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Weightlifting & Abdominal Pain

By James Patterson

Pain is your body’s way of telling you something’s not right. Since lifting weights puts a significant amount of strain on the muscles and joints in your body, paying attention to pain – such as abdominal pain – is essential for identifying injury and avoiding worsening whatever is going on with your body.

Types of Injuries

A number of weightlifting-related injuries are possible, depending on the types of exercises you’re doing. Muscle strains are one of the most common forms of injuries when working out. Muscle strains occur during sharp changes in direction or movement. Hernias develop when you have a weak area of muscle and put strain on the location. A hernia involves an organ – usually an intestine – pushing through weak muscle tissue somewhere in your body, but most often in your abdomen or groin. Besides weak muscles, lifting heavy objects incorrectly can also cause a hernia.

Identification of Injury

Identifying your abdominal pain is the first step in treating it so you can get back to working out and building muscle. A muscle strain usually manifests as pain and burning when you contract the specific muscle that was strained. Symptoms of a hernia include a bulge in the area where the hernia occurred, accompanied by pain and sometimes even nausea or vomiting.

Injury Significance

Both hernias and abdominal strains are serious conditions that can keep you out of the weightlifting room for a significant period of time. Depending on the severity of the abdominal strain, you may have to stop lifting weights for up to several weeks to allow it to heal. Some serious hernias require surgery to repair the muscle tissue and put the organ back in its place.

Injury Prevention

Keeping your abdominal muscles strong and stretched is the key to preventing both a hernia and an abdominal strain. Do a light jog or jumping jacks to get your blood flowing before you start your weightlifting routine. As you lift, make sure you’re using lifting form to prevent a hernia. Lift with your legs if you’re going to be picking up a barbell or other weight set off the floor, and use a weight belt to help support your back as you lift. Avoid jerky movements that are associated with abdominal strains.

Other Causes of Pain

Just because you feel pain in your abdomen during your workout doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve suffered a serious injury. Your pain could also be due to something as minor as indigestion. If you feel pain, take a break or take the day off from lifting. If pain persists, consult with your doctor.

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