When it comes to exercise and personal fitness, there are all kinds of routes a person can take. Often the best route is one that is well-rounded and doesn’t focus on just one type of activity or workout. And while cardio tends to get a lot of attention, muscle building and strength training exercises are just as important. This seems to be a fact that is lost on many, as studies show that only 30% of adults in the United States meet the recommendations for muscle-strengthening exercise.

Muscle training exercises can often seem intimidating, confusing, and difficult for beginners who are just starting out. If not done properly, you also risk suffering a weight lifting injury. So, let’s say you’ve dived in, you’ve started a weight training regime, and whether by fault of your own or just bad luck, you’ve now suffered an injury. How do you cope with the aftermath? Here’s a comprehensive look at how you can deal with the most common weight lifting injuries.


It’s quite common in muscle building exercises to really work your shoulder area. This is one area that people love to define and bulk up, so they can really place the attention and focus on targeted shoulder exercises. The problem is that if you just focus on the shoulder muscles, you can end up causing stress on the soft tissue and joints. 

Repetitive stress and acute trauma can end up leading to a SLAP tear. This is a tear in your Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior. This is most commonly caused by overhead lifting and a throwing motion.

The first step is to rest and avoid any strengthening exercises that will force your arms overhead or behind you. If resting doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, it may be necessary to see a physical therapist for some rehab. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair the damage.

Knee Injury

Another common injury with weight lifters is a knee injury. Unfortunately, knee injuries are common with just about every athlete, as the patella (kneecap) tends to take quite a beating during physical activity. If you start to feel any pain at all in the kneecap, this is your sign to stop immediately. The worst thing to do is keep going through the pain. You may also notice that your knee is swollen, another sign to stop.

Outside of resting it and using ice to help with the swelling, you will want to look for exercises that take the stress off your kneecaps. If you continue to stress it and over-work it, there is bound to be a trip to the physical therapist in your near future.

Back Strain 

Then there is back strain, which makes sense when you think about all the lifting that weight lifters do. Pretty much every weightlifting exercise uses the back muscles in one way or another. This includes rows, bench presses, curls, and dead lifts. You are constantly working your back, even if you don’t realize it. So, what’s the best solution? Prevention. 

Prevention includes taking the time to do your stretches and warm up before you start your workout, listening to your body and not over-working your back, and lifting with proper form so that your back is supported. You can also take things a step further at home and invest in a good quality mattress so that when you’re sleeping, your back is properly aligned and supported. 

Experts tend to suggest a “medium-firm” mattress for those who suffer from lower back pain. You can use a memory foam mattress to achieve the right type of support and firmness.

Being Prepared to Handle Injuries

While the fear of injury shouldn’t prevent you from engaging in weight lifting, it’s always important to listen to your body, know the signs, and know when it’s time to rest.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "How to Handle the Most Common Weight Lifting Injuries," in Medicalopedia, January 8, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8187/how-to-handle-the-most-common-weight-lifting-injuries/].