Keep it strong and healthy: Avoid muscle and joint damage when lifting
Protect your bones, joints and muscles from weightlifting injuries with tips from HCA Florida Healthcare.
Weightlifters love their muscles. And when you love something, you want to take care of it. In the case of heavy lifting, that means, along with strengthening your muscles, working to protect them from injury.
Lifting can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but injuries can keep you out of the gym. These injuries include muscle and joint injuries like tears, sprains and strains.
Know the common types weightlifting injury
Most weightlifting injuries aren’t caused by contact, nor are many considered to be medical emergencies. However, they can be painful and impact your daily life.
Weightlifters may be prone to back and spine injuries, including herniated disks. Your vertebrae in your spine are cushioned by soft disks, but when parts of these disks slip out of their normal position, they can cause pain, tingling, weakness or numbness.
Many injuries from weightlifting come from overuse when athletes repeat the same motion. These injuries are compounded when lifters don’t allow sufficient rest and recovery time between sessions.
Examples of overuse injuries include:
- Bursitis, or inflammation in the fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints
- Rotator cuff tears, which impact the shoulder
- Tendonitis, or inflammation of any of your tendons, the tissue that connects muscle to bone
Because you’re holding weights, your wrists and hands are always working when you’re weightlifting. As a result, whether because you’re lifting too much weight or doing too many reps, you may experience overuse injuries in the wrists like carpal tunnel syndrome or compression of the nerves in the wrist.
Learn how to protect your muscles and joints
You can’t avoid all weightlifting injuries. But you can take simple steps to protect your muscles and joints, including:
- Add cross-training. From cardio activities like running and biking to yoga and stretching, adding some variety to your workouts will work your muscles in new ways that help strengthen them.
- Have a spotter. Pushing yourself (within reason) is great. But whether you’re adding more weight or doing more reps, it’s important to have a spotter there to help you if you need it.
- Incorporate rest days. Your muscles need time to recover. That’s because fatigued muscles have a higher risk of injury than rested ones. Build days off into your routine and, if you still feel the need to be active, add a low-impact activity like walking.
- Know your limits. Build up your strength over time and avoid lifting more than you can handle.
- Practice proper form. Improper form can lead to injury risk, especially overuse injuries. Ask a trainer for a demonstration if you’re trying out new lifts.
- Rotate your muscle groups. Weightlifters know not to skip leg day, but it’s important to rotate all the major muscle groups so you’re not working the same fatigued muscles day after day.
- Work opposing muscle groups. Working opposite muscle groups can reduce injury risk by allowing one muscle group to rest while the other is engaged. Examples of opposing muscle groups include the biceps and triceps, chest and back, and quadriceps and hamstrings.
Healthy muscles are happy muscles
Don’t let nagging injuries keep you out of the gym. If an injury is keeping you from your gains, our specialists are ready with a wide range of orthopedic services to help you feel you get back in the game.
Call (844) 671-4206 to get connected with an orthopedic doctor and find the care you need.