Gym Injuries and How to Avoid them with Proper Training

Injuries are a lifter’s worst nightmare. The thought of even having to take it easy at the gym for just one session is enough to get most of you crying uncontrollably into your protein shakes.

To many people, injuries are seen as an inevitable part of training, but is this true? The simple answer is, NO.

Gym Injuries: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone With Shoulder Injuries

Pic: Foxnews

It actually makes no sense at all. Complete accidents aside, why should training that inherently improves strength, muscle tone and joint support, inevitably lead to injury?

The most common causes of injury in the gym are improper form, lifting weights that are too heavy, and overtraining.

Overtraining is the easiest of these to rectify. Simply take a week off every three or four months. Weight training is extremely hard on the body, and you need absolute rest from time to time. The great Dorian Yates was a huge advocate of taking time away from the gym: anyone want to argue with his achievements.

The other two causes often go hand in hand. Form is compromised by the weight being too heavy. Simply lower the weight amount, check your ego at the door, and lift with proper form, employing the mind-muscle connection to focus effort on target muscles.

Taking Sheer Strength Labs Sheer Recovery Post-Workout Powder after training helps fuel your muscles with all they need to recover fully. This should also help to make overtraining a thing of the past for you.

Now, let’s take a look at the most common training injuries and how to avoid them.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder problems are one of the most common, if not THE most common, injuries sustained in the gym. The shoulder is a complex joint and can easily be damaged. Very often, once a shoulder is injured, it provides grief for a very long time, or even forever.

The most common causes of shoulder injuries are… you guessed it, lifting too heavy, poor form (especially using momentum in pressing exercises), and overtraining. Heavy presses are the worst exercises for placing huge strain on the shoulders. It is better to do four well-controlled, focused sets than eight jerky and poorly executed ones. Incorporate neutral grips in your workouts, and avoid overdoing wide grip exercises like chins. Always warm up thoroughly.

The most common place for serious shoulder injury is the rotator cuff; watch this video to find out more:

Gym Injuries: Elbow Pain

Pic: Muscleandfitness

Lifters Elbow

Lifter’s elbow is usually a dull, sickening ache, deep inside the elbow joint. The condition may be aggravated by certain movements, such as opening doors while other movements feel OK.

Lifter’s elbow is also largely caused by those same big three culprits. If you suffer from elbow pain, avoid heavy presses, and use a neutral grip whenever possible. Strapping can be very effective in reducing pain and supporting the joint.

A comprehensive guide to lifter’s elbow can be found on the Sheer Strength Labs blog.

Knee Injuries

For some, knee injuries are just an excuse to skip leg day. For others, they are a recurring problem continuously holding back their progress.

Knee problems can be debilitating to training, as well as everyday life. What good are those huge thighs if you’re hobbling around like an invalid?

The knee is a very delicate joint and needs to be thoroughly warmed up. Begin leg day with free standing squats, get some blood pumping into the area, then build. Never go below parallel with super heavy weights, the pressure on knees increases hugely at this point. Always use strapping when going heavy, the extra support is invaluable.

Also, include lateral movements. Heavy squatting tends to make the legs very one dimensional, leaving them open to injury. Strengthening them in all directions helps prevent this. A proper stretching and massage routine also helps prevent knee injuries, since tight muscles put extra strain on joints.

Muscle Strains and Tears

This one needs a quick mention. Most muscle strains are caused by not warming up properly or lifting weights that are too heavy. Always begin with some very light stretching and mobility work, before easing in with very light weights to pump blood into the muscles. Massage also helps prevent and treat strains.

Taking a daily dose of Sheer Strength Total Multi-Vitamin keeps your body well stocked with all the vitamins and minerals it needs, giving you optimal recovery possibilities.

Gym Injuries: Shin Splints

Pic: Tnation

Shin Splints

Shin splints can be extremely painful. They will have you walking like a wounded penguin. Shin splints occur when an overload is placed on the muscles around the shin bones, leading to small perforations in the connective tissue. They can take a long time to fully heal due to poor blood flow to the area.

Bodybuilders are especially susceptible to shin splints because of their bodyweight. But running is the number one culprit, especially on hard surfaces. Run on well-cushioned treadmills instead, or turn to other forms of low-impact cardio, such as cycling.

Proper footwear is also essential to avoid shin splints. The best way to buy the right shoes for you is to have your running gait analyzed.

Wrist Sprains

The most common cause of wrist sprains among lifters is improper form. Avoid using false grips that weaken the grip and forearm area. Also watch your form during big lifts, don’t let your wrists flop backward. If you are prone to wrist problems, wear strapping.

Gym Injuries: Back Pains

Pic: Bodybuilding.com

Back Pain

Back problems are arguably the most debilitating of all gym injuries. They can have you laid flat, gasping for breath. Back problems can also lead to other issues, such as neck pain and hip injuries. Always give your back the respect it deserves. Lift with a flat back, watch your form on big lifts such as deadlifts and squats, and warm up, warm up, warm up!

Get a professional to monitor your form on big lifts making certain you aren’t placing undue strain on your lower back. Wear a belt when going heavy, the extra support makes a huge difference.

Keeping your core in balance is essential to avoid lower back issues. A strong and balanced core keeps your hips aligned correctly. Tight hamstrings are also a major culprit. Get regular massages, and try yoga. It keeps muscles supple.

 

Foot Injuries

The foot is an extremely complex collection of small bones and connective tissues. It serves as a shock absorber when we make contact with the ground, and it takes a lot of stress. These small bones can be injured extremely easily. Big lifts like deadlifts and squats place extra strain on the feet, and injuries are common.

The most common cause of foot injuries is the flattening of the arches, caused by huge loads. Those who already have flattened feet to any degree are far more susceptible to this. The way to avoid foot injuries is to use proper lifting footwear, preferably boots that also support the ankle. Strapping and taping can also be applied directly to the arches. Concentrate on what your feet are doing as you lift. If you feel them turning inwards and flattening out, re-think the specific exercise you are doing. Check your form or go lighter with the weight.

Gym Injuries: Groin Strains

Pic: Bodybuilding.com

Groin Strains

Groin strains are especially common after long layoffs or when using new footwear or techniques. As previously mentioned, constant squatting and pressing makes your legs very one dimensional. The muscles forget what it’s like to move from side to side. It doesn’t matter how mighty your squat numbers are when you strain your groin you are nothing more than a kitten.

Avoid groin strains by throwing in some abduction and adduction moves at the end of leg day. Take it easy at first, just a couple of sets. Having a good stretching routine can also keep the area supple.

Massage and yoga always help to keep your groin supple and resilient. The latter is especially useful in improving all-around balance and tone.

Damaged Egos

Damaged egos are most certainly the most common gym injuries. Egos damaged by constantly being injured. Injuries are not trophies, and they are mostly avoidable. Lift smart, always warm up, use proper technique, and pay attention to your body during lifting.

Sheer Strength Labs Sheer NO2 Nitric Oxide Booster helps dilate blood vessels sending huge amounts of blood coursing into the muscles. Gorged muscles mean greater pumps, more weight lifted, properly warmed up muscle groups, and better-supported joints.


Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.

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