How to weight train safely for injury prevention
Training with weights helps build muscle, essential for optimal sports performance, but also for good physical and postural health in general. In addition, the greater our muscle mass, the higher our metabolic rate, which helps to lose weight or maintain it, since our body consumes more energy (calories) even at rest. In this article we explain how to train with weights safely for injury prevention.
But, like most physical activities that involve repetitive or vigorous movement, weight training can cause injury. However, compared to other sports activities, the injury rate is relatively low.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that soccer and other sports cause 10 to 20 times more injuries per 100 hours of participation than weight training and powerlifting.
What you need to know to prevent weight training injuries
The truth is, it’s easy to avoid injury by using a judicious approach to weight training exercise. Technique is crucial to minimizing injuries. So are judgments about the type of exercise and load, as well as how to push or press, especially in relation to current fitness, strength, bone and muscle health, and whether there is any previous injury or pain.
An important issue to keep in mind is that performing a particular exercise safely may depend on existing bone and muscle structure, either inherent or as a result of a previous injury or accident.
In addition, it is essential to know how to perform each exercise correctly. Each exercise has guidelines for proper form and technical execution. You also have to know how far you can go in the number of repetitions and series. If you exercise frequently and intensely, you are likely to end up with what is called an «overuse» injury. This can often cause tendinitis.
The most serious injuries occur when a structure breaks or wears down over time. Torn or strained muscles and ligaments, tendons pulled from bones, and worn and torn cartilage that doesn’t protect bones from rubbing often present more serious problems.
The most frequent injuries in weight training
In weightlifting, the most commonly injured areas are the lower back, shoulders, and knees. Most related injuries are overuse injuries, and a smaller percentage are more serious. The lower back tops the list, this is the case in many sports. It certainly signifies a human anatomical weakness.
In a study of professional weightlifters, researchers said that «typical injuries in elite weightlifters are primarily overuse injuries, not traumatic injuries that compromise joint integrity.»
However, it would be a mistake to think that weight training at a recreational and fitness level increases the risk of these injuries than being sedentary.
Gradually applying weight to muscles and joints through the use of good technique in a proper training program is likely to make us stronger and more resistant to injury than if we hadn’t done strength training. Even people with arthritis find that weight training improves rather than degrades their condition.