Injuries from strength training – Introduction (2 min read)
Have you ever done a deadlift and strained your back, or completed a pull up and hurt your neck? If that sounds like you, then stick around, and let’s unpack why this happens….
The human body can be confusing at times, especially when it comes to our muscles. One day you feel better than ever, and the next you wake up with an ache you can’t seem to shake all because you slept funny.
We regularly engage our muscles in every movement; from walking, standing, running and so on. But what about sitting or lying down?
Muscles can shorten or lengthen through joint motion; for example, when you’re sitting, your hips are in flexion. This causes a shortening of the hip flexor muscles, resulting in stiffness & tension, especially if it’s done for long enough. Now, imagine you take that stiffness to the gym and try to squat… The tightness inhibits your glutes from activating, resulting in the load heading straight to your back. Now this isn’t necessarily going to affect you straight away, but when the 5th ‘leg day’ arrives you can be sure a visit to the physio will follow.
So, what are important indicators to look for?
- When working out, pay attention to where the load is going; specifically, where the weight feels most prominent. This will allow you to modify the exercise and prevent pushing past the threshold, where injuries can occur.
- Are you moving enough? Tissue accumulates tension when in the same position for long periods of time. Movement helps reduce this by allowing the tissue to migrate. The less tension you have the more mobile and pain free you will feel, reducing the risk of injury.
- Are there any exercises that cause pain or injury? Again, look to where the load is going in your body during those exercises, and by taking the time, you can often find the culprit. For example, you might be shrugging your shoulders when doing a pull up because your lats are not engaging, causing neck pain after a while.
Our bodies are complex & we can suffer pain/injury for many reasons, but there are common patterns we can follow to mitigate this & understand why it happens.
When coaching clients, one of the fundamentals we teach is to be able to feel the tension in the body, how each exercise functions in terms of the muscle sequence used to produce the movement. If you understand and can apply that principle, then you’re already ahead & can often prevent any potential pain/injury.
We also advise you to move as much as possible. These can be micro movements in your chair, getting up to grab water etc. The more movement you get throughout your body the less tension your tissues will carry.
Apply those principles and you will become an expert on how your own body works!
Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope the information was helpful.
Please comment below or get in touch if you have any questions.
Disclaimer: If you are currently experiencing severe/chronic pain, then you should be consulting an allied health professional (physiotherapist/osteopath etc.)