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8 Common Bodybuilding Injuries and How to Prevent Them

common bodybuilding injuries

So, you are at the gym, pumping iron, feeling the gains and generally having a good time working out to your satisfaction. Then a shot of pain rings out through your body. Before you know it, you are out for the count for a few days due to an injury. You didn’t think it would happen to you but it most certainly can. The fact is that workout injuries can occur anytime to anyone. According to statistics, the overall injury rate is around 0.12 injuries per bodybuilder per year. 45.1% of bodybuilders tend to report symptoms of injuries while they are training. It does not matter how experienced or how fit you are. You can still get an injury.

In fact, injuries are rather common in the world of bodybuilding. This is to be expected considering the immense physical and physiological stress that bodybuilders put on their bodies. Even fitness supplements cannot fully eliminate the effects of that stress. Injuries can end up forcing you to lose your gains. Of course, you will also end up missing your workouts. Moreover, it can take a while before you can start training heavily like you used to. In some cases, injuries may even end a bodybuilder’s promising career.

Are injuries inescapable? Not at all! Is it possible to prevent injuries? Definitely! In fact, that is exactly what we will be looking into here in this article.

lifting bodybuilders exercise

Is Lifting Dangerous?

It is easy to see why people would think that lifting is a dangerous activity. Lifting is a critical part of any bodybuilder’s exercise regimen. It is also the basic exercise in weightlifting and powerlifting.

Lifting also happens to be one of the safer exercises out there. Unfortunately, not all people who lift do it correctly. Lots of amateurs and even experienced athletes bring a lot of mistakes into the exercise. From really pathetic techniques to poor form, there is no shortage of mistakes that are spread around by them. Of course, there are the so-called enthusiasts, as well, who are more concerned about pumping their egos rather than pumping iron. Suffice to say, issues like these end up causing more injuries, giving lifting a bad name.

Of course, the same is true in varying degrees about the other staple exercises of bodybuilding. Let us take a look at the common causes of injuries.

Common Reasons for Bodybuilding Injuries

There are several potential causes for injuries at the gym. We shall now take a look at these potential causes and how they can affect your body. This is essential for knowing how to avoid possible injuries down the line.

poor workout techniques

Poor Techniques

The biggest source of workout injuries, especially in the arena of lifting is faulty and poor techniques. These poor techniques are often the result of a lack of information and are commonly seen among amateurs. Always consult with a professional certified trainer to get the technique correct. In fact, getting the technique right should be your first priority. Lifting heavier weights and chugging fitness supplements come much later. Poor technique can cause a muscle to jerk or even tear. It can even end up destroying the fragile connective tissues in your body. After all, your limbs and muscles can only move in specific directions, especially when you are stress loading with weight. Poor techniques force them to move in other directions leading to injury.

Faulty Warm-Ups

Warm-ups are critical no matter what kind of exercise you perform. You must always include warm-ups and stretching in your workout regimen. You should also include a cooling down period. Without warm-ups, your muscles are suddenly forced into the workout unprepared.

Warm-ups should be done for a few minutes so that blood flow to the muscles is increased. The increased blood flow brings with it more oxygen and fuels that the muscles need for energy production. Without this extra boost of energy and oxygen, your muscles cannot perform at their peak level. Now, as the name suggests, warm-ups also increase your body temperature and that reduces the possibility of injuries. It enhances the suppleness of your muscles. That improves the overall mechanical efficiency and even the power of the muscles. A good warm-up will also prepare your cardiovascular system for the workout. Your heart and your blood vessels get enough time to adjust to the increased needs of your muscles. Moreover, warm-ups will spread your fitness supplements to your muscles, giving them the boost they need. So, make sure you have your fitness supplements prior to your workout.

The cool-down routine is essential as well. It brings your breathing and heart rate back to normal, cooling your overall body temperature. It also returns muscles to their optimal state, reducing the chances of strains. Make sure that you have some post-workout fitness supplements to recover faster.

Problem Areas and Exercises

While working out, you may come across problem areas. These areas will hurt when performing certain exercises. You should immediately switch exercises that do not affect those areas. You need to provide relief to those areas. If you continue putting pressure on those areas, you will inevitably end up having a serious injury.

