your weights, you should always be in control. If you lose control of weights that are too heavy, or not attached to the bar, you could hurt yourself or someone near you. You should not swing them to get range of motion, as this can put pressure on your low back. When you are in control, you use the muscles that each exercise is meant to build.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
If you are lifting too much weight or doing too many repetitions, you might find yourself holding your breath. It is important to use your breath while you exercise. Inhale during the easier part of the exercise, and exhale during the most difficult part of the exercise. Holding your breath does not help you at all.
Weightlifters who add yoga to their exercise regimen learn how to use their breath in their weight lifting routines. The two exercises do complement each other, especially as yoga also teaches weightlifters how to stretch their muscles before they begin lifting.
Check Equipment Before You Lift
If you workout at a gym, take a moment to look closely at the equipment before you begin lifting. When equipment is broken, you could become injured. Always take time to properly put weights on the bar and use a clip to hold them in place. If you use machines, check that the pulley systems are working properly, especially before you lift heavy weights.
Move Through the Full Range of Motion
As you lift, the goal is to stay in control through the full range of motion. If you shorten the exercise, you will not receive all of the benefits to your entire muscle and joint. When you stay in control through the rull range of muscle, you strengthen the entire length of muscle and reduce your chance of injury to the areas you neglect.
If you find that part of the exercise creates discomfort, stop doing it. Talk to your chiropractor or other health care provider so they can look at your muscles and joints to see if there is an underlying injury.
Give Your Muscles Tie to Rest
When you lift weights as a regular form of exercise, you have to alternate your workouts and give your muscles time to rest. Your muscles need to have at least a full day - 24 hours - to rest and repair. This is how you build your muscle mass. You should give each muscle group a full day of rest before exercising it again. The off-day is a great chance to stretch and do some yoga.
If you have an injury or you feel like you’ve worked too hard, take the day off. You are more likely to injure yourself if you are not feeling well or if you already have an injury.
About Dr. Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His chiropractic practice in Juneau has received great reviews and top ratings from thousands of patients who received long-lasting relief through chiropractic care, physical rehab therapy, and massage therapy.
He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.