Top 5 Most Common Powerlifting Injuries

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What are the most common injuries for power lifters?

If you are training to compete in powerlifting or learning the movements you need to know a few of the most common injuries we see within our clientele that participate in this sport.

Powerlifting, as a sport, involves performing three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Every sport has its list of common injuries. The list for powerlifters include:

  1. Lower back strain or injury: Powerlifters often experience lower back pain due to the tightness and density they develop in their quadratus lumborum muscles and their spinal erectors. Deadlifts, in particular, put a significant amount of stress on the lower back muscles. It’s important to use a lacrosse ball regularly on the lowback and to make sure you are stretching your posterior chain. You can do so with hamstring stretches, downward dog, etc.
  2. Shoulder injuries: The bench press is a common cause of shoulder injuries in powerlifters. These injuries can range from rotator cuff strains to more severe injuries such as a torn labrum or dislocated shoulder. We typically see milder issues, especially if they’re taken care of within a few months of the onset of pain. Our powerlifters need us to regularly treat trigger points in the pec major and minor muscles, their deltoids and their latissimus dorsi.
  3. Knee injuries: The squat is a complex movement that puts a lot of pressure on the knee joint. Powerlifters may experience knee pain or injuries such as patellar tendonitis or even ligament tears. Typically our powerlifters will present with significant pain in the knee which is sometimes accompanied by swelling. If they have not torn a muscle or a ligament, and usually they have not, we treat their vastus lateralis, Rectus femoris and their vastus medialis. Depending on the size and density of a persons quads, we can typically remedy the pain within 3-6 sessions. Be sure to roll and stretch your quads as you develop strength to avoid developing pain in the knee.
  4. Elbow injuries: Powerlifters may also experience elbow pain or injuries, particularly during the bench press. These injuries can include tendonitis, bursitis, or even a torn bicep. Within our community we notice tight biceps and tight Brachioradialis that causes pain when getting under the bar for squat. If the client is experiencing pain in the elbow during bench, it is typically the triceps that are involved. Of course, there is always the exception and we would have to asses the person to know for sure the source of the pain.
  5. Wrist injuries: Heavy lifting can put a lot of pressure on the wrists, particularly during the bench press and squat. Powerlifters may experience wrist pain or injuries such as sprains or strains. It is important for the powerlifting community to stretch their hands and forearms daily. With the amount of grip strength you folks develop you have to condition that tissue or it will shorten. When the tendons and muscles are shortened enough that they are limiting range of motion you are at the highest risk for injury. This is true with all of your joints.

It’s important for powerlifters to take precautions to prevent these injuries, such as proper warm-up and cool-down routines, proper form, and regular mobility and flexibility exercises. If an injury does occur, it is important to find professional attention promptly to avoid further damage.

Soft tissue therapy can not remedy the pain associated with structural damage such as tendon and ligament tears, breaks and fractures, etc.