Excessive Weights

This is another common source of injury among bodybuilders and lifters, especially among those new to the scene and amateurs. Many bodybuilders, out of some misguided sense of pride or of their own ability, try to lift weights that exceed their capabilities. In these cases, the bodybuilder starts by curling the weights up and use the momentum of their bodies to curl the weights to the end. However, this puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder joints and lower backs. After all, the muscles are not pulling up the weights. Instead, it is the speed of the action which does so.

This inevitably creates tremendous risk for injuries. Never try to lift weights that you are not comfortable with. Pushing your limits is important but in a studied and smart manner through incremental additions to your weights. You can easily realize if the weights are beyond your capability if you are unable to manage them while lowering it. If you need to jerk or heave, it is too heavy for you. Remember that fitness supplements are not some superhuman serum. Drinking them won’t make you suddenly stronger.

List of Common Injuries

There really is no shortage of injuries when it comes to working out in general. As discussed before, most of these injuries are the result of poor form and techniques. As such, these can be easily avoided. The more difficult injuries are the ones that result from repetitive movements and wear and tear. These injuries are harder to treat as they are the result of training itself. Nonetheless, it is important to know what kind of injuries you can face while bodybuilding and how to avoid and treat them. Let’s take a look at common bodybuilding injuries, shall we?

1. Disc Herniation and Degenerative Disc Disease

This injury is most commonly the result of poor lifting techniques. Localized back pain is one of the symptoms of this injury. Another symptom is a sensation of tingling or numbness that travels down to the legs. If you get hurt when trying to pick up weights, chances are that you are experiencing disc herniation. There is another possibility and that is degenerative disc disease. This medical term basically refers to excessive wear and tear occurring on the spine.

localized back pain

Both of these injuries can be aggravated by poor posture. It is all the more likely if the poor posture extends to your workout and lifting sessions. No amount of fitness supplements can help with the injuries unless you start correcting your posture. Keeping the spine in the right position will put the least stress on the spine and discs. Moreover, the core muscles can be engaged more effectively.

To identify the right posture, simply stand straight with the back against the wall. You’ll notice a natural curve in the lower back region. This small curve is essential while exercising. Referred to as a neutral spine, this position must be maintained for all strength workouts. While lifting, you must hinge at your hips while engaging your core. This will ensure a strong and neutral spine.

2. Lower Back Pain

Pain or injuries in the lower back are common even outside the bodybuilding world. Among bodybuilders, it is rare to find someone who hasn’t suffered from some kind of back pain at some point in their career. Disc herniations, as we just discussed, is just one of the different kinds of lower back injuries that a bodybuilder can face. Deadlifts and squats, when performed incorrectly, put the most strain and pressure on the lower back region.

There are several simple and tested ways to avoid this issue. Start by increasing your mobility. Most importantly, focus on your form instead of the weight you lift. Don’t let your ego get the best of you. It is much safer to execute deadlifts with lighter weights than heavier weights with incorrect form. It will be more effective in the long run as well. Remember, fitness supplements won’t help you prevent disc herniations.

3. IT Band Syndrome

Runners are the most susceptible to this injury but it can affect any athlete or bodybuilder whose form is less than correct. Usually referred to as IT Band, the Iliotibial band is a thick ligament located on the side of the thigh. It goes all the way to the outside of the knee. If it is injured, you can experience pain anywhere from your hip to your knee. Swelling in this region is also a possibility. As you can imagine, it can make even your non-workout life miserable.

Correcting the form is the best way to tackle and eliminate the issue. While running or performing leg exercises, your knees must be aligned with your toes. Your hips must stay in a neutral position by stopping your pelvis from dropping to the other side. You should also focus on strengthening your glutes. Doing so can reduce the stress that the IT Band faces. In turn, you get to strengthen and even stabilize your joints at the hip and the knee. If you are already suffering from this syndrome, you can use a foam roller to provide relief. Deep tissue massages can also decrease some of the symptoms temporarily. Ensure proper hydration during workouts with fitness supplements.

