Grant Padley, D.O. is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Banner Estrella Medical Center. His office can be reached at 602-277-6211.
Question: I recently began a weight training program for the first time. What type of injuries can occur during weight training, and what can I do to avoid these injuries?
Answer: There’s no question about it, weight training is a hard work – high reward activity. There are numerous benefits to hauling around those weights, such as a toned, muscular physique, greater muscle and bone strength, increased metabolism, weight loss, as well as improved balance and coordination.
However, with the potential benefits comes the potential for injury, and nothing can interrupt your weight training routine and goals quicker than an injury. Tears, sprains, strains, pulls and fractures are not unfamiliar terms for those involved in weight training. Injuries generally fall into two categories: those that are acute and happen suddenly and those that develop gradually. Injuries to the rotator cuff and shoulder, wrists, elbows, lower back and knees are some of the most typical weight training injuries.
The type and severity of injury are highly variable and often depend on the cause. There are several common causes of weight training injuries, such as: poor form or technique, lifting too much weight, overtraining, insufficient warm up and stretching, accidentally dropping weights, and lack of concentration. By understanding and taking precautions against each of these causes, you can greatly reduce your risk of injury. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer or qualified gym staff in the beginning can help instill proper form and techniques that can decrease your chance of injury as well.
Still, one of the best ways to avoid injury, especially serious injury, is to listen to your body. Pain is your body alerting you that something is wrong. Don’t ignore it. If you feel pain, reduce your weight or stop and try again in a few days.
Before beginning any weight training program, always consult your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to endure a rigorous exercise regimen.
Reviewed January 2011