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Injury Questions and Answers - Page 3


Hi Lee,

I just started working out 3 days back. I started of with bi's first day, legs the 2nd day and then today I worked on my abs and also tried lifting some weights.

The problem is that I have too many soars over my body. My first day I could lift 20 pounds dumbell but today I could not even lift 7.5 pounds with my hand. I found it too difficult to lift a lighter weight than my first day workout.

Whats the problem ? I cant even stretch my arm completely nor lift it above my head, the soars just doesnt allow it.

Also I have noticed that my right hand can lift heavier weight than my left hand, what should I do about this ? I do not want it too be unbalanced.

The bottom line is that my body is soar and cant workout as I could before 2 days.

Will appreciate your response.



Hi Amit,

You did too much just starting out. You need to take a couple days off and let your body rest. I personally only workout every second day. This way you give your muscles a chance to rest, recover, and grow between workouts. I have a good beginners article that you should read at: http://www.leehayward.com/art5.htm


Dear Lee,

Im 18 and ive been lifting weights for about two years now, my favorite workout is bench press my MAX is now 415lbs. I recently hurt my self and i cant go heavy on the bench without it hurting the side of my right chest. It happend because i didn't warmup or stretch, I just put on 365lbs and by the third rep I felt something tear on the right side of my chest. As soon as it heals I want to try your Blast your Bench workout. It hurts when I do chest and I cant go heavy, how long do you think it will take to recover and what should I do to help it?

Arnold Mendoza


Hi Arnold,

Not warming up prior to lifting heavy weight is stupid. Even the strongest lifters in the world always warm up prior to lifting. A sample warm up for your bench should go something like this:

empty bar x 10 reps
135 x 5 reps
225 x 5 reps
315 x 3 reps
365 x 3 reps
405 x 1-2 reps

How long it takes to for your chest to heal depends on how bad you hurt yourself. But stay away from benching and heavy chest work for at least a 3-4 weeks. You can work around the injury by doing lots of tricep, shoulder, and back work to help strengthen the supporting muscles used in the bench press. Try doing push ups to help work the bench pressing muscles, keep your hands shoulder width apart and focus on pressing with your triceps.


Hi Lee,I wondered what your thoughts were on thisI have fairly bad varicose veins in my right leg ( I have had two operations to remove said veins, and I have others that are needing attention), and they are starting to show in my left ( lower femur and lower calf). My wife is very woried that weight training will make this worse. I have a support that I use, do you think that this is enough or that I should maybe stop weight training.My heart really wants to keep on training.


Weight training will not hinder your varicose veins, in fact regular exercise will help get rid of varicose veins by improving your circulation. Doing cardio, strength training, and elevating your legs by laying down with your feet propped up on a couple pillows for about 30 minutes each day will help to improve the blood circulation in your legs.


I have a bad case of tennis elbow. Do you have any ideas on how to alleviate this condition? This frigging problem prevents me from working out.



Hi Grant,

Take at least a week off from working out or doing any strenuous activity that may aggravate your elbow.

Supplement with Glucosamine, this is awesome for healing your tendons and joints. I have an article about it at: http://www.leehayward.com/art26.htm

When you do go back to training wear elastic elbow wraps to help support your elbows and avoid doing any exercises that place excess strain on the elbow joint (i.e. various tricep extensions, etc.).

Overtime this will heal itself. I have problems with tennis elbow every now and then and it really screws up your training. I just take some time off from working out, and then when I resume training I try to work around it in my workouts. If a certain exercise hurts, don't do it. Find another variation instead.


First thing, great site!

Second thing, I have been working out for nearly 2 years and working out very regularly the past 10 months. In the last 6 months I have developed a problem with my left arm/shoulder and I feel it the most when doing side raises. It feels like it is just above the triceps and feels like the muscle is being pinched.

There is no pain when doing front shoulder raises, bicep, tricep or chest exercises on a flat bench, but it hurts when I do side raises and some discomfort when doing presses on an incline.

I read an article in Men's Health that mentioned the injury and they only gave a substitute exercise. Any thoughts on what the injury is and any kind of warm up exercises I can do to fix the problem? Could it be as simple as not warming enough?

Any thoughts you have on this would be appreciated, thanks.

mike duda


Hi Mike,

You need to warm up well before working your shoulders. I personally do a lot of rotator cuff exercises with light weights and do high reps. For my warm ups I personally do arm circles and a variety of other arm rotation exercises with a 2.5 or 5 lb. weight in each hand.