4. Rotator Cuff Tears

One of the causes for these kinds of injuries is the overuse of your shoulder muscles. Nonetheless, the most common cause happens to be the humble bench press. The biggest culprits are incorrect forms and using too much weight. These result in the front deltoid muscles being overused instead of activating the pectoral muscles giving rise to shoulder injuries.

overuse shoulder muscles

During bench presses, you must focus on your elbows. Ensure that they do not flare out. Instead, keep them at 45 degrees for the duration of the exercises.  Additionally, you must retract your scapula and fix your trap muscles to the bench before the lift. In other words, it should seem like you are hugging the bench with your shoulders.

The fact is shoulder injuries are difficult to recover from and rotator cuff tears are more so. In severe cases, you may even require surgery. However, the pain may still make a return despite surgery and recovery. Moreover, it only gets worse as you age. Considering how critical the shoulders are to bodybuilding, you need to do whatever possible to avoid hurting your shoulders during your workouts. Otherwise, even picking up a bucket of fitness supplements can be painful.

5. SLAP Tears

While we just discussed how rotator cuff injuries affect the shoulder, the fact is that it is just one of the areas in the shoulder that can be affected by injuries. The labrum is another one. The labrum is the cartilage tissue in the shoulder that keeps the ball of the shoulder joint in the correct place. When it gets damaged, you experience what is called a SLAP tear. SLAP is short for Superior Labral tear Anterior to Posterior. This injury occurs due to repetitive stress from repeated motions such as overhead lifting or throwing. Acute trauma can also result in SLAP tears.

As such, you need to be wary of exercises that put repeated stress on your arms when they are fully rotated or are overhead. There are a few symptoms that can indicate a SLAP tear. You are unable to raise your arms without pain or you feel that one or both of your shoulders is weak. A SLAP tear is a possibility if you notice catching or popping while performing certain movements. While minor SLAP tears can heal on their own with time, it is still best to consult a medical professional immediately. SLAP tears can require serious treatments such as surgery or rehab.

Of course, considering the severity of this injury, it is certainly a good idea to take some preventative measures. Always perform warm-ups that target your upper back region before you work out. When exercises, perform only those movements in which your arm can move without causing pain. Of course, it goes without saying; maintain the right shoulder position for any upper body workouts. That means keep your shoulders down and away from your ears! It is also a good idea to avoid strength movements where you need to keep your hands behind you. Definitely avoid any painful movements that put your arms over your head.

6. Hamstring Pulls and Tears

Now, you may think that bodybuilders are not prone to hamstring injuries. However, you would be wrong. Hamstring injuries can affect all kinds of athletes and not just runners and sprinters. Hamstring injuries are generally the result of explosive activities such as jumping and sprinting. Such activities demand a lot from the hamstrings. Once the injury occurs, you will realize it immediately. After all, you will be experiencing a sharp and shooting pain occurring in the back of your thigh.

shooting pain in the back thigh

When a pull or a tear happens, the first step you must take immediately is ice. Next, you need a doctor to determine if it is a pull or a tear. Hamstring pulls are definitely easier to recover from but you’ll have to take some precautions after recovery. Hamstring tears, on the other hand, can take up to a year or more for you to recover from. At the same time, you become susceptible to another tear. Scar tissues, after all, lack the same flexibility as natural muscles.

As such, it becomes imperative that you know how you can avoid hamstring injuries. While correct form is essential, stretching is critical. Always perform thorough warm-ups including easy sets of the exercises. Drink some fitness supplements before your workout. Stretching alone cannot prevent hamstring injuries. However, regular stretching does improve muscle flexibility which, in turn, reduces the likelihood of injuries. Additionally, there are exercises that can strengthen the hamstring while enhancing its flexibility. As the glutes provide significant support to hamstrings, strengthen them as well. Deadlifts are a good option. Don’t forget your fitness supplements to ensure that you have the energy you need.

