The weighted squat is one the most widely used exercises in all sports, by everyone from beginners to professional athletes. Squats offer a great full-body workout, primarily targeting your thighs, hips, and back. This exercise stimulates major gain in muscle size and overall strength. However, if done incorrectly, it can lead to injury, discomfort and intense pain
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Bad Form on Squats
Bad form is the biggest cause of injury. One of the common errors is descending too quickly and flexing the torso too far forward. Other bad posture habits include not aligning the knee with the direction of your toes. When the knee is not tracking over the toes, it places a lot of pressure on the knee joints. A lot of people, especially beginners, get into the habit of resting the weight directly on their necks. The bar should rest on your upper-back, never on your neck itself. Placing the weight on your neck can cause severe injuries.
Types of Neck Injuries
Directly placing the weight bar on your neck can cause bruising, injury to the vertebrae or even damage to the spinal cord if the weight is too heavy. Flexing your back and neck muscles against resistance can cause ligament damage in the neck and surrounding areas. Over-flexing the torso increase the force exerted on the lower back, which in turn may cause spinal disc herniation. Sprain can also occur by sudden contractions and by underdeveloped back muscles. Bad form can cause slipped discs.
Preventing Neck Injuries
Begin by just practicing your form to get a feel for the motion and your own strength. If you are just starting out, start by using a trainer to show you the proper technique. Having a spotter at hand will also greatly decrease the chance of injury. Ensure that you position your hands evenly on the bar. The bar should rest comfortably on your shoulders.
Start slowly and be aware of any pain you feel. Sharp pain is in indication of injury or strain. Stop what you are doing and check with your trainer first. Never lean forward. Your hips should be under the bar at all times. If you feel pain in your neck, stop the exercise immediately and seek medical treatment. Check with a trainer to ensure you are using proper form.
- Spine-Health; Bodybuilding, Weightlifting and Back Pain; Thomas E. Hyde, D.C.
- Bodybuilding Anatomy; Nick Evans
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Neck Pain