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Powerlifting Injuries


How often does it happen?


That's a pretty broad-ranging question. Any specific injuries you are asking about?

You might get a torn callous or a slight muscle strain or a really bad muscle pull once a month or once a week or once a year, but there are so many possibilities it's hard to answer a general question like that.


Hmm, perhaps a better question would be, do powerlifters get nagging lower back pain, or knee pain? I would guess rarely, but I'm no powerlifter.


true injuries not too often. nagging pain? constantly. the sport beats the shit out of you. tendonitis, sciatica, shoulders, hips, knees, elbows...


Depends on so many factors man... Routine, diet, genetics, exercise technique etcetcetc...

Lots of people also make very similar mistakes (butt-winking while squatting etc) without noticing... Or train through a kind of injury or nagging discomfort where it would have been better not to... Too many things to list.

Happens in all disciplines though, not just powerlifting... Oly, BB, whatever.

Many old people in my area have worse injuries than most elite powerlifters, spine, knee and shoulder wise without ever having done much physical work in their lives (much less lifted any weights).


Nagging pains, sure. Catastrophic injuries, I've seen a few but have been safe so far. My coach blew out both quads at the same time, one of my ref buds blew out both pecs, I've had three or four friends need shoulder surgery.


You lift heavy, you get hurt. How you lift and take care of yourself before and after lifting will play a part in how bad, how often and what.


If you are pushing your limits something will go wrong at some point. It might be minor, and it might be major, it is just the luck of the draw.


i understand. i was mostly curious about the pro's. Obviously a noobie trying to squat 500 is a recipe for disaster, but when a primed guy hits it as hard as powerlifters do, i assume injuries do happen as with any other sport.

i like how you mentioned some people who havent lifted in a day in their life have worse 'injuries'. More like decomposing.


If you are smart- not very often, but its unavoidable, the key is to learn from your injuries, if you're training hard you should experience some degree of tendinitis but you should learn to manage it. Guys like Dean Bowring (IPF world shw champ 2009) has been in the sport for over 20 years with no major injuries, because he has trained hard and smart.


I would include Phil Richard (european champs 735kg@67.5k) in that list although his bicep tendon tore last month, which happened to be his first major injury since he started training 25 years ago.


It depends on the person as well. Some will have chronic shoulder issues because of factors outside of their control like impingement. Others will have issues with weak supportive muscles like myself. I pulled a muscle badly in my lower back a week ago Sunday going heavy on squats. I was not able to stand up straight until Thursday. Today will be my first day back in the gym since then and it will be all about focusing on that lower back to warm it up and get it stronger. My core is my weak point. And no, my core is not my hips.(somewhat obscure GAL reference)


Its going to depend if you are raw or equipped, and if you do assistance work or not. If you are equipped and you dont have a strong back, you have the possibility of tearing a pec in the bench, because you cant use your lats like you should. You could blow out a quad or knee because the weight shifted the wrong way on your back in the squat. You could tear your bicep in the deadlift because your bi's are weak and you dont do curls.

Mobility is also a big factor, as is technique.


As you get stronger there is a finer edge you need to walk. Add super tight gear and it gets worse. All it takes is something to get out of alignment and things can go bad quickly. But that is why you focus and train and take every rep seriously...but shit still happens.

Other than tweaking my back, I have not been injured during PL.


Um....lower back always aching like hell after deadlifts, squats makes my hips hate me, left shoulder and left elbow will catch fire every few weeks like clock work.

On a side note, I had a shoe rip during a sumo pull and I broke two toes. That was cool.


My right shoulder nags me on and off due to impingement of my supraspinitus. My posterior hip joints will nag me too every once in a while ever since a somewhat major SI joint injury after deadlifting about a year ago. Took 7 months to get my deadlift back where it was, 4 months for squat.

Occasionally I'll get wrist issues and elbow tendonitus but not often, especially if I'm consistent with my curls. For me at least, there not just for preventing biceps tears on DL. The only time I've hurt my back is hyperextending on push presses. 3.5 years of lifting, 1 of those training specifically for powerlifting.


Happens. I tore a rotator a few years back. Right now, my right knee is giving me hell. X rays are clear, but it still hurts. Sometimes you gotta take it easy, and sometimes you got a tough it out.


I saw a chart from a study somewhere which showed injury rates from different sports; of all the sports studied, weightlifting had the least amount of injuries. By weightlifting I assume they meant 'olympic lifting', and I would also assume that the injury rate would be similar between powerlifting and weightlifting.


i've had some pretty good ones..

getting ready for a meet i was working up to my opener on squat. i had had some slight pain in my right adductor for about a week from doing step ups to too high of a box. anyway, on my opener, i stepped back and on the way down my adductor tore down the length of the muscle. once it started to tear i fell and as i feel you could hear it tearing like if you were to tear a tshirt in half. it bled out for about two days. when it finally stopped bleading both legs down into my feet were filled with blood under the skin. it took two months for the discoloration to go away.

preparing for another meet i decided to drop about 20lbs to get into a lower weight class. i decided to do a small local meet to see were my lifters were. i was apparently way more dehydrated than i thought i was. i guess i should have known because my entire lower body was cramping on my bench warmups. this was a raw push/pull comp. i opened with 485 on bench. went up easy. my second attempt was 515. on the way down my left pec tore...again, it sounded like a t-shirt ripping. it immidiately dropped but luckily the spotters caught it. after that attempt a guy that was standing in the back said he heard it rip from way back there. being hard headed i figured i could still deadlift. i warmed up with as few sets as i could. i opened with 640. i had a hard time holding onto the bar on the side of the pec tear but i got it with plenty in the tank. went to 675 for my second. as i broke it off the floor my obliques on the opposite side started to tear apparently from over compensating for the other side. i stuck with it hoping to lock it out before it completly tore... i didn't make it and the oblique completely tore.

i was doing floor press in our squat rack that has a base elevated about 5 inches off the floor. i was doing a reps set with 455. i set the hooks so that after the set was done i could throw the bar back into the hooks. unfortunately as i was doing the set i was sliding back closer and closer to the hooks. as i finished i went to throw the bar back into the hooks but they were right above my head. i hit the hooks way early and the bar flew out of my hands and then dropped straight in the middle of my chest. it happened so fast that my training partners could only lift the bar off my chest once it stopped bouncing off me. i remember laying there thinking i've really fucked myself up. i imagined that i had broken my sternum and probaly did a bunch of internal damage. after laying there for awhile i went to get up and suprisingly didn't feel too bad. i could feel one rib that was definitely broken but that was it at the moment. i actually finished my training and went home. that night i spit up some blood and continued to for a few days. my dumbass of course didn't go to the doctor. the rib took a pretty long time to heal.

at one meet the judges were calling depth really low on squats. i had already gotten one red light on my opener so i figured i needed to get lower on my second. unfortunately i had my lever belt on a little high on my waste. as i hit the bottom with 650 i felt my belt crush the floating rib on my left side. the pain almost made me throw up in the hole. somehow i was able to finish the lift and got three whites.

i tore the other pec not doing enough warmup sets one time. i went from 225 to 495 like an idiot.

moral of the story..... i WAS a dumbass for most of them and most were my fault. i would like to think i'm smarter now and haven't had any serious injuries in a couple years. through some act of God i have fully recovered from all of them except for some tightness in the adductor at times.


You sir, are a fucking legend. I cringed on every story and loved it. :slight_smile: