Whether you’re a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or an Olympic weightlifter, you will always be at a slight risk of developing a hernia caused by excess physical exertion in lifting weights. That’s not to say you should stop lifting, but make sure you’re aware of the possibility so you can prevent hernia from weightlifting.
Because trust me, developing hernia sucks and may even end your lifting career! It’s the last thing you want as a lifter.
At the end of this post, you will know all about the different types of hernias. Plus, I will provide some guidelines to avoid getting a hernia when working out and lifting weights. If you are not aware of what hernias are, definitely read on!
What is Hernia?
A hernia happens when an organ breaks through it’s surrounding muscle or tissue and pushes past it. For instance, the intestine can break past the abdominal wall.
One cause of developing hernia is genetics. A Congenital Hernia is present at the time of birth, but you would not be able to diagnose it for many weeks or months or even years.
Another common hernia is known as Acquired Hernia. It develops when the muscles or connective tissue in your abdomen lining are weakened. It might happen if your outer organ muscles are damaged at some point in your life. If hernias take place much, much later in life, then it is probably because of the genetic weakness that was present from birth.
Hernias, however, are not that dangerous. But they will never heal or go away on their own. If you do suspect that you have a hernia, then it would be recommended to get a consultation with the doctor.
The only way of getting rid of a hernia is through surgery. Most of the time, the doctor can also repair the abdominal lining by overlapping the existing tissue, and at the end, they fix the hole. Most of the time, they consider using mesh material to patch the hole.
Different Types of Hernias:
There are so many different types of hernias. The differentiation depends on what area of the abdominal lining the intestines breakthrough. Let’s discuss a few of them:
- One of the essential common types is known as Inguinal Hernia. It is also known as a groin hernia. It is for this reason that the groin is considered to be the weakest part of the abdominal wall. Inguinal hernias account for around 80% of all hernias and are more common in men.
- Femoral Hernias are quite rare. They are much higher in percentage among the women. This is mainly due to the structural differences in gender. Pregnancy stress and sometimes conditions of obesity can cause weakness in the femoral canal. This can end up resulting in a femoral hernia. They follow the track below the inguinal ligament all the way through the femoral canal.
- Abdominal Hernias might happen when a small area of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal wall. Abdominal hernias may take place in different regions of the abdomen.
Steps to avoid Hernia from Lifting Weights:
Even if genetic make-up is the primary factor in hernia formation, one can definitely take preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of giving rise to a hernia from lifting weights. Many bodybuilders and weightlifters are afraid of getting a hernia when lifting weights. But carrying out proper and regular weight lifting will stop hernias from occurring in the first place.
Strength training typically helps in building the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues. Bodybuilders and weightlifters usually develop stronger abdominal wall lining as in comparison with sedentary individuals. However, excess physical exertion on a single event can break past this strong wall and give you a hernia, ironically.
Tip No 1: Start Workout with a Warm Up Session:
You should always be starting your workout with a good warm-up session. You should have ready and planned a complete warm-up routine that you can follow before each weight training workout.
Tip No 2: Start Progressing Slowly & Steadily:
You should always train slow and steady. You should be lifting weights only according to your means. If you want to increase the weights you’re lifting, then try to do so in small increments. This will result in better progress and hence would often reduce your risk of injury, including the risk of a hernia.
Tip No 3: Avoid Doing Forced Reps:
There is no need to push yourself too much with forced reps. A forced rep is when the lifter reaches failure in a set, but continues to push solely on the basis of willpower. If you want to lift on safe terms, then you merely need to rack the weight when you reach failure.
Instead, take rest and wait till the next set. Carrying out another set is much better than performing forced reps. This reduces the injury risk as well.
Tip No 4: Breath Into Your Belly:
Lastly, we will be discussing breathing into your belly! Make sure you’re breathing properly and bracing efficiently. Consider learning the Valsalva maneuver.
One of the best ways to breathe when lifting weights is abdominal breathing, as opposed to chest/throat breathing. As you will breathe in, you will be feeling your stomach expand and when you breathe out your stomach will contract. You can do a complete practice session when you are in the gym. When you lower the weight, you should breathe in and expand your belly. Contrariwise, when you lift the weight, blow your air out and let your belly contract.
Preventing hernia is not a complicated task at all. And if you do get it. you need to detect it early in your body and take some immediate measures to diagnose it. For weightlifters and gym trainers, we did mention some simple guidelines to follow at the very least. And if you feel that you have a hernia, consult your doctor immediately.