Weigh lifting is a great way to get in shape and stay in shape. However, like many physical activities, it is not without its set of risks. Probably the most common injury from weight lifting is back injury. But, while back injuries are a potential risk from weightlifting, if they do occur, it is most often because of poor technique or other errors made by the lifter, most of which can be easily avoided.
There are several possible back injuries that can occur during weight lifting, the most common are stress fractures that occur when flexing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the back against resistance such as what one does during weight lifting. These types of injuries are most commonly caused by improper technique during squats, deadlifts and clean and jerks. Older people who may already be suffering from degenerative disc disease, or people who may already be recuperating from a back injury are particularly susceptible to weight lifting related back injuries. There are several ways to avoid back injuries while weightlifting:
- Know your limitations, do not lift beyond your weight max based on your body condition
- For many exercises it is easier — and for those with an injured or weakened back especially — safer to work out using weight machines over free weights
- If you do choose to use free weights, make sure you work with a spotter
- While the use of weight belts for most lifters generally is agreed to have little value, for those with an injured back they can be useful in preventing further injury. Check with your doctor or personal trainer if they think you should use a back belt.
- Do not attempt to do the weightlifting exercises that most often result in back injury i.e.: squats, deadlifts, clean and jerks, without proper training and or supervision.
Can You Ever Lift Again Once You Have Injured Your Back?
We’ve spoken a lot about preventing back injuries while weight lifting, what about returning to lifting after a back injury, even one that may or may not have even been caused by lifting?
First off you can and will return, but do not expect to return exactly where you left off. You may be able to ease back into your exact routine; you may have to modify your routine to suit your current condition.
Only your trainer or spine care professional will be able to accurately advise you.
Most fitness pros agree, however, that after an injury reestablishing that “mind-muscle link” that gets the body back into muscle building mode is critically important, and the hardest aspect to the road back.
Therefore, it is best to start slow and ease your body back into bodybuilding mode when coming back from an injury, just as you would do from taking any significant break in your regular weight lifting routine.