Weightlifting is a sport and fitness activity that is growing in popularity, and for lots of great reasons. It is both challenging and rewarding–many weightlifters describe how empowered they feel when they can reach their next lifting goal.
Unfortunately, weightlifting can also be associated with back injuries and muscle pain.
What is the most common weightlifting injury?
A 2020 journal article found that low back pain is one of the most common complaints from adolescent and young adult weightlifters. The authors say this is because “Using excessive weights and performing improper techniques puts the back in a compromising position that may lead to injury.”
As for older athletes, including seniors, weightlifting and strength training can be a great way to get fit or stay fit, but it’s important to take steps to avoid an injury.
And if an injury occurs, you have to seek the right treatment to heal.
It’s all about technique!
One of the reasons that weightlifting is so great? Almost anyone can start. You don’t have to be able to power lift or break records; starting with small, attainable weightlifting goals can get you on the right track to building muscle, burning fat, and improving your overall bone health.
However, starting without proper guidance can cause serious problems. Using proper technique is important, and it doesn’t just come naturally. There is a lot to learn before you jump right in.
Let’s look at the 5 ways that you can protect your back from injuries by using good weightlifting technique.
1. Lift an appropriate amount of weight. Don’t push yourself to start with more than you can handle.
How much is an appropriate amount of weight? You should be able to lift the weight comfortably 12-15 times in a row. Once you have practiced at that level for a few days, you can add more weight to your routine. It’s okay to challenge yourself, but make sure that your baseline is safe and reasonable.
2. Recognize that each lifting exercise requires its own form.
You can learn good form from a number of resources. A strength training coach or fitness instructor can be a great place to start, but you can also check out YouTube for instructional videos and lessons.
3. Don’t hold your breath.
Breathing is an essential part of weightlifting. When you are challenging yourself to add more weight or repetitions, you may hold your breath without even realizing it. Instead, breathe steadily throughout the exercise. Breathe out as you lift the weight, and then breathe in as you lower it.
4. Rest your muscles.
Rest and recovery are an important part of the weightlifting experience. After strengthening one set of muscles for a few days, take a rest day. You can develop a routine so that you can lift weights every day if you want, but avoid working the same muscle groups day in and day out without a rest.
5. If it hurts, stop.
Pain is not a normal part of weightlifting. If you feel pain, you should listen to your body and stop what you’re doing. You can give yourself a break from that exercise for a few days, or you can attempt the exercise with less weight, but it is important to stop what you’re doing if you experience pain so that you don’t cause significant injury.
What happens if you get hurt?
Sometimes, weightlifters get hurt. In addition to the low back pain we mentioned earlier in this blog post, other common injuries include:
- Rotator cuff tear
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Biceps tendinopathy (inflammation of the biceps tendon)
- Meniscus tear
- Rupture of the Achilles tendon
- Shoulder impingement
The first thing to do if you get hurt is to give yourself a break. Home remedies like heat or cold therapy, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and stretches can be a great start.
However, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek expert help!
Chiropractic care can treat your low back pain, correct spinal misalignment, and provide individualized exercises to help you recover from injuries related to weightlifting and strength training.
For some injuries, physical therapy may be needed. PT allows you to regain strength, mobility, and stamina after an injury. By reducing pain, muscle spasms, swelling, and inflammation, physical therapists help you gain muscle strength and endurance, increase your range of motion, and develop more coordination and balance.
South Orange Chiropractic Center provides weightlifters with the support they need to recover from injuries and improve their condition as athletes.
Are you experiencing pain, stiffness, soreness, or poor range of motion? Have you plateaued in your weightlifting experience? Are you worried about how to continue weightlifting without experiencing an injury?
We’re here to help!
Contact us today to set up your first appointment!