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Beware of Common Movements

“I just turned toward the water fountain and—Bam!”

Bodybuilding can be a hazardous activity. When you lift enough weight to stimulate muscle growth, you always run the risk of injuring your lower back, shoulders and knees, and there’s a remote chance of tearing any muscle you’re working. It’s a calculated risk we all take in our bid to build the best physique possible. We do our best to minimize those risks by warming up thoroughly and using proper form and rep tempo, as well as spotters or a power rack and support gear like belts and wraps. 

Anyone who’s been in the sport long enough, however, knows either firsthand or from tales passed on by fellow lifters of injuries sustained not in the course of battling heavy weights on the gym floor but in the most banal of situations. I’ve heard of trainees being hurt playing softball, tripping and falling, doing yard work or horsing around with their buddies. I once wrenched my lower back severely while twisting and bending over to remove a five-gallon jug of water from the backseat of my car. 

Muscles that are working at odd angles or in unaccustomed ways are an injury waiting to happen. Moving is definitely one of the most dangerous things a bodybuilder can do in that regard, as IRON MAN pro champion Lee Priest recently found out while settling back in his native Australia after 15 years away. 

Lee was taking a wide-screen plasma TV out of its box with a wide, underhand grip. Feeling something like a rubber band snap, he soon learned he’d torn his biceps partially at the origin. Ironically, Lee is known not only for the massive size of his biceps but for his freakish strength as well. Priest has curled 100-pound dumbbells and once performed a cheat curl with 315 pounds—yet lifting a plasma screen television caused the first injury to those biceps after more than 20 years of training. 

So as they used to say on the old cop show “Hill Street Blues,” “Let’s be careful out there.” Be conscious of your form when you lift anything, whether a barbell or a new mattress—which, for you Arnold fans, is how Schwarzenegger’s mom once tore her biceps. 

—Ron Harris

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