Are you looking to ramp up your fitness plan with some serious weightlifting? Or maybe you’re just a weekend warrior who is ready to tackle their next big home improvement project? Either way, you’ll need to tap into some key techniques that will allow you to go beyond your day to day capabilities and do some heavy lifting.
One victim of improper lifting is the knee. An immense amount of pressure is put on this joint to support the weight and strength of the rest of your body during moments of intense lifting. Overuse and improper use of your joints could cause osteoarthritis, stressed tendons, and limited mobility. That’s why it’s important to use the right technique when performing a lift that relies heavily on your knees, like the back squat.
The back squat is performed with the weight bar rested across the shoulders of the lifter and puts a strain on the hips, quads – surrounding the knee, and lower back. Moving from standing to a near sitting position and back, this move puts a lot of weight into the knees to support the movement. In daily life, you could find yourself squatting when lifting your toddler, going to the bathroom, or picking up boxes. Ryan Robertson, owner of Brickhouse Crossfit in Downtown Roanoke has joined us to demonstrate a proper squat technique.
Ryan’s top tips for protecting your knees during your squats are:
1. Perfect your air squat first
2. Keep your toes pointed out slightly
3. Send your hips back first before moving down through your knees
Two of the most common areas that heavy lifting can incite pain and injury is the upper back and neck and the lumbar spine. Repetitive stress on the back gradually causes improper alignment of the spinal column and may give rise to a herniated disk. If you aren’t lifting heavy objects, whether in your day to day or at the gym, you could be at risk for chronic back pain as a result of injury to a herniated disk.
One of the most common lifting techniques that lead to back pain is the deadlift. Ryan defines deadlifts as really any time you pick something up off the floor in your daily life – but for him, it’s typically in his gym. Essentially, you’re lifting the bar and weights up from the ground, rather than a rack. This kind of lifting works your lower back, gluteus maximus, hamstring, quads, and more. Outside of the gym, this could be when you’re bags of groceries from the ground, moving bags of topsoil, or even lifting your child from the ground.
Here are Ryan’s top tips for protecting your back during a deadlift are:
1. Keep a Flat Back
2. Keep Your Core Tight
Preventative exercise is a great way to improve the strength of the muscles and joints to prevent pain from arising from day to day activities.
Dr. Skinner of Tuck Clinic in Roanoke, VA says, “Keeping muscles strong around the joints protects the joints from excessive forces. Making sure that we are performing the exercise properly is very important. Consulting with a fitness professional, like Ryan, can help tremendously in getting on the right program. “
If you find yourself in pain after an intense workout or even working around the house, the first thing you should do is ice! Your body’s first response to an injury is inflammation and ice should be the first line of defense to keep swelling down. During the first few days of an injury, try applying ice for about 10 minutes once an hour if it is available to you.
If you’re still suffering from pain after an extended period of time, it may be time to visit a chiropractor for an evaluation. A thorough evaluation can determine what’s wrong and develop the proper course of care for your unique challenges. From electrical stimulation to spinal or joint manipulation, we can help you find relief for your acute pain in an affordable, non-medicated way. In some cases, we can consult with your primary care or local orthopedic specialist to help with a diagnosis and treatment.
“We are really lucky in the Roanoke area – we have a great network of diagnostic imaging centers and orthopedic specialists to work with to help our patients feel better,” says Dr. Skinner.
Are you ready to take your fitness plan to the next level? Good luck, and just like Ryan said – Have fun!
The writing team at Tuck Chiropractic.
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