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Exercise is a great thing for your body and experts encourage activity to maintain the best health. There are many options for exercise and weightlifting is a popular choice. However, it is imperative to practice proper techniques and follow safety guidelines or you could end up seriously injuring yourself. Your back is one area that is at high risk when it comes to weightlifting. Working with a qualified trainer is one smart way to get started on a weightlifting program, as well as consulting a physician such as spine surgeon Dr. Charla Fischer. Here are some guidelines to consider when you decide to take up weightlifting.

What should I know before starting?
Knowing the risks to your back from lifting weights is important to help you avoid getting hurt. Also knowing the risks makes you more aware of your body and helps you recognize injuries as soon as they occur. Some common types of back pain to watch for related to weightlifting include:

  • Lumbar strain in the muscles and tendons of your lower back
  • Muscle strain in the middle part of your back
  • Ligament strain in your upper back
  • Spinal misalignment

If you experience back pain from weightlifting, schedule an appointment with drName to get checked out and make sure you are not damaging your body.

What does it mean to use your core?
Your abdominal muscles are also called your core muscles. This part of your body plays a vital role in protecting your back when lifting weights. If you engage and tense your core muscles during weightlifting exercises, it triggers you to use the correct muscles when lifting and also helps improve your posture. If you find that you are having difficulty engaging your core muscles during weightlifting, quit the activity until you are rested and able to use your abdominal muscles more effectively.

Should I keep my back straight?
Keep your spine straight when lifting weights instead of arching your back. Even though you might think it is easier or more comfortable at the time, this improper technique can cause significant back problems or nerve damage. Also avoid twisting your back during weightlifting exercises because you may end up straining your back muscles and causing pain.

What about choosing weights?
Selecting the appropriate amount of weight for various lifting exercises can help deter back injuries. Just because you might think it will make you stronger to opt for heavier weights, the risks to your body may not be worth it. If a weight feels too heavy and you are struggling with it, choose a lighter weight instead. You can still tone your body and improve your health using lighter weights rather than pushing yourself to the point of injury.

What is the most important thing to remember when lifting weights?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when undertaking a weightlifting program is to listen to your body at all times. If you become very tired and physically exhausted, it is best to stop for the day. Exercising beyond the point of exhaustion is most often when injuries happen. To avoid injuring your back or other parts of your body, know when it is time to quit and pick back up on your weightlifting routine another day.

If you experienced a back injury, contact Dr. Fischer to schedule an appointment.