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5 tips for bodybuilding with injuries

Joe Vega, a reknown physical therapist and personal trainer, gave Men's Fitness some advice for bodybuilders who want to work around some common ailments and keep up with their fitness regimen.

1. Lower back pain during deadlifts and overhead presses

Lifters experience lower-back pain if they don't properly contract their core while lifting weights. Contracting the core will help increase intra-abdominal pressure, which will decrease the stress for the lower back.

2. Working around tendinitis in shoulders and elbows. 

Tendinitis occurs when you perform the same exercises too often with little variation. Trade bench presses for body-weight dips on Olympic rings for a while, and your shoulders will hurt less and your muslces will develop more. Second, drop your weights. Compensations may occur when lifting weight that's too heavy. Lastly, work opposing muscle groups. If you're dealing with an injury to your pressing muscles, you may want to scratch that motion and work on some pulling exercises.

3. Shoulder pain that won't go away

If a doctor is unable to find anything physically wrong with your shoulder,  you're probably dealing with a mobility issue stemming from strength imbalances in the thoracic spine, scapula or shoulder joint. Use a tennis ball to roll out tight, painful areas. 

4. Knee pain during squats

If your knees buckle inward when squatting it's generally because of a muscle imbalance in the hips. The inner adductors, or groin muscles, are usually stronger than the outer thigh abductor muscles. Try performing squats with a medium-strength band around both knees to exert an outward force that will strengthen the hip abductors and improve the movement pattern.

5. Prevent injuries in the first place. 

Allow time in between workouts for proper recovery -- lifters should have at least two rest days a week. Second, make sure to incorporate 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises into every workout. Also, vary your training, since you are less likely to suffer inuries if you mix things up. 

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