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Common Weight Lifting Injuries & How To Avoid Them

Weight lifting is a popular form of exercise that helps build muscle mass and improve overall fitness. However, like any form of exercise, weightlifting can come with the risk of injury if not done properly. 


For anyone looking to incorporate weightlifting into their fitness routine, it’s essential to understand the common weightlifting injuries and how to avoid them. We take a look at this and more in this article. 

What injuries can you get from lifting?

There are several injuries that weight lifters are at risk of developing. Some of the most common injuries that occur during weightlifting exercises include strains, sprains, herniated discs, rotator cuff injuries, and wrist injuries. However, you can avoid these injuries by using the correct form or by working with a personal trainer

Sprains & Strains

Sprains and strains are one of the most common injuries that occur among weight lifters. These injuries occur when the muscles, tendons, or ligaments are stretched beyond their capacity. Strains and sprains can happen when lifting weights that are too heavy or when using improper form. Symptoms of a strain or sprain include pain, swelling, and stiffness.


To avoid strains and sprains, it's important to start with light weights and gradually increase the weight as you build strength. Always use proper form and technique when lifting weights, and make sure to warm up properly before starting your workout. 

Disc Herniation

This occurs when one of the discs in the spine are pushed out of place and presses on a nerve. Herniated discs can happen when lifting heavy weights, especially if the back is not properly supported. Symptoms of a herniated disc include pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected area.


To avoid herniated discs, it's important to use the proper form. Make sure to keep your back straight (neutral position) and use a weight that you can comfortably lift without straining. Activating the core and hinging at the hips will also prevent disc herniation when lifting weights. If you have a history of back problems, consult with your doctor before starting a weightlifting program.

Rotator cuff

Rotator cuff injuries are another common weightlifting injury. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries can happen when lifting heavy weights or when using improper form. Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder.


To avoid rotator cuff injuries, it's important to use proper form when doing exercises that involve the shoulder, such as overhead presses or lateral raises. Start with light weights and gradually increase the weight as you build strength. If you experience pain or discomfort in your shoulder, stop the exercise and seek medical attention if necessary.

Wrist injuries 

Wrist injuries commonly occur when doing exercises that involve gripping weights, such as barbell curls or dumbbell rows. Wrist injuries can happen when using improper form or lifting weights that are too heavy. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the wrist.


To prevent wrist injuries, you must be sure to grip the weight firmly but not too tightly, and avoid bending your wrist too much. Pain or discomfort in the wrist may be an indication of an injury. Should you feel either of these two sensations, stop the exercise and seek medical attention if necessary.

How do you treat a weightlifting injury?

If you experience a weightlifting injury, it's important to stop the exercise and seek medical attention if necessary. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is a common treatment for many weightlifting injuries, as it helps reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Depending on the severity of the injury, your doctor may also recommend physical therapy or surgery.


Prevention is the best way to avoid weightlifting injuries. It's important to start with light weights and gradually increase the weight as you build strength. Always use proper form and technique when lifting weights, and make sure to warm up properly before starting your workout. If you have a history of injuries or medical conditions, consult with your doctor before starting a weightlifting program.

What percentage of weightlifters get injured?

The percentage of weight lifters who get injured varies depending on the study and the population being studied. However, research suggests that the injury rate for weight lifters is relatively low compared to other sports and activities. 


For example, a study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that, for weightlifters, the injury incidence was 2.4–3.3 injuries per 1000 hours of training, which works out to a 0.24 - 0.33% chance of injury. 

Do your muscles tear when you lift weights?

While it's possible for muscles to tear when lifting weights, it's relatively rare and usually only occurs when lifting very heavy weights or when using improper form. Muscle tears can cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising, and may require medical attention. 


To avoid muscle tears, it's important to use proper form when lifting weights, especially when doing exercises that involve the muscles that are most susceptible to tearing, such as the hamstrings and quadriceps.

Final Thoughts On Common Weight Lifting Injuries

Weightlifting at the gym is a great way to build muscle mass and improve overall fitness, but it does come with the risk of injury if not done properly. There are several types of injuries that weight lifters commonly experience. However, with the right knowledge, form, and technique, you can avoid these injuries altogether. 


Prevention is the best way to avoid weightlifting injuries, and it's important to start with light weights, use proper form and technique, and warm up properly before starting your workout. Remember that if you do experience a weightlifting injury, it's important to stop the exercise and seek medical attention if necessary. With the proper precautions, weightlifting can be a safe and effective way to improve your health and fitness.