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Weightlifting helps make people stronger, increase their muscle mass and fit. It also helps in taking control of our body’s abilities and appearance. But like any other sports,weightlifting also brings its share of injuries and risks.

Common Injuries

  • Spine and Back Injuries
  • Disc Herniation & Degenerative Disc Disease
    Bad lifting mechanics, wear and tear and bad posture while lifting are major causes. Localized back pain, numbness, tingling travelling down the legs are some of the symptoms.
  • Back Sprains and Strains
    Due to regular use of the back, sprains and strains are common. Torn or stretched ligaments cause sprains while torn muscles or tendons cause strains. Common symptoms include pain, swelling and back immobility.
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • AC joint injuries and lateral end clavicle fractures
    Heavy overhead lifting lifting sportsmen sutatin frequent AC joint sprains and may be AC joint arthritis in later life, peculiar lateral end clavicle avulsion fractures near the joint is seen weight lifters.
  • SLAP tear
    Repetitive overhead lifting and throwing motions cause acute trauma and stress. Weakness of arms and shoulders, unable to raise arm due to pain, popping and catching in movements are some of the symptoms.
  • Shoulder ImpingementOverhead lifting activities are responsible for this injury, causing pain in the front of the shoulder and side of upper arm and stopping before the elbow.
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
    This is a more serious condition with intense pain, weakness of arm accompanied by a snapping feeling.
  • Knee Injuries
  • Patellar Tendonitis
    The tendon connecting the kneecap to shin inflames due to overuse with a pinpoint pain at the kneecap’s base.
  • Patellofemoral Maltracking
    Shifting of the kneecap (patella) as the leg bends or straightens, due to muscle imbalance. Pain is experienced on doing squats, lunges and leg-presses.
  • Achilles Tendonitis
    Inflammation of Achilles tendon causes pain in the back of the heel.
  • Tennis Elbow
    Over-gripping is a major cause of this injury with pain on the outside of the elbow.
  • Hamstring Pulls & Tears
    Back of the thigh has a sharp, shooting pain caused by sudden activities putting stress on the hamstring muscles.


  • Overuse of body parts.
  • Poor Technique
  • Non-gradual increase of weights during lifting.
  • Inefficient Equipment like shoddy platforms, bent bars etc.
  • Improper Warm-ups can cause a pulled muscle and strained ligaments.
  • Unpreparedness just before a lift, like forgetting to take gulps of air for more oxygen etc.

Some exercises that cause injuries are:

  • Rows, bench-presses, dead lifts and curls cause Back Sprains and Strains.
  • Hack squats, lunges and weightlifting with the legs cause Patellar Tendonitis.
  • Lateral raises, bench-presses and shoulder-presses cause Shoulder Impingement Syndrome.


  • Keep a Neutral Spine posture, the natural small curve attained by keeping back against a wall.
  • Always start each workout with proper Warm-ups like jump rope, and proper Cool-Downs at the end.
  • Always keep the knee inline with the second toe during leg exercises, like squats, lunges, step-ups etc. this will reduce lateral stresses to the knee and reduce knee injuries.
  • Strengthening the glutes and hamstrings will also reduce knee stress.
  • Correcting Muscular Imbalances and flexibility training are recommended.

Some recommended exercises are:

    • Crawling,
    • Pushups,
    • Farmer crawlies will help in gripping and for flexible arms.
    • Incline Dumbbell presses
    • Reverse Flies.


Dr Banarji B.H is one of the eminent, Shoulder Specialist who also provides best treatment for injuries related to weightlifting.

Authored by Dr Banarji B.H - Shoulder Surgeon, Bangalore

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Baby Das

Last one year I was suffering from acute shoulder pain on my left shoulder. I went to several doctors, but not diagnosed.

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