We had written a series of articles on this topic. When we talked with people from different parts of the world about sports injuries, we realized that the problem is really close to everyone. Therefore, we decided to write 1 international article in English in which we reviewed the key points and our own experience.
So, the first thing is the need to understand causes of sports injuries.
In iron sport we identify 3 main causes of sports injuries. Genetics is the only thing we cannot influence; we can only take it into account. If you know that you have a long tendon or a muscle attachment closer to the joint, you realize that a risk of tear is more likely. It means you need to review exercises and sports techniques and choose only what suits you most.
The second thing is the need to know how to avoid injuries.
To reduce the chances of getting injured is easy. Do not lift weight so fast especially in the first movement. There is a view that fast work contributes to muscle growth. — It is a MYTH! Muscle growth is possible even if you work ultra-slowly. So work SLOWLY. Even Mike Mentzer, one of the greatest bodybuilders, recommended his students and followers doing that.
Biceps often tear during the deadlift with a mixed grip and a reverse grip. The deadlift is one of the three canonical powerlifting exercises. Position of hands like shown in Figures 1; 2 is anatomically incorrect. The use of a natural grip (when you have two hands over the bar) is safer (Figures 3; 4).
Triceps often tear during the wide-grip lat pulldown (Figures 5; 6). How is it possible? – Two triceps tendons are attached to the top part of the shoulder joint (Figure 7). Long head is attached to the shoulder blade. The tendon works intensively and it is often torn, because a wide grip is anatomically unnatural. It would be better to use a close grip (Figure 8).
Powerlifting is not possible without this exercise (Figures 9; 10). According to the statistics, injury of the pectoralis major occurs in this position. Why? — Because the position of body and hands is also anatomically unnatural. To avoid the injury you can use a safer exercise with the natural position of the hands and body (Figure 11).
And the last thing is the need to make the right decision.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF AN INJURY HAS ALREADY OCCURRED?
Statistics is a stubborn thing. Unfortunately, «the king of muscles» (I mean, bicep) is torn in most cases. I’m over 50 and bodybuilding is my lifestyle. In 2009 I tore my left bicep during pull-ups at home.
When such an injury occurs, it is important to decide for yourself: to go to a surgeon or not. One of the great bodybuilders Dorian Yates had torn the left bicep before the Olympia ’83. Dorian did not operate and took the 1-st place then. As for me, I also did not operate and I also do not regret it.
My experience enables me to state 5 major points:
- TORN TENDON HEALS FOR ABOUT A YEAR!!!
- Muscle strength may recover. Now I continue workouts and I can’t tell the difference between the past time (before my bicep was torn) and present. In some international studies it was noted that the loss of strength after regeneration of the tendon was approximately 10 percent. It means that the strength of the damaged biceps is restored to 90% of the baseline.
- The healed tendon will forever remain unchanged. It will be longer and thinner than anatomically determined.
- What exercises and weights do you need to use for muscles after an injury? — Do basic, only basic and nothing but basic exercises!!! But do it not earlier than one year after an injury. You need to use a maximum weight limit for you! Muscles must grow!
- In any exercise the maximum load on a tear occurs at the very beginning of the amplitude when a tendon and muscle are stretched. I tore my bicep in that position. Therefore, I recommend removing the part with the amplitude from exercises. So, if you do pull-ups, do it PARTIALLY instead of full-amplitude pull-ups.