Weight training programs are becoming more popular among younger generations. Those who undergo weight training programs often aims to increase their muscle mass, strength, and endurance. The most common weight training programs include weight lifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, highland games and cross fit. These have various divisions for different ages and gender as well as bodyweight classes. It uses the force of gravity to target specific muscle groups and joints. It can be a regular exercise and in some cases, it can act as a sport for interested individuals.
Weight Training Programs in the United States
Individuals between the ages of 13 and 65 are the most common participants in this activity more than any other age groups. In the US, approximately 64,000,000 individuals in this age group train using barbells and dumbbells. 39, 548,000 individuals train using machine weights.
Weight training has numerous advantages ranging from muscle hypertrophy, increased amount of connective tissues, increased body and muscle mass, increased strength, and improved physical functioning of the body.
As more and more people engage in weight training programs, more injuries related to the activity has been reported. According to 2007 epidemiological study, most weight lifting-related injuries were incurred due to free weights falling or dropping on individuals. Many injuries occurred on the lower back and shoulders. Because of the strains, pressure, and stresses this activity put on the back and the spine, most injuries are often severe. A review has shown that when done safely, only one injury occurs every 1000 hours. It means that if you follow good exercise and weight lifting techniques, you could go for more than four years without any injuries.
For intense and technical weight training programs such as Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting, the injury rate is higher. About two to four injuries occur every 1000 hours of training. As much as it is risky to do weight lifting, it is not as unsafe as other sports such as hockey or athletics. In comparison, long distance runners are likely to have more injuries, with 10 injuries happening every 1000 hours.
Common Weight Lifting-Related Injuries
Most of these injuries occur in the back, legs, thighs, shoulders and —in extreme cases— in the spines.
1. Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
This refers to the inflammation that occurs at the tendons, specifically around the rotator cuff on the shoulders. Overhead weight lifting exercise is the major cause of this condition and other exercises such as shoulder presses. You may start feeling pain on the shoulders and on the sides of your upper arm. Raising your arm may exacerbate the pain. If the injury is severe, you may feel pain even when lying down. If the pain goes beyond the elbows, it’s time to see a doctor as this could be symptom of pinched nerve.
2. Rotator Cuff Tear
Tears to the rotator cuff could occur when you perform overhead exercises. A tear is associated with intense pain. When a tear occurs, the shoulder and the arm weaken. Depending on the extent of the tear one might be forced to undergo surgery.
3. SLAP Tear
Rotator cuff tear is common but SLAP is another form of tear that occurs on the shoulder. It happens when you get an injury on the labrum side of the shoulder. SLAP stands for Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior and is caused by repetitive stress from overhead lifting. T
4. Patellar Tendonitis
The patella, or commonly known as the knee cap, is often a major place of injuries for many sports. It is characterized by inflammation and pain felt on the tendons of the patellar, known as patellar tendonitis. Weightlifting with the legs is one of the potential cause of this injury.
5. Cervical Spine Injury
The upper part of the neck and the back are the most vulnerable areas for this injury. To prevent it,maintain proper posture and proper weightlifting techniques should be followed when performing exercises. The spine should at neutral position at all times. Too much stress and strain at the back results in this injury.
6. Back Sprains and Strains
Sprains could range from stretched to torn ligaments while strains on the other hand only affect the muscles and the tendons. Sprains and strains have common symptoms such as swelling, pain and unease during movements.
7. Herniated Disc and Degenerative Disc Disease
These are commonly caused by improper lifting techniques. It includes pain at the back, and numbness or tingling sensations down to the legs. These are usually due to excessive stress on the spine. It is essential to ensure that the spine is always in the right position when doing weight lifting exercises to avoid spine and back pains.
Benefits of WeightLifting
1. It Increases the Strength Of The Muscles And Enhances The Health Status Of The Joints
Weight training is necessary for muscle hypertrophy and strength improvement. Due to the high intensity of the exercise, there is an increase in the amount of glycolytic and oxidative enzymes and regulation of minerals such as K+ and H+ and also lactate ions. These nutrients are necessary for muscle growth and endurance so you don’t get tired easily.
