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VERIFIED CONTENTAuthor: Maciej Szukała

Injuries at the gym can most often be the result of inadequate preparation for training. Sometimes a moment of inattention is enough to make it necessary to suspend training for several weeks, if not months. What injuries most often affect bodybuilders and how to deal with them?

Bodybuilding is widely regarded as a sport that does not cause any injuries. In fact, compared to activities such as martial arts, soccer and American football, weight-bearing exercise has fewer injuries. It does not mean, however, that they do not happen at all.

What are the causes of typical injuries in strength athletes?

It is worth remembering that bodybuilding, regardless of the form of practicing it (e.g. body building, powerlifting), is not a contact sport. This means that we are responsible for all injuries ourselves. What are the most common causes of injury while working with loads?

No proper warm-up

Many people who start their adventure with weights are convinced that a good warm-up in the gym comes down to performing a series of repetitions with light weight. Unfortunately, such selective treatment of the first stage of exercise most often ends with the fact that the movement apparatus, but also the muscular apparatus are not properly prepared for the awaiting challenge.

A good warm-up should include both cardio elements, which will stimulate the circulatory and respiratory system, as well as motor exercises aimed at the target muscle group. Many people also use rolling, stretching, or using resistance rubbers. What is all this for?

Warming up is much more than just increasing the body temperature. It is also relaxation and elasticity of muscle fibers, filling them with blood containing nutrients, but also preparing joints and ligaments for heavy overloads.

It is assumed that a good warm-up should last at least 10-15 minutes, and often even more. The harder you plan to do the training, the longer it has to be.

Using too heavy a weight

Another mistake that leads to injury when exercising in the gym is to use it toohigh load in relation to the ability of the exercising person. Paradoxically, this applies not only to beginners, but also advanced bodybuilders, who forget that weight is only one element that translates into the degree of difficulty in a given exercise.

Incorrectly selected weight causes muscles and joints to receive an overly intense stimulus, which in extreme cases may even lead to rupture of an element of the musculo-articular-ligamentous system.

Remember that what weight is optimal depends greatly on your training goal, your experience and body awareness. However, you should be able to do at least one full, technically correct repetition with it. Otherwise, you risk an injury, and the physiological gain from effort will still be disproportionately small in relation to the effort.

Lack of technical correctness

The last reason that increases the risk of an injury in strength sports is a lack of knowledge or skill in the technique of performing an exercise. It is especially important where the muscles and joints are additionally stressed. What are common technical errors?

  • jerky or shortened movements,
  • motion trajectory that does not correspond to biomechanics,
  • compensating for the lack of strength in the trained muscle part by engaging synergistic muscles,
  • dropping the load or completely bypassing the negative phase of the move.

All these errors mean that the person exercising does not actually control the load, which is often shifted by momentum, and not as a result of the work performed. Although visually it may look effective, the training gain will be average at best, and in addition, the risk of damage to the locomotor system as a result of sudden jerks increases dramatically.

What are the most common injuries at the gym?

Injuries as arising during training with weights are sometimes difficult to recognize and associate with a specific movement. What are the most common injuries?

Overload of the shoulder joint

It is created most often as a result of using too much load in relation to the strength of the deltoid muscles, and much more often - the shoulder cone rotator. It can appear during lateral lifts, pulling the barbell along the torso, or military presses.

Radiant pain usually occurs when you raise your arm to shoulder height. These joints, as well as the elbows and knees, are prone to damage, so be especially careful when training your shoulders and keep in mind your exercise technique.

Sprain of the ankle or knee joint

Usually appears in dynamic, related exercisese.g. with crossfit or plyometric exercises (e.g. box jumps). Sprains aren't dangerous in themselves, but they can lead to capsular rupture or fracture.

If you feel throbbing pain and swelling around your knee, immediately stop your activity, secure the joint with an elastic bandage and cool it down. This way you minimize losses and speed up your full recovery.

Pain in the lumbar region of the back

Another injury that often affects people exercising with weights is overloading the lumbar spine.

These types of injuries most often occur when performing a deadlift, a barbell kick or rowing in the fall of the torso. If you suddenly feel local lower back pain during the following repetitions, stop immediately as this has nothing to do with muscle fatigue in the back extensors, but with local overload.

In extreme cases, the accident may result in displacement of the intervertebral disc and rehabilitation lasting several weeks.

This injury can be effectively prevented by strengthening the paraspinal muscles of the core, which are responsible, among others, for for maintaining correct body posture. Thanks to this, the lumbar section will not collapse in an uncontrolled manner during exercise.

Pain in the wrists

Soreness around the wrists most often appears at the beginning of the adventure with the gym. It is related to the inadequacy of the osteoarticular apparatus to the additional load, as well as eager grasping for too much load.

