Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength and help support other athletic endeavors through increased muscle endurance. Yet, as much benefit as weightlifting can have, it can also have disastrous effects on a person’s spine if not undertaken correctly and with the proper form.
Ideal Spine Health Center can’t speak highly enough about the lasting benefits of positive weight training. However, we’ve also seen a fair share of patients at our Boise, Idaho, practice that have overcompensated and caused harm to themselves. From small spinal “tweaks” to full-fledged subluxations and slipped discs, we’ve seen it all.
For those thinking about taking up weightlifting, a proper approach is key. Critical elements to consider include:
- Focus: Which muscle groups are you seeking to train? What are the roles of these muscles? Finding your focus will help you better understand the right exercises to perform. For example, understanding the role of glutes in lower body support means understanding the right way to engage them during a deadlift.
- Strength vs. endurance: Strength and endurance are two sides of the same coin. Reps, weight, and sets scale and change based on how you’re training your muscles. Even the types of lifts can change. Knowing your goal means approaching lifting properly.
- Equipment: Using equipment appropriately is absolutely key in proper weightlifting. Equipment used outside of its intended purpose works against you, which means more opportunities to hurt yourself.
Once you’ve taken stock of the above items, it comes down to proper technique. This changes for every single type of lift you perform. It’s important to become intimately familiar with each type of weightlifting exercise you plan on performing, so you know the difference between right and wrong form.
Where do people go wrong?
Understanding where weightlifters go astray is important in maintaining good form. It allows you to foresee mistakes and avoid them for smarter, safer lifting. Some examples include:
- When trying to move up in weight, many people will strain themselves trying to get through a set. Don’t be afraid to scale back down if you’re not ready for a full set at a higher weight;
- Imitating others around them or using unreliable resources to mimic lifting form is a fast way for beginning lifters to injure themselves, even at low weights. Use a proven, credible resource for lifting advice;
- Compensating strength with muscles not designed for a particular lift is a great way to injure yourself. Focus on the specific muscle (or group) that the exercise is designed for and scale back reps/sets/weight to accomplish it using only those muscles.
It all comes back to good form and a thorough understanding of the exercise you’re trying to perform. Good information, proper execution, and constant body awareness throughout a weightlifting routine will go a long way towards preventing injuries to the spine.
Accidents happen, even for experienced weightlifters. If you lift a weight and feel pain in your back, stop what you’re doing immediately and make sure to get in touch with Ideal Spine Health Center.
We welcome weightlifters of all calibers to our Boise, ID practice and can employ Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) to assess injuries to your spine. This authoritative evaluation of your individual spine can help us pinpoint what went wrong with your lift and help you correct your spine and your form so that it doesn’t happen again! Contact us today for a free consultation.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.