Lifting weights has been known to cause pain and injuries in many areas of the body, many of us have heard of people hurting their backs from lifting too heavy. Making dangerous mistakes during lifting can cause pain in many areas of the body, not just the back. So if you’re wondering, “Can you hurt your neck lifting weights?” the answer will not be any different.
Yes, you definitely can hurt your neck lifting weights. There are many reasons this can occur, but usually its due to either lifting too heavy, bad form, forward head posture, overtraining, or not warming up enough. The best way to keep yourself safe is to avoid these mistakes and focus on perfect form on each exercise.
Disclaimer: If you are experiencing serious neck pain, it is recommended to stop working out and immediately speak with a doctor. Your doctor will give you the best advice for your situation and provide you with the best treatment plan. It is recommended to follow your doctors advice over anything you read online because your doctor will know you and your situation best. Once your pain is gone, you can start getting back to lifting and incorporating the good lifting habits to keep yourself safe and prevent further neck pain.
Lets get into the mistakes that can cause you to hurt your neck lifting weights and how to fix these mistakes.
Lifting Too Heavy
One common mistake I see most people doing in the gym is lifting more weight than they can handle. There is nothing wrong with lifting heavy, but when you struggle to keep good form, then you are lifting too heavy and this is the problem. When you lift weights that are too heavy for you to currently handle, your form breaks down, when your form breaks down, you are now lifting heavy weight in a bad position, this is how you can hurt your neck lifting weights.
I get it, everyone wants to quickly start lifting heavier weights to become stronger, but I suggest leaving the ego at the door and focusing on lifting weight you can handle with perfect form, then building up from there. This will be the best way to stay safe and not hurt your neck lifting weights.
Fix: Record yourself and be critical when judging your form or show it to someone who knows how to lift with good form, you want to honestly know how you are doing, if the form is bad, lower the weight.
Another issue with lifting too heavy is if you try to lift weight that you cannot yet handle, your body will try to compensate for weakness in one area by forcing other areas of the body to help, this can be bad because your body can move into unsafe posture or position to output more energy and lift that weight. This is all a recipe for disaster.
I touched on this above because bad form can go hand in hand with lifting too heavy. Like I said above, if you lift too heavy, your form breaks down, your body tries to go into a potentially unsafe position to output more energy and complete the lift, this puts your body at risk of injury. This can eventually cause you to hurt your neck lifting weights.
I have an injured neck due to past sports injuries, one day I had been doing overhead barbell presses in the gym, I was rushing my sets and not paying attention to my form. Suddenly I felt my neck twitch, I had pinched a nerve in my neck. I wasn’t able to turn my neck fully for about a week. I had lost most mobility and couldn’t fully turn left or right. Luckily it healed up.
Fix: My suggestion is to research the exercises you’re doing and learn perfect form, then lower the weight for a while and do each of your sets with perfect form for at least a week. Then you can slowly go back to your normal weight, when you get back to normal weight, warm up with low weights and focus on perfect form. Then for each of your normal sets, record yourself to make sure you form is perfect.
Forward Head Posture
Another common mistake I’ve seen people doing during their lifts is tilting their heads far forward. This is a bad posture habit and posture itself is incredibly important, if you ignore this, you will regret it later in life. Always focus on good posture habits. Tilting your head too far forward constantly during lifting weights will cause you to hurt your neck lifting weights.
What happens when you tilt your head forward is your throwing off your heads center of gravity and making your neck work twice as hard. When doing this during a workout, many people have a tendency to push their neck very far forward during the lift and put extreme pressure on the neck.
Fix: The fix for this is to always keep your head and neck aligned with your body, you should be able to draw a straight line going down from your head to your hips for most exercises, this is general best practice. Do not tilt your head forward, because if you do this you can hurt your neck lifting weights. Avoiding this mistake and practicing good posture habits throughout your daily life will benefit more than just your neck health.
Overtraining occurs when your constantly pushing your body too far and can be very dangerous to your health. Overtraining can also slow down your progress and muscle gains because you are not giving your body enough rest to recover. Your muscles grow while you are resting, diet and rest are more important than actually lifting the weights. You can lift as much as you want, but if you don’t get enough rest and have a good diet, you will not see any results and all your hard work will be a waste.
Fix: The best way to fix this is to have breaks in the weeks. If you work out 5 days a week, try to rest every 2 workout days in a row. Or at least just rest on the weekends. If you workout 3 times a week, try to rest one day after each workout.
One of the most important things is to listen to your body, if you ignore your body when its in pain, you will lead yourself into an injury. This is a common way you can hurt your neck lifting weights and I have made this mistake before. I love to work extremely hard and see fast results, but this can be very bad for your health, if your body is telling you to take a rest, just have a day or two off to relax.
Not Warming Up
Many people have busy lives and want to just get into their workouts and get out as fast as possible so they can go about their days, but skipping your warmups can be a quick path to hurting yourself. If you don’t prepare your body before lifting weights, you can hurt your neck lifting weights. It is best to warm up at least for 5 to 10 minutes before working out, because if you get injured, you wont be able to work out for days or weeks.
Fix: Warming up can be as simple as stretching and doing the workout without any weights. Usually I like to warmup for each workout I do, so I’ll do warmup sets of squats, deadlifts, bench press, for each workout I do I always start with light weight to warm up and build up to my normal weight, then I will begin my sets. This is a great way to keep yourself safe and prepare your body for each lift. Doing this will keep not only your neck safe but your whole body.
Avoiding the mistakes above and following the fixes talked about in this article will keep your neck safe during your workouts and prevent any situations that will cause you to hurt your neck lifting weights. Always focus on your form and posture during each workout and during your daily life. Avoid lifting more weight than you can handle, if it feels too heavy and your form is breaking down, lower the weight by a few pounds, check your form, if its good, then work your way back up from there.
If you are still feeling neck pain after a week or it has gotten worse, I recommend seeing your doctor immediately to get a diagnosis and find out more about your situation. Follow what your doctor says over anything you read online. Also I suggest reading some of the articles below once your pain has been reduced. These articles combined with the lessons learned here will help you prevent this neck pain from occurring again, so I highly suggest checking them out and make sure you put them into practice when you’re working out.