Whether you’re looking to simply tone up or trying to obtain an Arnold Schwarzenegger-like physique, weight lifting can be an important part of any weekend warrior’s exercise regimen. But pumping iron doesn’t come without risk. In fact, John Toth, DO, a Banner Orthopedic Surgery Specialists physician, warns warriors at every level about the potential dangers of lifting weights.
“Weight training has myriad benefits ranging from improved muscle and bone strength, to increased metabolism, weight loss, and even better balance and coordination. Unfortunately, weight training also comes with a high probability of injury when not done right.”
Toth highlights tears, sprains, strains, pulls and fractures as common injuries associated with weight training. Sometimes these injuries occur suddenly and sometimes they develop gradually over an extended period of time.
“Some of the most prevalent injuries associated with weight training impact the rotator cuff and shoulders, wrists, elbows, lower back and knees. The reasons why injury might occur certainly vary, but lifting too much too soon, poor form, improper technique and overuse are main culprits.”
Toth says forgetting to warm up and stretch before and after a workout and accidentally dropping weights also cause many weight lifting injuries.
To get the most out of your weight lifting endeavors, he suggests enlisting the help of a personal trainer or other qualified gym staff member to ensure you’re using proper technique and to help identify appropriate weight levels for your age and fitness level.
“Above all, the best way to avoid injury when training with weights is to remember that pain is not supposed to be part of the training process. If it hurts, your body is telling you something’s not quite right. Reduce the amount of weight you’re lifting or stop the exercise entirely for a few days. Give your body a chance to recover and then gradually ease back into it.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t develop those muscles overnight and neither will you. But with proper precautions, you can be sporting a leaner, meaner and pain-free physique in no time.