7. Tennis Elbow

Also called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow arises out of overuse of the elbow muscles. Specifically, it is caused by excess gripping, putting strain on the elbow muscles responsible for the action. Common symptoms include pain on the outside of your elbow. You will also feel a stretch along the forearm muscle’s outside when you straighten the arm, pulling the palm towards your body. Compared to other injuries, tennis elbows are generally not a big issue if you take the right steps. Fitness supplements cannot help alone

The first step to take with tennis elbow is to reduce the inflammation. Regular massages and stretching your muscles can help improve the blood flow, leading to an alleviation of some symptoms. You can also start to strengthen the gripping muscles gradually. As the symptoms subside, the workload can slowly be increased with wrist exercises. You need to ensure that you don’t try and push through the pain. You need to discard that age-old bodybuilding mantra while you are recovering. Pushing through the pain may end up making the condition worse by exacerbating your symptoms.

To prevent tennis elbow, you should perform heavy gripping exercises to start off your workout. Apart from warming up the whole body, these exercises will build your grip strength. It is also a good idea to include exercises that can maintain the flexibility of your wrists such as pushups and crawling. This will also help in maintaining forearm flexibility.

8. Jumper’s Knee

Known in medical circles as patellar tendonitis, this injury is prevalent in all sports, even bodybuilding. It is so named because the injury affects the patellar tendon which is located below the kneecap. As with many other bodybuilding injuries as seen in this article, this injury often arises out of improper form during your workouts. If you are experiencing this issue, your first priority should be to provide ample rest to the knee. Since it will be inflamed, you must avoid putting stress on the area at all costs. You can focus on slowly improving up the leg strength once the inflammation subsides. You will need the help of a therapist to help you recover from this injury and build up your strength.

If you notice that the pain originates at the front of your knee, your posture during squats might be to blame. During squats, most people aim to keep the knees behind their toes during squats. While that is certainly correct, there is one more thing you must ensure. Your knees must be in the correct position with respect to your ankles and hips. The ideal position is where the middle of the knee tracks over the 2nd toe. This is the alignment to follow irrespective of the exercise you are performing. Whenever you are performing lunges, squats or other exercises, check your knees and adjust immediately. It will reduce lateral stresses to the knee which can cause knee issues to flare up.

These cover most of the common injuries which plague bodybuilders. Of course, simply knowing what these injuries are isn’t going to be enough. That’s why we will be learning how to prevent bodybuilding injuries next.

How to Avoid Injuries While Bodybuilding?

Let’s face it. As bodybuilders, we are intimately familiar with pain. However, an injury is an entirely different matter. It is imperative that you take steps to prevent injuries. Otherwise, you will lose all the hard work that you put in towards your gains. Working out through an injury is only going to make matters worse. Your recovery time will jump through the roof or worse, you’ll need surgery and physical therapy. Remember that old adage? No pain, no gain? That doesn’t apply here. In fact, you may end up worsening the injuries and hurting yourself. To help avoid such a situation, check out the following injury prevention tips.

Push-up

Warm-Ups

As we have seen throughout this article, working out without warming up first is a surefire way of getting an injury. To do so, you should perform 15 to 20 reps of the exercise that you want to perform. However, you should only use very light weights for the same. Walking or light jogging on a treadmill for around 10 minutes can also help your body to warm up. Warm-ups will loosen up your stiff muscles. When performed correctly, they can also improve your workout performance. You should have some fitness supplements before your warm-ups to prep your body with energy for the main exercises. After all, the warm-ups will effectively distribute the fitness supplements across your body.

Stretch

After the warm-ups, it is time to perform some stretches. Avoid trying to stretch before warm-ups as the latter warms the muscles up and makes them more flexible. There are several benefits to stretching. It can improve your physical fitness, reduce muscle tension and soreness. Before an exercise, focus on stretching the muscles that you will be working on. Take the joint in question to the end of its range of motion. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. It is vital that you hold the stretch. Do not bounce as bouncing muscles that are not warm or stretched can cause injuries. As for fitness supplements, they are best consumed before warm-ups.

Stay Focused

When you are churning out those reps, it is easy to lose focus. However, that is the easiest way to get injured or injure someone else. You need to pay attention to your actions and movements. It is extremely easy to drop weights on someone, including yourself, when you are distracted. Of course, a lack of focus on your own posture can also lead to injuries if your form wavers. So, stop checking out that attractive guy or girl working out next to you and focus.

