Are you using potentially dangerous exercises in your workout?
You have to be very careful with strength training equipment because it may not be the most effective or functional available.
How do you know that the exercises you are performing are safe?
Check below for some potentially dangerous exercises with suggestions on how they should be done correctly or avoided completely.
Bodybuilding through weightlifting, if done wrongly, is a sure recipe for injuries. Sometimes, even painful and permanent injuries will derail your bodybuilding program.
This article will address the common injury-prone mistakes bodybuilders make in their quest to build a fit and muscular body and how to avoid those weightlifting injuries.
Many people who exercise in gyms complain about backaches, and they blame it on their desk-bound jobs sitting in front of the computer for long stretches of time. Perhaps they are right.
Then why is it that more bodybuilders have backaches when compared to their non-gym-going colleagues?
Aren’t those people who lift weights supposed to have stronger back muscles to support their musculature and be less prone to backaches?
Perhaps you are getting the drift. Many bodybuilders suffer from common weightlifting injuries that they don’t even know it.
Many people actually think that if they do not suffer any pain when they are lifting weights, they are not injured.
This body-building myth must be debunked right now. You see, many weight lifting injuries are very often sustained over a period of time.
It is the wrong weightlifting form being repeated over and over through many training sessions that causes the wear and tear of joints, tendons, cartilages, and muscles.
Many injuries do not just occur immediately or overnight, like the weights dropping on your toes or painful muscle tears during your lifts.
Therefore, executing your weightlifting movements in the correct form and technique not only helps your muscles grow big and fast, but it is also crucial to prevent bodybuilding injuries.
Common causes of injuries can also be attributed to lifting weights that are too heavy or to a bodybuilder who may be sick.
And yet, heads to the gym when his condition is not optimal for handling the weight he usually lifts because he is in a physically weakened state.
So when the weights are too heavy or you are too weak to lift the weights you usually do, you are forced to cheat by swinging the weights up using momentum and lowering the weights using gravity.
These movements not only waste your time in the gym, but they are definitely not helpful in helping you build muscles. They will cause injuries.
An example of a common exercise done in the wrong form and with a recipe for injuries is the common barbell curl.
Barbell Biceps Curl: This exercise is perhaps the most commonly executed in the wrong form, causing injuries that people don’t even know why they are injured.
In every gym, you will see people swinging their barbells with their bodies rocking to and fro in the movements.
The rocking movement places tremendous stress on the shoulder joint, which is the most unstable joint in the human body, and the lower back.
Over time, the shoulder joints and lower back will pay a heavy price for the wrong form and technique used during the lift.
Other common bodybuilding exercises that are often wrongly executed are the lat pulldown, bench press, leg extension, military press, and the list goes on.
Common Bodybuilding Weightlifting Injuries
Traditional abdominal exercises such as the sit-up, incline sit-up, and hip-raises are exercises that are used to train the obliques and the upper and lower abdominals.
They are performed by first anchoring the feet on an abdominal board, which prevents you from sliding back, then raising your shoulders up towards your feet and tensing your abs at the top of the movement.
Slowly lower your shoulders back down, and then complete the movement again.
The dangers of performing this movement are the shearing forces on the vertebrae and spinal discs when you have a flexed and rounded spine.
In this position, the pressure is mostly placed on a very small area of the disc area, which can cause small ruptures.
The safest and most productive way to train the abs is to use the brace and hollow technique.
This is a basic isometric exercise that helps strengthen the abs and the muscular girdle around your waist.
The pec deck is an exercise that trains the chest (pectorals) and shoulder (front deltoid) muscles.
This exercise is performed by sitting at the machine with your back flat against the back pad.
Place your forearms on the padded levers, and position your upper arms parallel to the ground.
Pushing the levers slowly together and squeezing your chest muscles at the end of the movement. Return slowly to the starting position.
This exercise is potentially dangerous because it places the shoulder in one of its least stable positions, the dislocation position.
Because of the extreme position when performing this exercise in the starting position, it can also cause tearing of the ligaments and injury to the rotary cuff tendons.
More effective and less dangerous is the bench press, keeping the arms at shoulder width and exercising in the strongest range of motion (partial reps), and the parallel bar dip with the elbows out.
Behind the Neck Press
This exercise trains the neck (traps) and shoulder (deltoid) muscles and is performed by placing a loaded barbell on your upper back, just above the trap muscle.