You should also work your rear deltoids a lot. They are the weak link in most peoples shoulder development and cause a lot of shoulder problems. I personally do a lot of bent over dumbbell flyes to work the rear delts and upper back.

I also do "Face Pulls" by using a tricep push down machine with the rope attachment. Standing a few feet aways from the machine and pull the rope towards your face and apart so that your hands are to the sides of your head. This isolates the rear delts and upper back.

Another exercise that I like to do is take a barbell with a medium grip and do light shoulder presses alternating pressing to the front of the head and to the back of the head. Don't lock out the elbows, just lift the bar high enough to clear your head and press to the front, then press to the back, etc. do about 3 sets of 10 reps to the front and back of the head.

Try including these exercises in your workouts to help with your shoulders. And if any exercises hurt, don't do them. Find another exercise to work that muscle. Try different variations or machines. For example, I personally find that over head presses bother my shoulders, but I can use the Hammer Strength shoulder press machine with no problems so I use that machine for my shoulder presses.

You should also try supplementing your diet with "Glucosamine". This is great for reducing pain because it helps to strengthen the cartilage, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It is really good for people who suffer from pain in the shoulders, elbows, knees, etc. You can get "Glucosamine Supplements" at: http://www.leehayward.com/glucosamine.htm


Hi Lee,

I have a question that I hope you can help me with. I have developed elbow joint pain that has become fairly severe. It started to hurt only when I was doing curls with heavier weight, then has progressed to hurting even when I am not lifting.

It hurts on the outside of my elbow, and inside my upper forearm when I either rotate my forearm or raise it as in a curl.

Can You give me any clues to what I have done, and what I should or should not do?




Hi Marc,

This is what people call "tennis elbow". Basically, you have strained the tendons in your elbow and forearm. I suggest that you take a full week off from lifting to let your muscles, tendons, and joints rest and recover. Then when you go back to working out wear an elastic elbow wrap to help support your elbow joint and tendons. You can pick these wraps up at most any drug store.

Avoid exercises that put excess strain on your tendons. If a particular movement hurts don't do it, find another exercise or variation that feels more comfortable. Experiment to find exercises that you can do comfortably. You should also train every second day. This will give your joints and tendons more recovery time. If you would like to do some exercise on the days that you do not weight train include various forms of cardio such as walking, jogging, swimming, bike riding, etc...

I also recommend that you supplement your diet with "Glucosamine". This will help to strengthen and heal your joints. I have an article about it at: http://www.leehayward.com/art26.htm


Dear Lee,

I am a 35-year-old female and have been lifting off and on for about 17 years. In the last year or so I've been experiencing a cramp in my left hand while using free weights. This prevents me from increasing the weight since I'm about to drop the dumbbell after a few reps. I hate to forgo free weights for machines since there's not much variety. I don't really think it's carpal tunnel since I don't have any other problems with that hand. It's only noticeable when I'm using dumbbells and sometimes with one-handed cable exercises. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Bethany Maguire


Hi Bethany,

Take a full week off from lifting to let your muscles, tendons, joints, etc. fully recover. The rest alone should help ease the pain and cramping in your hand(s). Then when you go back to working out wear a pair of elastic wrist wraps (on both wrists) to help support your wrists and hands. You may also want to try using lifting straps to help you keep your grip while lifting free weights.


Hi Lee

I am a 17 year old male who started wieght lifting since last christmas... Since then, i've been seeing good results... but recently, i have had a little shoulder problem.. when i move or rotate my right shoulder, it hurts like hell.. it basically won't allow my arm to go any higher than my neck, when its extended... It feels as if the problem is with the bone, because when i force my shoulder to rotate, i fell a "click" in my shoulder... Can you tell me how 2 get rid of this problem because i'm eager 2 get back 2 the wieght room, and i don't know how i would do stuff like squats and curls, if my problem continues... i've had this problem for a little more than a week now... Can you please tell me how to get rid of it?

Thanks a lot

Omar Uddin


Hi Omar,

Sounds to me like rotator cuff problems. I suggest that you keep off the weights until the pain eases up to allow full range of movement of the shoulder joint. You can try taking some over the counter pain killers (i.e. aspirin or ibuprofen) this may help with the joint pain.

