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Let’s talk about back pain during weight training

Last Modified: December 03, 2021

Sports & Exercise


This post was written by Tiffany Patterson, human performance specialist, Parkview Sports Medicine.  

Many individuals experience back pain when lifting weights. This discomfort can occur for a lot of reasons, including past injury, poor posture, lifting too heavy or incorrect technique.  

Proper technique  

Back injuries or pain are most likely to occur with incorrect technique or when lifting too heavy. When people first learn a weightlifting movement or engage a different muscle group, it’s imperative that they learn the correct technique before completing the movement and make sure it is not too heavy. If you aren’t sure, you can always start with a lighter weight and move up once you feel confident that you have the proper technique down. The last thing anyone wants is to have a major back injury or even a bad muscle sprain in their back. 

Progressive overload 

When lifting weights, learn to use progressive overload. This will help with injury prevention. Progressive overload is when there is a gradual increase with the stress placed upon the body. You should make small adjustments each week when progressing with weights and don’t progress too fast with weights that you cannot handle safely. If the weight is too heavy, technique will go out the window and injuries, or pain, can occur.  

Additional tips for injury prevention 

Here are some other important tips to prevent back strain, pain or injury during your weight lifting sessions:  

·       Perform a warm-up prior to lifting. 

·       Know the correct technique prior to lifting. 

·       Don’t lift anything that is too heavy. 

·       Ask for help. 

·       Progressively overload weights. 

·       Have a resistance training program that targets all major muscles. 

·       Don’t ignore pain if it occurs during lifting and just “push through.” Stop the movement. 

·       Get enough sleep and hydration daily. 

·       Stay active and don’t be sedentary. 


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