Barbell Life / Fitness

Powerlifting and Injuries: How to Not Break Yourself

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

-T. S. Eliot, preface, Transit of Venus

Hello Nation,

First off I’d like to address why I have not posted anything for a while… I’m a grown up and I’ve been busy being a grown up.

I hope I die before I get old.

I hope I die before I get old.

Now that I’ve addresses that, I’d like to get into what this article is about. From the title this is about injuries in the sport of powerlifting (or anything else for that matter except for marathon running because that’s stupid). However, this is by no means a list of excuses to not push yourself, take it easy, or just be an all around pansy about it. If you actually push yourself you SHOULD be flirting with injury on the regular. Thou shalt not be a pansy…

Just another reason why baseball is lame

Just another reason why baseball is lame

Injury Prevention

A lot of powerlifters don’t know how to truly prevent injuries. We fall into a false sense of security that all we need to do is train the big three lifts that we actually get tested in. Now I’m not saying it isn’t good to train that way sometimes, but just doing the main lifts does promote muscular imbalance unless your some kind of powerlifting mutant.

like this guy

like this guy

It is important to train all of your musculature not just because it helps you look jacked, but because it makes your lifts better. How often have you trained your teres minor, glute medius, transverse abdominis? All of these are muscles that provide a support system for your bench, squat, and deadlift respectively. Thus, if you aren’t working these muscles (along with various others) you’re short changing yourself. The answer is simple, just do some…

Face pulls

Lateral band walks

Hammer curls

any rear delt exercises

and some ab wheel work

More or less, train like a bodybuilder on lifts that aren’t the big three (hell even train those like a bodybuilder sometimes). And I almost forgot! DO A LOT OF PAUSE WORK! Trust me it’ll teach you “strong form”. You can’t pause in a weak position, so just do it and thank me later.

Oh Crap, You just got hurt!

So now you didn’t follow what I just said (don’t feel like a total idiot, I didn’t either) and now you’ve broken yourself. Depending on how awesome your injury is either go to the doctor or don’t. I typically opt not to go, but I’m a stupid kid that still thinks they’re Wolverine. A doctor will typically tell you to take 600 mg of ibuprofen (advil) 3 times a day (3 pills 3 times a day if you can’t do math), rest it, ice it often, and elevate. In extreme cases you may need surgery, but you’d be surprised what your body can heal from if you’re not a punk.

Essentially my recommendations are super simple. TRAIN AROUND IT! Say you hurt your knee squatting… well i guess it is time to sack up and get a big back and bench press. You’re body will tell you what is cool and not cool, so be a momentary zen master and let the force guide you (if you are unfamiliar with jedi… crawl into a hole and die).

Well at least they used to be cool

Well at least they used to be cool

Returning after an Injury

Alright now you’ve waited and rest for the allotted amount of time the doctor told you (6 weeks if you’re a chump like myself). It’s time to get back to training like normal right?

No idiot, that how you got hurt in the first place. It is time to become an all around stronger weight lifter rather than just a strong”powerlifter”. This is a mindset problem that I will address in future articles.

You need to return slowly and give the soft tissue time to thicken and return to its previous championesque nature. If that means you need to squat 315 for singles like the rest of the weak chumps in the gym then that’s what you ought to do unless you want to break yourself again. Hopefully you used your time off wisely and develop a new strength (like a rocked up rotator cuff or some other nonsense muscle group).

Personal experience

I’m writing this article because I actually just injured myself too. I won’t show any pictures of myself because it is in a “personal area” to say the least.


Well it looked like the inguinal one. Luckily it wasn’t a hernia. I’m lucky right now because I have access to a bunch of athletic trainers that know what they are talking about. However, the final diagnosis from them and a family doctor was that I tore the origin of my ab muscle, which is right at the pubic bone. It was an amazingly loud snap and I wish I got it on video. I was squatting at the time and oddly enough I was doing a high set of squats (10-20 reps) with…. 310 like a chump I know.

I also am pretty sure that I damaged an adductor (inner thigh) muscle too, but I’m the only one that came to that conclusion. Thus, this means 6 weeks away from squats, deadlifts, or anything that taxes my “core”. Looks like I’m re-thinking an article that I wrote a little while ago.

So now I decided that I’m going to try to kill myself with pull ups, rows, and get my bench press through the roof. However, I do have to bench press with my feet up now to take the tension of my abs… lame, I know.

Well now its time for me to do pull ups until I throw up.

Be awesome.



Come fight me… I don’t have to be academic all the time.


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