This exercise is done by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the bar, about three inches wider than the width of your shoulders.
Push the bar overhead to arm’s length, holding, and then slowly lower it back down to your shoulders.
This exercise can also be done seated. Try performing it in a smith machine or power rack for added safety.
This is a workout that places the shoulder joint in the dislocation position, and the range of motion puts unnecessary stress on the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulders.
Many trainees may experience injuries from this behind-the-neck movement. It is the same with sticks, dips, and bench presses for your shoulder work.
The dead lift is a compound movement that works the hips and lower back and also exercises the hamstrings and glutes (buttocks).
You can perform the dead lift by approaching a loaded barbell and taking a stance about as wide as your shoulders.
Grip the bar so that the arms are slightly on the outside of your thighs. Your feet should be pointing straight forward with the shins about two to three inches from the bar.
Heave the load upward using the hips and lower back, keeping the back straight and the bar as close to the shins as possible.
At the top of the movement, hold for a few seconds, and then lower the bar to the starting position.
The exercise has a knock-on growth effect on the whole body when worked hard. The problem with the lift is that if the spine becomes rounded during the lift, it becomes dangerous. Because of the forces working on the vertebrae and the spine, injuries may occur.
A lot of these problems can be solved by keeping the back as straight as possible during the lift and keeping the bar held close to the body during the lift, as the forces are not that excessive.
Leg extensions are arguably one of the most popular leg exercises for strengthening the quadriceps (thigh) muscle.
These are done by using a leg extension machine and sitting in the seat with your feet hooked under the padded lever.
Raise the weight with your legs until they are pointing straight out in front of you.
Hold briefly, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Leg extensions are a potentially dangerous exercise because when only the shin is in motion, the exercise draws the patella back onto the femur, increasing joint compression forces, which can damage the connective tissue and the ligaments supporting the knee joint.
It can also cause anterior knee pain, so people with existing knee problems may aggravate them by doing this exercise.
For greater safety and equal effectiveness, try doing the Squat, Leg Press, and Lunge for safer and more functional use.
Prevention is better than cure, so avoid bodybuilding injuries by having proper warm-ups before exercising and using the correct form and techniques when training with weights.
First Aid Treatment for Bodybuilding Injuries
Below are the immediate first aid treatments you will need to recover from bodybuilding-induced injuries.
That is assuming that the injuries sustained are not so serious that they need immediate medical attention.
Okay, so sometimes body-building exercises hurt. But how do you know when it’s a good hurt or a bad hurt?
The good hurt tends to occur after a bodybuilding workout and feels like a dull ache in the muscle, commonly called “delayed onset muscle soreness” (DOMS).
This type of ache usually indicates that you have been working on that particular muscle hard enough and is a response to the effectiveness of your weightlifting workout, although not always necessarily so.
The bad hurt, which generally signifies an injury, is usually sharp pain, and the pain comes from a specific spot, like a specific joint or muscle spot.
It usually starts as an uncomfortable feeling, which you think will go away. The next thing you know, you are in full-blown pain! What should I do next?
Treat bodybuilding injuries with “RICE”
The acronym RICE is for the general treatment of minor weightlifting injuries such as sprains, joint pains, tendonitis, pulled ligaments, and so on.
R = Rest
I = Ice
C = Compression
E = Elevation
Avoid all activities that aggravate your injury. You may even need to skip your gym workout for a couple of weeks.
Rest can mean the difference between a long recuperation and possibly medically invasive procedures or just a few days or a few weeks off.
Ice helps reduce swelling by restricting blood flow. 15–20 minutes, three to four times a day, is recommended as long as the pain remains.
Put pressure on the injured site to help keep swelling down. You want to wrap a bandage or a towel tightly enough to feel some pressure but not enough to cause numbness or affect blood circulation.
Elevate the injured area to reduce swelling.
Your condition should improve with “RICE” treatment. Most of the time, you should see some results within 20 minutes of treatment.
However, if the pain persists or gets worse, then it time to see your doctor or a sports physician, as your condition may be worse than what was initially thought to be.
Hence, the next time you have backache or joint pain, don’t blame it on other causes if you are a bodybuilder and you lift weights often.
Just reflect on the weightlifting exercises you are doing and examine them as to whether they are the cause of your injuries.
Better yet, hire a personal trainer or a bodybuilding book with picture illustrations and descriptions to learn how to lift weights in the correct form and technique to prevent common and serious weight lifting injuries.