T Nation

Hernias... What's the Deal?


My college roommate started training serioulsy a few months back. I think I saw him go to the gym maybe once in the 3 years we lived together. He was making great progress until he noticed a bulge at his belly button. He contributed it fast increases in deadlifting in the 2 weeks prior. This got me thinking about hernias and risk factors. How many people have experienced these? I have been training for close to 10 years now and haven't once been concerned about getting one when lifting heavy. Are newbies at more at risk than seasoned strength athletes? Are there genetic factors involved?

Any insight is appreciated.


Genetics are a factor. Some people get hernias from lifting a laundry basket off the floor. I am not saying that someone can't out-train their genetics, because I think it can be done, to an extent.

I have no idea if newbs face a bigger risk than advanced lifters. Dennis Wolf got a hernia as an advanced lifter.


Not sure if this is related, but I think most hernias are inguinal hernias (where there is a protrusion of abdominal contents through the inguinal canal, and is a bump in the groin area) and it is definitely more common in men than women. There's supposedly a one in four chance men get it at some point.

Like anything that increases the pressure in the abdomen will increase the chance of hernias. So yeah, if you're deadlifting horrendously, it may be a factor.


I had an inguinal hernia repair back in November. Happened doing trunk rotations. From what I understand, in my case, when you rotate your trunk and stretch your abdominals, you have an increase risk for a hernia. Training heavy with DL's and squats can also increase risk. I elected to have open surgery rather than laproscopic because the surgeon said the repair is stronger and has less chance of recurrence.


Pretty much there is a weak spot were the testes pop through during development. Some people are more likely to get them then others because of their genetics as has been said.


There was a thread on this not too long ago.

Google: Understanding the adductors by Mike Boyle.

Basically adductor dysfunction/scar tissue can cause a weakness in the abdominal wall.