May appear with many different exercises, incl. bending the forearms with a barbell while standing, but also the popular bench press (due to the wrist "escaping" backwards). It is also a common problem for people who include kettlebell weights in their training. The specific type of grip, as well as its dynamic change in many exercises, means that the wrists are exposed to severe overload.

The soreness of the wrists usually passes with time and does not require the use of special therapies or medications.

Chest pain

If you suddenly lose control of the weight while pressing the barbell and feel a sharp pain in the area of ​​the pectoral muscles, it may be a sign of a muscle tear. Unfortunately, these types of injuries will often require surgical intervention and should never be taken lightly.

An exercise that particularly increases the risk of tearing the pectoral muscle is bench press while lying on a flat bench.

Due to the deepened range of motion and the lackthe possibility as strong as when using a barbell to stabilize the area of ​​the shoulder girdle, it is easy for beginners to lower the weight by using the force of gravity, not your own.

How to regain fitness after an injury in the gym?

An injury in sports most often means the need to reduce the training load for at least a few days. At times, it may be necessary to stop training altogether, which can be frustrating. However, it is essential for the body to regenerate.

If you want to get rid of the problem as quickly as possible, contact a sports orthopedist immediately. There is a good chance that instead of suggesting you to quit, he will look for an alternative way to solve the problem.


Fortunately, fractures are relatively rare in strength sports. Bodybuilding is not a dynamic sport, and the loads that occur in it are most often controlled.

However, the risk of bone fracture should not be ignored, when we add elements known from crossfit to typically static training, where joint mobility and dynamic load on connective tissues also matter.

Tennis elbow

Although the condition known as tennis elbow is usually associated with tennis or squash, it can also appear during gym exercises. The main reason for its occurrence is incorrect exercise technique involving the biceps and forearms.

Uncontrolled rotation of the hand inward places an excessive strain on the extensors of the wrist and causes local inflammation, which in its acute form may even cause problems with everyday activities, such as lifting a cup.

If you fail to correct the technique, the pain will persist and an intervention by a physical therapist may be necessary.

Pain medications are not a remedy for injuries

Many athletes, trying to deceive their feelings, try to drown out the pain signals that damaged tissues send to the brain. The use of ketoprofen-based drugs is especially popular due to the strong, fast and long-lasting effect. Unfortunately, it is a double-edged sword.

Although NSAIDs can help to get rid of the unpleasant sensation of pain, they will not eliminate its cause. In practice, this means that the factor that caused the damage (e.g. poor movement technique, uneven muscle tension) still exists and is detrimental to the exerciser.

To make matters worse, it is then easy to believe that if the pain has passed after taking the pill, it meansthat the problem is gone, so you can increase the intensity or frequency of your training sessions. Of course, the result of such action is easy to predict and usually comes down to the next visit to the doctor, but this time with a much more serious problem.

How to avoid injuries at the gym?

Most strength sports injuries can be avoided by using a few simple methods (apart from the aforementioned warm-up).

Use a personal trainer

The work of a personal trainer is becoming more and more popular in Poland. There are also courses and trainings during which you can polish your skills in working with students and supplement your knowledge with new trends.

A good personal trainer will not only motivate you to work hard. Its task is primarily to find the weaknesses of your technique and improve them so that you do not hurt yourself during the exercises and do not aggravate the already existing dysfunctions or get rid of them.

The work of a personal trainer is largely the correction of technical errors, movement patterns and adjusting exercises so that they respond to the needs of the practitioner as much as possible.

Roll tight muscles

After spending the day behind a computer screen, your muscles are overly tense and reluctant to work. Try to roll them from time to time. This way you will bleed the connective tissue and make the fascia detach from the muscles and regain its natural glide.

Regular rolling also allows you to massage local soreness, the so-called trigger points. This is very important, because many posture and technical errors compensations come from the fact that we are unconsciously looking for a comfortable body position for a given exercise, which does not necessarily have to be anatomically correct.

Remember to stretch

The second element most often overlooked after warming up is stretching. Ignoring this part of the training leads to a gradual shortening of the muscle fibers, and as a result, a reduction in the range of motion and a feeling of tension, which is felt most strongly in the shoulders, hips and lower legs.

Stretching will keep the connective tissue elastic, which translates into faster regeneration and a significant increase in exercise capacity.

Take care of regeneration

Tissue overload changes are often the result of overlapping microtraumas. Lack of a sufficiently long rest, as well as forms of relaxation such as a sauna or massages, over time, can lead to inflammation that your body will not be able to cope with. That's when it shows upinjury. It is not for nothing that it is said that your form improves between workouts, not during exertion.

Most gym injuries can be avoided by following a few simple tips and gradually increasing the intensity of your training.

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