The International Stunt Academy's mission goes beyond basic Stunt Training. As an Academic Institution we are also committed to studying the impacts of training and performance on mind and body, and researching and developing better methods to help performers and athletes condition and prepare their body for what can be physically challenging career.
As part of our comprehensive series on training and joint/spine health for stunt performers and athletes this article explores the common problem of neck, upper back, shoulder, and rotator cuff issues. These complications often arise from repetitive stress and imbalances caused by weightlifting and linear training. In this essential guide, we'll uncover the underlying causes of these problems, discuss typical symptoms and affected locations, and provide practical solutions for prevention and recovery. By integrating targeted exercises and optimizing training techniques, our expert advice aims to enhance overall spinal health and athletic performance for those in physically demanding professions. Stay ahead in your fitness journey by understanding how to maintain a strong, flexible, and healthy spine.
Weightlifting and linear training can lead to neck, upper back, and shoulder problems for many individuals. Understanding the underlying causes of these issues can be helpful in preventing and addressing them. In this article, we will explain in simple terms how repetitive weight lifting can cause trauma or imbalances that impact the spine and surrounding structures.
Repetitive Axial Loading
Weightlifting involves repeatedly lifting heavy weights, which places a significant amount of stress on the spine. This is known as repetitive axial loading. Over time, this continuous stress can lead to imbalances and trauma in the spine, contributing to neck, upper back, and shoulder issues.
Apophyses and Involved Vertebrae
Apophyses are small bony projections found on vertebrae, the individual bones that make up the spine. They serve as attachment points for muscles and ligaments, helping to stabilize and support the spine. When weightlifting, the vertebrae in the neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic), and lower back (lumbar) regions of the spine are most affected. The stress from lifting heavy weights can damage these apophyses, leading to pain and discomfort.
Thoracic Kyphosis and Lumbar Lordosis
The spine has natural curves that help distribute weight and maintain balance. The thoracic kyphosis refers to the outward curve in the upper back, while the lumbar lordosis is the inward curve in the lower back. These curves are essential for maintaining a healthy spine and preventing injuries.
When weightlifting, the repetitive stress on the spine can cause an increase in thoracic kyphosis or a decrease in lumbar lordosis. This means that the natural curves of the spine become exaggerated or flattened, respectively. These changes can cause muscle imbalances, increased pressure on the intervertebral discs, and potential nerve compression, leading to neck, upper back, and shoulder problems.
Next we will explore the symptoms that individuals might experience, the areas typically affected, and actions they can take to help correct these issues, including exercises and things to avoid.
Individuals experiencing spine-related issues from weightlifting may encounter the following symptoms:
The most commonly affected locations include:
By recognizing the symptoms and affected locations associated with neck, upper back, and shoulder issues resulting from weightlifting, individuals can take proactive steps to correct these problems. Focusing on proper lifting techniques, balanced workouts, and maintaining good posture can help prevent and alleviate these common issues. Incorporating targeted exercises and avoiding certain behaviors will further support spinal health and overall well-being.
This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team