There’s no pleasure without pain, that’s true, but when it comes to fitness, this proverb is the last thing anyone who has just dropped a bar while performing a bench press wants to hear. Both professional and amateur athletes are no strangers to all kinds of injuries, and anyone who has ever trained has had their fair share of joint dislocations, muscle tears, sprains, and strains.
However, all those issues take their toll not only on the body, but also on one’s mental health. Some injuries are inevitable, but others can be easily avoided by taking some measures of precaution. Warming up before every workout is one of the ways to play it safe at the gym.
Oddly enough, the mistake of skipping a warm-up session isn’t something that only fitness rookies do, and this bad practice can increase the risk of getting hurt by half. Let’s examine some common fitness injuries and those that you should beware of.
As their name says, overuse injuries are sustained from the repetitive action, meaning that repeated movements and repetitive stress can result in small injuries which lead to wear and tear of the muscles, bones, or tendons. An overuse injury is usually caused by training errors and poor form.
If you want to reduce the risk of an overuse injury as much as possible, using the proper technique and gear is of paramount importance. Shrugging off the idea of taking fitness lessons has cost many weightlifting newbies their health; many are suffering from chronic injuries and pain. A regular workout routine paired with a gradual increase of the activity level will help prevent these (and many other) types of injuries.
Those injuries are frequent in weightlifting, and the most common are bursitis, tendonitis, and sprains. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a small sac filled with lubricating liquid that helps to reduce friction between the bones in your shoulders. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons, elastic cords that attach muscle to the bone. Sprains occur when a ligament is torn.
All three injuries are caused by poor form, overuse of the shoulder joint, and repeated overhead movements. In case that you experience a shoulder pain, see your physician. Don’t push it too hard and rest your shoulder in case that it’s painful.
Wall push-ups and shoulder presses are great for strengthening your shoulders and reducing the risk of injury. Strengthen your external rotators by introducing band or cable-resisted external rotations to your warm-up. Don’t forget to stretch after exercising as it improves flexibility.
A Labral Tear
This shoulder is one of the most serious and difficult to diagnose. A labral tear occurs when fibrocartilage, or rubbery tissue that surrounds the shoulder ball-and-socket joint in order to keep it in place, is torn. It’s characterized by an unpleasant clicking or popping sound in the shoulder, followed by the weakness and loss of motion when you try to raise your arm.
This kind of injury can be a terrible blow and a major setback to weightlifters who can’t carry on with their usual routine. In certain cases, they must undergo surgery, so finding a coping mechanism is very important. It usually happens during the chest press or the military press, and that’s why adopting proper form and strengthening the rotator cuff is essential. If the injury isn’t severe it’s still possible to train during the recovery period, but it’s important to reduce your range of motion.
A Sternal Fracture
Yes, this injury is as nasty as its serious Latin name suggests. In plain English, it’s a fracture of the breastbone. This trauma can occur during a bench press workout when the bar is accidentally dropped on the chest, usually due to inability to lift it to the safety point.
The importance of using only the weight you can lift can’t be emphasized enough, as many inexperienced exercisers push themselves beyond their limits. It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer so that you can adopt a proper workout technique.
Later on, it’s a good idea to find an experienced workout partner who could help you during bench press exercises, making sure you do everything correctly. Be especially careful if you decide to purchase your own weight bench and exercise at home.
Lower Back Injuries
Lumbar injuries are common in weightlifting, as this sport can put a lot of strain on the back. Of course, this doesn’t mean that working out is to blame for such injuries. According to a research study, skipping warm-up exercises and stretching can significantly increase the likelihood of sustaining a lower back injury.
If the muscles aren’t properly warmed up, they’re cold, less flexible, and their ability to contract decreases. Additionally, when lifting heavy weights, the back muscles that haven’t been properly warmed up won’t be able to absorb all the energy directed at them.
Also, it is necessary to invest in proper bodybuilding gym wear. No matter whether you’re a pro or an amateur athlete, a weightlifting belt will protect your back while weightlifting shoes will support your ankles and secure your footing during weightlifting exercises.
A Pectoral Strain
This injury refers to a partial or complete tear of one or more chest muscles. Again, poor form is the main culprit, as it causes exercisers to lose control of a dumbbell or barbell during the bench press workout. Symptoms of this injury include a tearing sensation while the chest and upper arm can turn black and blue.
Improving your form and lifting only the weight you can handle are the best ways to prevent pectoral strains. Milder strains don’t require a surgery, but in the case of a complete pec rupture, it’s necessary. Besides limiting your training, this injury can also affect your capacity to perform everyday activities.
To cut the long story short, proper form, quality equipment, and warm-up exercises are crucial for preventing fitness injuries.