Weak muscles are prone to injury, and a broken bone, injured joint or pulled muscle can lead to a lengthy recovery time. If you’re frequently plagued with neck pain, low back pain or sprained ankles, a weak group of muscles may be to blame. Read on to learn how weakened muscles can cause injury, as well as what exercises to practice to strengthen these muscle groups.
Abdominal Muscles – Weak abdominal muscles mean that your lower back muscles have to work harder to support your body. This can lead to lumbar strain or low back pain. To strengthen these muscles, practice crunches, Pilates or other exercises designed for core strength.
Hamstrings – Many knee injuries aren’t caused by a weak knee joint, but by weak hamstring muscles that put extra stress on the knee. A knee injury isn’t something you want to risk, so spend some extra time in the gym on leg curls and straight leg dead lifts to increase hamstring strength.
Shoulder (spina spinatus) – Shoulder injuries are especially common in men who play sports like baseball and football, either professionally or casually, who have weak shoulder muscles. To reduce your risk of a damaged shoulder, work on front lateral raises and lying lateral raises the next time you’re at the gym.
Rotator Cuff – A torn rotator cuff is nothing you want to mess with. While you can’t completely prevent this painful injury, spend some time strengthening up weak shoulder muscles. Practice reverse cable crossovers, dumbbell swings and supine and standing single arm dumbbell protractions.
Grip – A strong handshake is often the sign of a strong personality, at least in the business world. If your grip is weak, you may find that you frequently drop things, have trouble holding on to heavy objects or experience pain from repetitive motions. There are several gripper exercise tools available on the market that are inexpensive and easy to use. Consider purchasing one and using it to work the muscles in your hand and forearm.
Neck Muscles – We’re a society of desk workers. Unfortunately, years of poor posture while using a computer can lead to weakened neck muscles. Weak neck muscles may cause pain in the neck or shoulders, and can contribute to chronic headache and migraine. Practice yoga, stretching exercises and unweighted chin tucks to strengthen the muscles in the neck, and take frequent breaks to check your posture when you’re working at the computer.
Lower Back – Lower back pain can be caused by weak back and core muscles, poor posture, chronic stress or tight hamstring muscles. The easiest way to reduce lower back pain is to spend time strengthening the core muscles on a regular basis, while also maintaining good posture. If you work at a desk, be sure that you are using ergonomic office furniture that supports your lower back, and that you’re getting up regularly to stretch and move your back.
Pelvic Floor – Women who’ve given childbirth know all about the pitfalls of weak pelvic floor muscles. Weakened muscles in this area can cause stress incontinence, leading one to leak small amounts of urine during sneezing, laughing or coughing. To prevent this embarrassing problem, practice Kegel exercises before and after childbirth.
Lateral Leg Muscle – Weak lateral leg muscles are a common cause of sprained ankles. If you have “bad ankles,” the problem may not be your ankles at all, but your lower leg muscles or your sense of balance. Practice one legged squats and balance exercises to reduce your chance of an ankle injury.
Elbow – While elbow injuries are common, especially in athletes, the weak area is not usually the elbow itself. To prevent elbow injuries, strengthen the arm muscles surrounding the joint. Bicep curls and tricep extensions will help strengthen your arms and reduce your risk of an elbow injury.
You don’t have to suffer with chronic muscle, joint or back pain. Instead, consider working with a physical therapist or trained exercise professional to develop a routine to strengthen the weak muscles that are triggering your pain.