The 3 most common strength training injuries and how to prevent them
If you’re a person who discovered your love of lifting heavy things, you may have also been one of the unfortunate ones who discovered the injuries that can come along with it.
Lifting weights has incredible health benefits and often becomes addictive as you grow stronger and more eager to challenge yourself. But, without putting preventions and safety measures in place to support your body, you might end up suffering one (or more) of the 5 most common strength training injuries.
When you’re strength training, it’s understandable that your main focus is on the muscles doing the bulk of the lifting, but the silent sufferer can be the joints bearing the brunt of the load. In a lot of cases, the knees are working overtime to support your body weight and the extra weight you’re adding. This can sometimes cause patellar tendonitis, an inflammation of the tissue between the kneecap (and patella tendon) and your shinbone, related to repeated stress in that area.
Not to be outdone by the knees, your back is linked to every strength training movement you do, from your muscles, ligaments and tendons to your spine and disks. Disk herniation is one of the most common (and painful) strength training injuries there is. When your lifting posture is poor and the muscles involved in the work aren’t being properly activated, your back ends up taking on the stress. Your spinal disk (the jelly-like cushioning between your vertebrae) when placed under heavy strain can tear, pushing out some of that cushioning.
The unsung hero of upper body strength training, your shoulders are working overtime while you pump those weights. Because strength training often involves a lot of repetitive, heavy movements, the mechanisms in your shoulder joint come under a lot of pressure, commonly causing rotator cuff injuries (the group of muscles and tendons that keep your arm inside your shoulder socket. Rotator cuff tears can occur through repeated stress on the injury, or a prolonged lack of adequate blood supply to the area.
How you can help prevent these injuries
Dynamic stretching before and after your workout to increase blood flow and flexibility
Work up to the heavier weights to give your body time to adjust to the weight and movements
Mix up your workouts and don’t overstrain the same areas in every session
Keep hydrated so your muscles are prepared for the work
Triple check your posture before doing the lift
Know your limits and don’t overexert your body past its breaking point
Have someone close by who can check your form
Rest and give your body time to recover