When you get back to the gym; always start each workout with light shoulder exercises such as arm circles, light lateral raises (front, side and rear) for the shoulders, light shoulder presses, etc. This is to get the blood flowing in the shoulders and warm them up.

When you do your actual workout choose exercises that feel comfortable. If you normally do barbell shoulder press, but you find that it hurts, don't do it. Try using dumbbells or a machine instead. If incline barbell bench press hurts, try doing dumbbell bench press. Etc... Train a bit lighter and be extra careful. The main thing is if something hurts, don't do it! Find another exercise to do instead. You should also try training with rubber exercise bands for some of your shoulder exercises (i.e. lateral raises, presses, etc.) they don't cause as much joint pain as free weights or machines sometimes can.



2 nights ago i slept wrong and somehow woke up with a major sleeping cramp in my neck. I cant really even bend my neck to the left or turn it to far to the left. I'm taking off today from working out cause it hurts to much to lift with, when do you think something like this would heal. How long will it be for recovery you think. Have you ever had a cramp like this, what did you do if so?

Mark Kotich


We have all have aches, pains, muscle cramps, etc. from time to time. Usually, stuff like this will clear up in a day or two. But don't workout until the pain is gone. It is better to play it safe then risk hurting yourself. The short break from working out will only help your muscles fully recover and grow.


Hi Lee,

I have been working out on and off for 10 years, I injured my back doin powercleans back in 1990. I have a herniated disk in my lower back now. I have pain on and off. I still want to be a bodybuilder but if I do lift weights I have some pain. Can you please tell me what I can do. What exercises and I also have a belly which i'm trying to lose, I know that should help my back. Should I wait to lift weights till I get a six pack? Thank you.

Arif Malik


Hi Arif,

To help with your back pain you should take "Glucosamine". This is an awesome supplement for helping with joint and back pain. I have an article about it at: http://www.leehayward.com/art26.htm

For your workouts you will have to just start off light and experiment to find the exercises that you can do comfortably. Follow a beginners workout routine where you do a light total body workout 3 days per week. Focus on machine exercises at first because they are safer then free weights. For your back exercises I suggest using exercises such as pull downs and chest supported rowing machines to take the stress off your lower back. Train your abdominals at least 3 days per week, strong abdominals will help to support your back.

On the days that you do not workout, you should do 20-30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise such as walking outdoors, treadmill, exercise bike, etc.


I recently was doing shoulders and may have been stupid by lugging to much weight and may have leaned back a little during a set. I then after completing the set felt some pain in my inner chest. It only really hurts when I take DEEP breaths. Not regular breathing. I can stretch my arms back but it would hurt if i lift weight for it. What should I do to mend whatever sort of injury it may be? How long should I wait before returning to the gym? Is it a sprain, pull, torn or what? Please help me.

Your loyal member,
Mark Kotich.


Hi Mark,

It is hard for me to tell exactly what you did, but my advice would be to simply take a week off from working out just to make sure everything is healed. The rest will actually do you good, most people who workout regularly are somewhat overtrained. Taking a break every now and then helps with recovery and muscle growth. I personally take a week long break 3-4 times per year to just let my muscles, joints, and tendons rest and recover. After the break I feel fresh, energized, and ready to get back to my regular training routine.

(Note: if after a week off you still feel pain in your chest muscles you should get it checked out by a doctor, just to make sure everything is ok.)


Hi Lee,

I used to run 3-5 miles a day until I partially tore the ligaments in my left knee. I just getting back to working out and running again but my calves are very very tight. Some times when I get someone at the gym to stretch my calves I feel blood rushing all over my body. What causes my calves to be so tight and what can I do to loosen them up.

Peter Shaer
New York


Hi Peter,

There are a several reasons why your calf muscles may be tight, but here are some tips that may help:

- warm up with 5-10 minutes of moderate cardio before doing any stretches

- some good stretches for the calfs are light weight standing and seated calf raises with a full range of motion, make sure to emphasize the fully stretched position

- you should try to increase your intake of sodium. Lack of sodium can cause muscle cramps and tightness. Simply adding some table salt to your food will help.

Give these tips a try and see if they help.


hi lee

ive been sidelined from lifting weights for about 3.5 weeks due to a muscle strain in the back of my shoulder. i can tell i cant lift as much as i used to and i was wondering if have have lost some muscle tissue due to not using my muscles as much? also, can i gain that muscle back fast and lift as much as i used to when i was lifting weights faster? i really am anxious to get back in the weight room i think i will be able to in a matter of a few days.



