How to fix and prevent common weight lifting pains so you can get back at it in no time.
If you’ve ever dabbled if my favorite hobby (weightlifting pervert), you will eventually feel pain where you’re not supposed to feel pain. Those areas are the joints. Muscle pain is good and expected, but joint pain means there is something wrong. You need to fix it now or you’re going to be in a world of hurt.
It doesn’t get any easier moving around when your older. The damage you unnecessarily do today, will manifest later in life resulting in a lower quality of life. Take a look at old football players for example. No one wants to be confined to a wheelchair because they ignored a knee problem when trying to impress the guys with heavy squats. I’ve never met a girl that gave 2 shits about how much I could squat/bench. I’m sure there’s some, but they aren’t the majority. You’re really trying to impress dudes.
When you do damage to a muscle it can heal relatively quickly because of the direct blood supply going to it. We’re talking days depending on how much damage you do. Obviously, if you tear the muscle it’s going to be longer but I’m talking about damage done from normal weight lifting.
What doesn’t heal quickly are the tendons (muscle to bone) and ligaments (bone to bone). There is no direct blood supply to them – so to fully recover from an injury takes months, sometimes longer.
Here are some of the most common pains and how to fix them so you can keep lifting without doing massive damage to your bodies. Lifting heavy is cool only without joint pain. Kinda like this lady.
PREVENTING LOWER BACK PAIN AFTER SQUATTING AND DEADLIFTING
Remember when you were a kid singing how all the bones are connected? Well most squatting and deadlifting issues start in the ankle. Basically how close you can get your toes to your shin. Without ankle mobility you over compensate in other areas. Sound familiar gentlemen?
SO HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE PROPER ANKLE MOBILITY?
Thankfully people, a lot smarter than myself, came up with a quick test.
Place a piece of tape 5 in from the wall.
In a lunge position, place your longest toe of your front foot on the edge of the tape closest to the wall.
Now it’s test time! Try touching your knee to the wall. Stop when your heel lifts off the floor.
Repeat with the other leg.
If it’s confusing at all, check out the video by clicking the “ankle mobility” link above.
If your knee touched the wall, then your ankles aren’t the problem. Move on.
If you couldn’t touch the wall, then your ankles are an issue. Time to fix it.
HOW TO INCREASE ANKLE MOBILITY
There’s two stretches to loosen up the muscles around your ankles. First, the tepee.
I call it this because you look like a tepee doing it. Creativity on demand over here.
- Get into the pushup position and walk your feet up so your ass goes straight up in the air.
- Once in position, push your heels to the floor and hold it for 10-15 secs. Relax and repeat 2 more times.
Next, you’re going to sit on your legs. Sorry, creativity was all used up on the tepee.
- Kneel down on the floor, keeping your toes in line with the rest of your leg.
- Now sit on your ankles for 10-15 sec keeping your toes in line with your legs. Sit up and repeat 2x.
These two stretches will loosen up the leg muscles and give you more mobility. Retake the ankle mobility test to see if you got better.
Working our way up the leg, our next destination is the hips. We’re just going to go ahead and assume this is an issue because you probably sit too much. Don’t worry I do too, I do this stretch every day. It keeps me nimble.
Get down in a lunge position and shift your weight forward until you feel a good stretch on the side of your leg and in the groin area. Resist the urge to touch your groin in this position. People will stare if you do, trust me on this.
Let’s say you can touch your toes to your shin and you have more flexibility in your hips than a Chinese gymnast but you’re still having pain. Here’s what you can do for the squat, deadlift, bench, chin-up and barbell curl.
Back pain: Too much forward lean, possible overcompensation for limited ankle mobility.
Fix: Do a goblet squat with a dumbbell. Keep the dumbbell in contact with your chest and stomach throughout the whole movement. This forces you to keep a more vertical position throughout the whole movement.
Knee pain: Lifting the heels puts pressure on the toes and the knees shoot forward. Also limited ankle mobility.
Fix: Goblet squat from above. If that doesn’t work, put 2.5 – 5 lbs. plates under your heels and point your toes outwards at a 45 degree angle and squat.
Back pain: Rounding the back while lifting.
Fix: Make orange juice. Pretend you have and orange in your armpit and squeeze the hell out of it. Keep this tension throughout the whole lift.
Shoulder pain: Long limbs or too little lat activation.
Fix: Keep your elbows at 65-75 degrees. If 90 is completely straight out, drop your elbows 2-3 inches towards your ribs.
Bonus Mobility Fix: Take a broom stick or PVC pipe, hold it behind you, palms down and hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Now lift it as high as you can towards your head and hold for 10 secs. Lower and repeat 2x. Too much pushing tightens the front of your shoulders up, this will loosen them.
Elbow Pain: Too much torque put on the elbow.
Fix: Use a neutral grip (palms facing each other). All the benefits, none of the pain.
Forearm Pain: Too much torque on your forearms and wrist.
Fix: EZ bar curls and lighten the load Hercules.
Do you have issues with some exercises giving you pain? Comment below and we can solve it together.
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