Shoes

This point cannot be stressed enough. When working out, you need a proper set of shoes. We recommend closed comfortable shoes with a stiff sole. They keep your feet comfortable while allowing you to maintain a grip on the floor without slipping. Avoid sandals, flip-flops and other open-toed shoes like the plague. They will not do you any favors whatsoever. Save them for a trip to the beach. Open-toed shoes cannot protect you against falling weights. They are also helpless if you hit a toenail on a bench.

Diet and Fitness Supplements

Of course, as a bodybuilder, you should already be following a robust meal plan that contains a high amount of protein. As you know, protein is integral to muscle building and recovery. Eating the wrong foods can cause digestion problems and distress which will affect your performance during workouts. Some of them may even cause cramps! It is a good idea to have some healthy protein recipes before working out. Of course, fitness supplements should also be an addition to your diet. Good fitness supplements can give you the necessary protein while improving your workout performance. Take your time and find the right fitness supplements that meet your specific needs.

Vary Your Workouts

Overusing a set of muscles is a great way to get injured. By repeating exercises, the same muscles are being moved in the same way, leading to repetitive use injuries such as tendinitis. As such, always plan out your workouts such that different muscles get targeted each day. For example, you can dedicate one day to your upper body, the next day for the legs and the following day for biceps, etc. This variation allows the muscles to properly recover from the sessions.

What to Do After a Bodybuilding Injury?

Despite your best efforts, you are likely to suffer an injury at one point in time or the other. The sport of bodybuilding is filled with injuries. Take Ronnie Coleman for example. The 8-time Mr. Olympia has undergone 11 surgeries! Of course, being Ronnie Coleman, he is still giving it his best shot.  His story is simply an illustration that success in bodybuilding does not come without injury. That holds true for any sport really.

In short, if you are aiming to be the best, you need to be prepared for injuries. Follow the steps given below when you experience an injury so that you can recover faster. After all, you want to heal faster and get back to your weights, right?

bodybuilding injury

Visit a Doctor

This, of course, goes without saying. Unless the injury is a minor one like a strain or sprain, you should consult a medical professional. Don’t postpone or delay it in hopes of letting the injury heal on its own. This can lead to complications down the line, delaying your complete recovery. Some injuries may even worsen with time unless the underlying issues are addressed, which is something only a trained health practitioner can do. The doctor can also suggest suitable fitness supplements that can help you recover faster.

Follow PRICE

This is a simple acronym designed to help you remember the steps you must take for recovery. The letters of PRICE stand for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Protection: The injured area must be protected from further injuries or stress. This can be achieved by providing support with splints or braces

Rest: The injured area needs to be given time to recover and heal. This means you should not perform any workouts or exercises that put stress on that area. Minor issues tend to resolve in a couple of days with ample rest.

Ice: Ice helps you to limit the inflammation and swelling in the injured area. It also reduces internal blood loss. At the same time, it can reduce the amount of scar tissue that appears after the injury heals. Never ever use hot water for an injury. It will only make matters worse.

Compression: Keeping the injured area compressed will help in decreasing the overall swelling. Use an ace wrap or even a towel to apply compression.

Elevation: Keep the injured area elevated above the heart level. This slows down the blood flow to the affected area. In turn, it decreases swelling and blood loss.

That concludes our article on common bodybuilding injuries and how to prevent them. As you have seen, injuries are generally the result of a lack of knowledge. Knowing what to do and when can go a long way in keeping you injury-free. It is mostly about common sense as well. For example, you should never do an exercise that exacerbates your pain or injury symptoms.  Be a little intelligent, get some rest and let your injury and body recover.

Of course, make sure that you have your fitness supplements regularly. The protein content of these fitness supplements can go a long way in helping you recover faster. After all, we know how much you want to get back to training. If you want to buy fitness supplements designed for performance, check out MMSUA now. We have a vast range of bodybuilding and fitness supplements like ATP+Creatinol Serum and more!