2. It Enhances the Muscles Mass
Weight training programs restore muscle mass. After puberty, we lose bone and muscle strength at a rate of one percent every year. To prevent this, you can do weight lifting combined with strength training.
3. It Enhances Insulin Sensitivity
During exercise, the muscles in the body consume a lot of blood glucose with a rate of 70 to 90 percent. Exercising increases the demand for these supplements. As a result, your cells more sensitive to insulin and start demanding it to fuel your activities. Weight lifting is an anaerobic exercise known to improve the enzymes and proteins that enhance insulin receptors, allowing them to bind to the cell to let glucose into the muscles.
4. Improved Health Conditions
Weight training lets you lose high amounts of fat and helps improve your immune system. It also helps in glucose control, thus preventing the possibilities of having diabetes 2.
5. Increased Bone Density
In addition to eating healthy foods, taking sufficient vitamin D, and avoiding smoking, bone density can be improved by weight training exercises. During weight lifting, the body’s skeleton is deposited with 5 to 8 times the body weight. Research has shown that increased in the loads lifted improves body mass and density.
6. Lower Risks of Injuries and Fractures
The main function of the bone is to provide sufficient mechanical force needed for motion and protection. The bones have the ability to adjust to the strains and mechanical loads that fall on them. Declined bone mass results in fractures and sprains. However, during weight training, the body mass increases and this provides sufficient strength for the bones to withstand pressure and loads. Appropriate weight training also reduces cases of falls and the severity of fall related injuries that might occur. Weight training, therefore, improves the body’s functionality.
7. Increased Metabolic Rate
Age, body size, and gender affect your metabolism. During weight training, your heart rate increases, thus increasing your metabolic rate and allowing you to burn more calories.
Avoiding Weight Lifting-Related Injuries
The best way to avoid the SLAP tear is to warm up before starting this workout. Here are other ways you could avoid injuries when weight training.
1. Avoid stretching your muscles beyond their capacity. You should be aware of your own limits and capacities. Stretching beyond your capacity could result in tears and wear out of the ligaments and tendons.
2. Always stretch your muscles by doing warm-ups before training or working out. Warming up of muscles ensures that strains, sprains, tears and severe injuries are avoided
3. Avoid doing weight training exercises after getting injured. When you get injured, take sufficient time to relax and let your body heal. The regeneration of the muscles and injured parts helps the body handle stress. Avoiding pain-causing activities is one of the ways of healing quickly from the injuries.
4. Avoid using too much weight when you are a beginner as the body is not yet accustomed to heavy weights.
5. Avoid moving through reps and sets too quickly. Lifting weights fast doesn’t guarantee quick muscle gain and quick changes. Actually, it increases your chances of getting injured. Research has shown that muscle increase is associated with slow and controlled amounts of weights.
6. Insufficient rest after an exercise can be a workout killer. The recommended period for resting is between 30 and 90 seconds during training. This helps the body supply nutrients, blood, and oxygen to the muscles that are being overworked.
When it comes to weight training programs, it is always essential to have a personal trainer to guide you in carrying out each exercise. Most people believe that this sport is easy and involves lifting weights only. However, you need a personal trainer who will guide you to ensure successful performance of each exercise. Some trainers, however, may fail to inform you of the risks associated with weight training programs. Therefore, before starting any exercise routine, make sure you know how to perform proper body mechanics and understand your own physical limitations. Find a trainer who will go be there with you every step of the way so you can limit your risks for injuries.
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- – Hootman, J. M., Macera, C. A., Ainsworth, B. E., Martin, M., Addy, C. L., & Blair, S. N. (2001). Association among physical activity level, cardiorespiratory fitness, and risk of musculoskeletal injury. American journal of epidemiology, 154(3), 251-258.