Weightlifting can provide numerous benefits to your back and spine but pain and injury are also very real risks during this type of workout. Fighting off back pain when lifting will help you go longer, lift more, get better results, and minimize the chance of injury at the same time.
If you start to experience pain during your lifting routine then you may need to stop before your workout is complete. The source of the pain could be in smaller muscles that are not as strong or as visible.
A spotter can help you ensure proper movement and assist if you start to develop back pain or muscle strain. Switching from free weights to a machine can have some benefits but this can also limit the results achieved because the machine may make the routine easier. Proprioception can not be developed with machines while free weights help with this regulation. Lifting belts and other support equipment may help minimize back pain but these can also contribute to injury if care is not used. Movements that are smooth and fluid will prevent back pain while jerking or twisting can cause problems.
Use Less Weight But More Repetitions
If you tend to experience back pain during your workouts then one tip that can help is to use more repetitions while lowering the amount of weight used. This will help you create stronger muscles that are well developed without risking injury due to excessive weight. Wait until you can complete a full routine without any pain before you add additional weight. Some exercises pose a higher risk of back pain and strain than others do, and free weights may cause you to jerk or twist while a machine eliminates this possibility. Performing more deadlifts, squats, or other workout routines with less weight may delay the end results you are hoping for slightly but it will also eliminate any back pain that you have while lifting.
Always Use A Spotter With Certain Routines
When you are lifting free weights, a spotter should always be used in order to protect your back from excessive strain and injury. Sudden movements may make your back vulnerable to pain and tissue damage. A spotter will help ensure that you do not try to lift more than you can safely handle and they can step in and assist if you start to experience pain in your back or other tissues. Your spotter should be experienced in bodybuilding and knowledgeable in the proper lifting techniques. A study in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Journal that was published in June of 2000 showed that having supervision and using a spotter during free weight routines not only helped to minimize back pain and muscle strain but also offered more effective gains and helped increase the training load while minimizing injuries and repetitive strain.
Machines Versus Free Weights
Some lifters have found benefits by using machines for some routines rather than using free weights, but there are various opinions on this. Free weights help you develop proprioception, which is the regulation of your body posture and movements when you are lifting and free weights are used. Machines lower the proprioception development but they also reduce the stress that is placed on your back during the routine. If you begin to experience back pain while lifting then you may want to replace a session or two of free weights each week with a machine session instead.
Lifting Belts And Other Support Equipment
The debate over lifting belts and other support equipment continues to rage on, with some recommending these items and others calling them high injury risks. When you use a belt this will allow you to lift more than your weakest tissues typically allow, but this same factor can mean serious injury if something goes wrong. If you experience back pain during your workout and you are not wearing a belt then try adding this equipment during the next session. Do not increase the weight amount and see whether the belt helps eliminate the strain and the pain that starts in your back.
Always Use The Right Weight Amount
When you first bump up the weight that you are lifting it is normal to experience some discomfort at the new weight level, but you should not experience back pain that is deep or that lasts for days after you finish the workout session. Once you start to feel pain in your back you may need to stop to avoid any serious injury, and if this is a frequent problem then you may need to remove some of the additional weight and stay at a lower amount for an additional period of time. A back injury can sideline your training and work against you so it is important that you calculate the weight used very carefully.
Avoid Jerking Or Twisting
Always make sure that your movements are smooth and fluid during the workout. Jerking, twisting, and other movement types that are not smooth can cause soft tissue and spinal injury. A spotter can help monitor your form and point out any areas or routines that need to be improved in order to fight off any back pain that you have when you are lifting in the gym. Using a machine can help you avoid any jerky movements or twisting motions but this also has some drawbacks when compared o the use of free weights.
Keeping your back in excellent condition and pain free while you lift is crucial. Understanding how to fight off back pain during your workout and avoid any soft tissue damage or injury is important. This will help you meet your physical fitness goals and gain the muscle size that you are looking for without chronic back pain during your workout sessions.