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Weight Lifting and Body Building

The injuries suffered by weight lifters and body builders are usually the result of using too much weight. Although you can increase your strength by using lighter weights with many repetitions, you can achieve bulk and muscle definition only by using heavy weights for a few repetitions. However, you have to take care when using massive amounts of weight.


The strain of that last repetition may cause a muscle fiber tear in the tendon attached to the muscle. These partial tears are treated by a short period of rest followed by a stretching program, since an injured muscle tends to shorten. Then the muscle must be restrengthened to return to normal function.

      The ultimate injury is a complete tear of a muscle or tendon. This requires surgical repair.


The ligaments around joints are commonly sprained in weight lifting due to overstress. These sprains are treated in the same way as any other sprain, beginning with the RICE formula described in Chapter 4.


As in any other sport where the arm goes over the shoulder, lifting weights over the head can cause shoulder pain, tendinitis, or a partial dislocation. Military presses, lat pull-downs, and even the basic clean-and-jerk movement all stress the shoulder.


Tennis elbow is a common condition among weight lifters due to the stress placed on the muscles that flex and extend the wrist in exercises for strengthening the biceps. See the strengthening and flexibility exercises for tennis elbow in Chapter 8.


Runner's knee can become quite aggravated by repetitions of squats, leg extensions, and leg presses. If the front part of the knee begins to hurt, you should stop doing squats until the pain subsides. Also, you should limit leg extensions and presses so that your leg moves through only the last 30° of the extension or press, as described in the 30° Leg Extension exercise in Chapter 11.


Weight lifters need to be wary of back muscle pulls and ruptured discs. The most serious problems stem from squats. If the weight shifts while you are down in the squat position, a violent force can be applied to the back. Squat racks help prevent this problem, but even they are not a total safeguard. Squat machines, where the lifter lies on his back and lifts the weight with his legs, seem to be the best solution.

How to Improve Your Workout

Moderation in Weight Lifting

Weight lifters and body builders need to guard against pushing too hard. If you progress too quickly in your weight-training program, you may overstress joints and muscles. If you are injured and have to rest during recovery, you will lose much of the muscle development you gained.

      Your body needs a day to recover after a weight workout. You can safely do split workouts, working the upper part of the body one day and the lower part of the body the next.

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