Hi Josh,

In a lot of cases when people have to take a short layoff from training because of a minor injury, they make great gains when they go back to working out. And after couple months a lot of people are stronger then ever. It is good to give your body a break every now and then, it helps your muscles to fully recover so they respond better to training. Even if you are not injured you should take a week off every couple of months, just to let your muscles and joints fully recover.


Hi Lee:

Just checked out your site. Great job. Quick question? I lost about 45 lbs on diet. I was 200lbs (mostly fat) and Im 6'. I now weigh 155lbs and have been lifting weights for almost one year. I now need to gain some serious muscle. Im really too skinny. Any suggestions on supplements. Im now trying cell tech and Ive been taking myoplex shakes inbetween meals. Ive been eating quite a bit.

The other major problem Im having is I pulled (tore)? muscle in back. Scapula area. Feels like needles. I tried a chiropractor but didn't seem to help. I laid off weights for over one month and it felt better but first time back to gym Pulled it again. Did it bending over to pick up dumbell for incline bench. Any suggestions?

Thanks for you help



Hi Dave,

It seems that you are on the right track for gaining muscle mass. Taking Cell Tech after your workouts and having Myoplex shakes in between meals is a great way to get extra calories and nutrients in your diet. I have a couple good articles that you can check out at: http://www.leehayward.com/art5.htm and http://www.leehayward.com/art9.htm These articles have some great exercise and nutrition tips.

If you back doesn't hurt then you can still workout. I suggest that you only use machine exercises for the next month or two. This will help reduce the risk of injury. Experiment with different exercises, if a particular movement doesn't feel comfortable then don't do it. Your goal at this stage is "active recovery", you should try to maintain your current condition while allowing your back to fully heal.

Make sure to warm up well before your workouts, do 5-10 minutes of cardio and then do several light sets for the muscles that you will be working. Wear a sweat shirt when working out, this will keep your muscles warm and help to prevent injury. Train only 3-4 days per week at most to give your body plenty of time for rest and recovery.

If your back doesn't get any better or gets worse then you should stop working out and go see your doctor to get it checked out.


Hello Lee,

I want to build a complete chest, but cannot perform incline bench because of my bad shoulders, any suggestions on how I can workout my upper chest regimen?

I am looking forward to your advice!

Thank you,
Donny Granberg


Hi Donny,

If your shoulders hurt when you train you should take careful precautions with your training. First, you should wear a shirt that covers your shoulders so they stay warm while you are training. If they get cold this could cause pain and discomfort. You should always warm up your shoulders well before attempting any heavy lifting. I do some stretching and various light exercises using very light weights or just my bodyweight to help warm up the area the I am going to be working.

You can work your upper chest area by using various chest exercises. Instead of doing incline barbell bench press, try doing incline dumbbell bench press. Or you may try using lighter weights with your incline bench exercises and do more reps to help work the muscles without stressing the joints too much. Flat bench press done by lowering the bar towards the upper chest/collar bone area will work the upper chest more then bench presses done by lowering the bar to the rib cage area. Machine exercises such as pec deck machines may help to work your upper chest without bothering your shoulders.

The thing that you have to do is experiment with various exercises until you find the ones that feel comfortable to you and allow you to get a good workout.


How can I avoid getting calluses on my hands?


Wear a pair of weight lifting gloves when you workout. Those small leather gloves with the fingers cut off work great for protecting your hands and making your workouts more comfortable. You can pick up a good pair for about $10 at a department store such as Wal-Mart.



I'm brand new to your website but it appears to be exactly what I'm looking for. I have a somewhat complicated question that involves my 13 year old son.

He was born with a brachial plexus injury to his right shoulder which limits his ability to lift weights. Like I said, he is 13 but a very big guy. He is 6' 1" and weighs 235lbs.....yes you read that right. He is very big for his age. The problem is that he has a significant amount of body fat in is upper torso......especially in the breast area. It even appears that he has women's breasts ...they are very large and protruding. It has gotten to the point that he doesn't want anyone to see him with his shirt off. He will start high school (9th grade) in the fall and I thought this summer would be the perfect time to start him on a program of toning and reduction. Considering the limitations imposed by his injury, what exercises would you recommend for him to help tone up his chest muscles and eliminate the protruding breasts?

