A few days ago a friend of mine very excitedly showed me his latest weight lifting exercise. I nearly fell off my chair. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. If you were to ask me what the quickest way to herniate a spinal disc is, I would have showed you that movement!
It reminded me of several patients I have seen in my time – men in their 30’s and 40’s with chronic back pain as the result of a spinal disc injury as a result of weight lifting. Every single one of them said the same thing “Why didn’t anyone warn me?”.
Well here we go….here’s the warning my friends…..weight lifting with poor technique can leave you with agonising back and leg pain and a life long weak disc.
Trust me. Its true. Whatever your personal trainer tells you. You are risking everything by pushing yourself too hard at the gym with poor technique.
Your spine can safely load very high weights, but only in certain ways. This requires good technique.
So what IS ‘Good Technique’?
Well here’s my basic top tips:
1.Your spine is strongest when CENTRALLY LOADED. So lift with your spine vertical – try not to move forwards / backwards / sideways whilst holding weights. And most importantly never, ever, ever TWIST whilst loaded with weights
2. Your spine is most protected when the weight is held CLOSE TO YOUR BODY.
3. Opt for repetition rather than pushing yourself to lift greater and greater weights. Remember the goal – body building – muscle building – you can achieve this goal with repetition – you don’t need to lift excessive weights.
4. Wear a back support belt. This will assist your back and take some of the strain off your spine.
5. Always CONTRACT YOUR CORE. The best way to protect your spine is by contracting your lower abs. Never ever ever lift without first ensuring your abs are solid. Natures built in back support belt!
So follow these simple rules and you will reduce your injury risk.
Stay safe you fabulous, motivated, disciplined, extraordinary people!