The 3 usual areas particular to weight training injuries
are the shoulders,
and the knees. The shoulders can have rotator cuff issues. The
lower back can have a bad sprain or possibly a bulging disk resulting in the
sciatic nerve being aggravated. The knees can develop sprains and
cartilage wear and tear. How do injuries occur? It may happen like
You have been weight training for some years. One day youre doing
reps with straight legged deadlifts which is an exercise you are quite familiar
with and have done many times. While pulling up you move to the side a
certain way and hear a snap and at the same time you feel a sharp pain so severe
that its as if someone stabbed a large knife blade into the back of your
leg. You just popped a hamstring, meaning, you tore part of the hamstring
musculature including tendons. For this type of injury there are three
levels or degrees of damage. The first level is that it hurts a lot but
you can still walk without a limp. This takes a week or two to
heal. The second level is when there is more pain and you can still walk
but with a limp. This takes three to four weeks to heal. The third
level is when you cant walk at all. You need a medical
professional. A bad sprain usually requires about a week or two to
heal. Anything more serious will require weeks or months to heal.
Many times an injury never heals completely and the ailment becomes chronic.
The one thing that can really mess up your training is an accidental
injury. Most peopleespecially men, tend to train through injuries
thinking that somehow weight training the injury will make it go away.
The ideal thing to do is immediately stop training the injured body part and
see a medical sports professional as soon as possible but usually no one does
this. In the worst case scenario, the pain is so severe you wont have a
choice but to stop exercising.
The best advice is to never train through an injury but people
generally ignore this advice. How do you know if some discomfort is
actually bad? Its impossible to describe the difference of feeling between a
sorely strained muscle and a ligament tear unless you have that
experience. The best description, however, would be that a sore muscle is
more of a dull pain whereas a bona fide injury that requires medical care is
usually more of a sharp pain and may render you somewhat dysfunctional.
Immediately after you experience a pain injury, play it smart. Stop
training and practice first aid technique known as R.I.C.E. This is an
acronym that stands for:
Inflammation is the enemy with any injury. Practice
the R.I.C.E technique as soon as possible and you will keep swelling
under control. The effectiveness of R.I.C.E cannot be
overemphasized. If you think you can just tough it out without performing
this you certainly can but you may not heal as quickly. Remember,
the faster you heal and recover, the faster you can get back to training.
Injury prevention is multifold:
1)Warm up properly before you exercise and
2) Study new weightlifting exercises and then perform them in strict
form. Never expect a joint to stretch beyond its normal operation.
3) Train with a partner.
4) Use common sense
Warm up by taking a brisk walk around the block or jumping rope for a few
minutes before training or basically anything that gets you to break a
sweat a little. Before you actually do your first working set first do
two or three sets with a much lighter weight. This is for blood flow and
to make sure that your muscles and joints are feeling fine before you lift the
heavier stuff. Make sure you do the exercise in strict form without
cheating. If you catch yourself cheating, for instance by jerking or
swaying or using body English to move a weight then perhaps the weight is
too heavy. Lighten up on the weight and do it right and then
increase. Two steps forward one step back is the best progression.
Youll get there. A good rule of thumb is only lift the amount of weight
you can lower slowly under control if you had to.
Another useful tip to injury prevention is to not train alone but this
advice tends to be ignored as often as the one about not to train through
an injury. Most people train alone but if you can manage it,
get someone to spot you when doing potentially dangerous lifts such as bench
presses or squats. Emergency rooms routinely see patients who drop
weights on themselves. You may be able to dump the barbell during a
heavy squat but surely not during a bench press and wherever the place is
where youre living, the owner or neighbor will undoubtedly be rattled when
they hear all that iron crashing down on the floor (but at least you might get
a free ride to the emergency ward). If you just use a little common sense
and have a healthy respect for that iron, your days on the inactive list with a
weight training injury will be few or none.