Any help you can provide will be sincerely appreciated.

Thank you !!!
TR Wood


Hi TR,

I suggest that your son perform cardio exercise to help burn off the excess bodyfat. Exercises such as walking, bike riding, team sports, etc. are all good. The fastest way for him to burn off bodyfat would be to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise first thing each morning when he gets up. Doing cardio at this time will help burn more bodyfat because there is no food in the system to be used as fuel, so the body resorts to using bodyfat for fuel. It is a good idea to buy a stationary bike, treadmill, or some other type of cardio equipment for doing early morning exercise (that is if you don't already have some cardio equipment at home).

At this stage I wouldn't recommend strength training exercises for your son. Start off with cardio exercise to burn off bodyfat. After a couple of months of regular exercise he can start a light weight training routine. We don't want to push him into doing too much to soon. His body needs time to adapt to the exercise, and because he is so heavy the cardio exercise will take a lot more effort for him then it would for a lighter person.

I wouldn't recommend that you put him on a "diet" as such. No body likes diets and the results are usually not long term. I suggest that you focus more on healthy eating. Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low fat dairy products. This doesn't mean that he can not have some "junk food" every now and then, but the majority of his food intake should be good healthy foods.

I suggest that you get a copy of my Living Lean program. This program is geared towards losing bodyfat and building lean muscle. The Living Lean program has a lot of great information about proper exercise and nutrition. It has routines for beginners to advanced, sample meals plans, low fat recipes, nutritional charts that tell the calorie, protein, carbohydrate and fat content of different foods. It is a great source of information; your son will really benefit from it.


Dear Lee,

I'm a 15 yr. old bodybuilder and have been weight-lifting for about 7 months now.

While I have been getting good results there have been something that has been bothering me. On my left and right bicep I have a lot of stretch marks on them ( It looks like a bunch of little cuts ). Why am I getting these and if possible, what can I do about them?

Thanks for your time,



Hi Justin,

Stretch marks are common in bodybuilding. Stretch marks are caused from fast growth. The body grows faster then the skin and then the skin has to stretch, leaving a "stretch mark". They usually occur from obesity, having a baby, or adding muscle mass. Now I am sure that you are not obese or having a baby so your stretch marks are caused by adding muscle mass.

If you want to get technical here is what happens... Our skin consists of three layers. Stretch marks occur in the middle layer, called the dermis. The dermis is the skin's elastic layer, allowing our skin to stretch and snap back into shape. When this layer is continuously stretched over a long period of time, its elasticity breaks down. The skin tries to reinforce itself by increasing the amount of strong, supporting fibers, known as collagen. The result is the scars we call "stretch marks".

There is not much that we can do about them except get them surgically removed (which I do not recommend). They will fade over time and become less noticeable.



My 9 year old son has taken an interest in weightlifting with me since he started football last year. I however was always told tht you shouldn't lift weights until a certain age because of the development of the body. Tell me what you can, I don't want son to end up in the same shape as I am. My dad bought me my fiest set when I was 8. I have a lot of pain and problems in my joints.

Ken Williams


Hi Ken,

It is great that your son has taken an interest in weightlifting. I started fooling around with my dad's weight set when I was your son's age. There is nothing wrong with him working out at this stage.

Weightlifting will not stunt growth or cause and damage to the body. However, I would always recommend that someone older supervise him while he is exercising with weights just to make sure that he doesn't injure himself.

Right now he should focus on using light weights 3 times per week. This stage is mostly for learning how to do the exercises correctly, he should increase the weights that he is lifting slowly over time. Joint problems and injury usually come from lifting too much weight too soon or by exercising too often.


Hi my name is Sarah. Im a senior in High School and I do the throwing events in track and field. I had to visit the trainer the other day b/c i fell on the ice and brused my knee really bad. And she told me that I had really tight calfs and hamstrings..or quads..one of those. she said it wasnt good. whys this and how can i fix this ??



Hi Sarah,

Regular stretching will help to loosen your muscles and reduce your risk of injury. To stretch your hamstrings and calves, bend over and touch your toes with your knees straight and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. To stretch your quadriceps, stand up and bend one leg back behind and grab your ankle with your hand and pull your ankle towards your bottom. You may need to place your other hand on a wall for balance. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat for the other leg. Alternate doing these stretches (i.e. stretch your hamstrings, then stretch your quadriceps, etc.) for a few minutes each day.

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