As a weightlifter, you expose yourself to the risk of becoming injured, no matter how experienced you are at weightlifting and regardless of your level of fitness. If you have sustained an injury whilst lifting weights, or are experiencing muscle imbalances, there are corrective exercises you can carry out to help overcome your injury.
Common types of injuries for weightlifters
Shoulder impingement is a common injury among weightlifters. This irritation or ‘squeezing’ of the rotator cuff tendons underneath the acromion at the point of the shoulder, is typically caused by the narrowing of the space for the rotator cuff tendons to slide under the acromion. When the space is narrowed, it causes irritation.
A lumbar disc prolapse is another common injury for weightlifters. The injury is caused by the nucleus located within the intervertebral discs becoming overloaded and protruding out of the disc, causing sciatica and nerve compression. A lumber disc prolapse can cause back, buttock and leg pain.
Bursitis is an injury weightlifters are exposed to that occurs when the bursa sacs that protect the shoulder become inflamed, typically through tendonitis, a common overuse injury. Tendonitis is caused when the biceps’ tendon or the rotator cuffs become inflamed as a result of the surrounding structures being pinched.
Patellofemoral maltracking is another injury that weightlifters are prone to. The injury is caused by a shifting of the patella (kneecap) as the leg straightens or bends, often due to muscle imbalance. When the patella is knocked ‘off track’, it can cause irritation and inflammation.
Corrective exercises lifters can carry out to combat injury
Neglecting training practices, muscular imbalances and failing to carry out corrective exercises can result in weightlifters becoming more susceptible to injury, side-lining injuries and prolonging recovery time.
Shoulder or deltoid workouts should ideally be performed once a week. One effective way to work out the shoulders is to use a Hammer Strength shoulder press machine. Each side is independently weighted meaning it is not possible to over compensate with one arm for another, thus enabling muscles to develop at an equal rate.
Scapular movement training is effective in improving shoulder performance. Learning how to move the scapulae freely is essential for weightlifting and can help make lifters less susceptible to injury.
Carrying out retraction rows can be an effective way to increase stability of the scapulae (shoulder blades), allowing for improved performance and resistance to injury.
Multi-direction pull aparts are also considered an effective exercise to help balance large volumes of pressing with different pulling angles and by doing so increase stability of the scapular and strengthen the posteriors shoulder and rhomboids.
To work out the lower body, the reverse overhead lunge is a great corrective exercise to get the stabilising and core muscles working.
The reverse lunge involves moving from a kneeling to standing position, whilst bringing the arms overhead. As well as working the core muscles, this effective corrective exercise helps to loosen the thoracic spin, as well as working the shoulder blade muscles.
Injury is an inherent risk all weightlifters face. If you do sustain an injury it is important to carry out effective corrective exercises regularly to help put you on the road to a quicker recovery.
This blog post was written by Hadyn Luke, Director of CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness). CMSFItness are specialists in health and fitness training. Based in Huddersfield, CMS Fitness Courses offer a diverse range of high-quality personal training and fitness courses in the West Yorkshire region. CMS Fitness is recognised as a premium provider of health and fitness courses that offer a variety of commercial and government-funded training programmes for people of varying ages and backgrounds across Yorkshire.