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Powerlifting

The feeling and sight of the body gaining strength and power is highly satisfying. What is frustrating is when these improvements plateau, or worse still, pain and injury get in the way of training. The common injuries in power-lifters are commonly caused by technique faults that can be prevented. These technique faults can also inhibit performance and are therefore the cause of plateaus in improvement progression.

Here are the top three and how to avoid them:

NB All pain must be fully diagnosed and technique adjustments must only be made under the guidance of your Physiotherapist or Osteopath

1) Low back pain and injury This can range from muscular aches to more serious joint or disc injuries that can cause neurological symptoms like tingling, numbness and weakness in the legs and must therefore be fully assessed by your Physiotherapist or Osteopath before continuing training.

COMMON TECHNIQUE FAULT AND HOW TO CORRECT IT: When squatting, deadlifting or anything involving bending the hips and knees the lower back should retain its natural concave curve. This can be achieved by visualising tipping the tail bone upwards behind you particularly as the hips move closer to the ground. Specific training of the deep abdominal muscles and back extensors can help to maintain this posture.

2) Shoulder pain and injury These range from impingement syndrome – damage to structures such as the long head of biceps tendon, supraspinatus and the sub-acromial bursa, as well as problems with the acromio-clavicular joint.

COMMON TECHNIQUE FAULT AND HOW TO CORRECT IT: Technique can be improved by training the scapular stabilisers which hold the shoulder blade in the correct position and therefore allow the stability muscles of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder – the rotator cuff muscles – to work optimally. When doing any movements where the arm is not moved above shoulder level (pushing or pulling) the shoulder blade should not move forwards. When looking at the alignment of the shoulder from the front, its upper contour should form an upward curve (smiley face) not a downward curve (unhappy face!)

3) Neck pain and injury The small intervertebral discs, facet joints, nerves and blood vessels in the neck can become irritated if this part of the spine is not held in the correct position and cause neck pain, headaches and symptoms such as pins and needles or pain in the upper back and/or arms.

COMMON TECHNIQUE FAULT AND HOW TO CORRECT IT: When doing any upper body or lower body resistance exercise the neck should be held in neutral – this is with a very slight concave curve. Most commonly the chin is lifted away from the body squashing the structures at the top of the back of the neck and stretching structures at the front. This can be corrected by gently tucking the chin in and elongating the back of the neck.

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