The Weight Lifter’s Secret Guide to Avoiding Neck and Back Pain

Carly Luke

Exercise is good for us. It makes us feel great, helps us stay healthy, combats any number of problems such as cardiovascular diseases and even prolongs our lives.

But working hard in the gym isn’t all fun and games. Thousands of people suffer injuries every year through poor form, over-exercising, failing to meet their bodies’ nutritional requirements or just failing to follow pre and post workout procedures – such as stretching, warming up and cooling down.

Among the most common problems for fitness fans who lift weights is neck and back pain. There are any number of exercises that place strain on the spine and cause musculoskeletal issues.

Neck and back pain can result in significant discomfort and it is important to pay close attention to form as fitness professionals Carly Thornton and Luke Sandoe know only too well. However, it isn’t just during time in the gym that we should take precautions to protect our spine.

Carly explains:

“Every day people go from spending hours in their office chair to exercising intensely in the gym without giving their body any warning. If all that time in front of a computer is spent slouched down or hunched over a keyboard, it is no surprise that the various muscle groups, joints and ligaments of the body become troublesome.”

There is another factor that can take even more of a toll on the body, too – sleeping. We spend roughly a third of our lives lying horizontally on a bed in all manner of different positions. As Luke suggests, getting the right kind of support is crucial to avoiding long-term health problems.

“So often people develop aches, pains and niggles the morning after exercise and blame it on the workout they have done, when in actual fact much of the damage could have been done long before that.

“A well-aligned body will allow the muscles, joints and ligaments to function as nature intended in the gym. But a poorly aligned one will quickly suffer during weight training. That’s why bodybuilders such as myself have to pay attention to all aspects of our health and wellbeing – to ensure that we don’t pick up injuries that could needlessly set us back in our training by weeks.

“I used to suffer neck issues caused primarily from moving about in my sleep. Weighing more than 20st at 5ft 8, I was experiencing a lot of unnecessary pressure on my neck as I tossed and turned. When it started to affect the quality of my training I knew I needed to do something, which is when I decided to change mattress.

“Carly and I now sleep on a Mammoth mattress capable of optimizing support and alleviating pressure on the body up to 40st per person.”

Carly continues,

“The devil is in the detail when it comes to finding your best shape. Whether it’s a recreational sports enthusiast or a top level bodybuilder, it’s important not to simply suffer in silence and train through pain – you’ll soon find yourself going backwards and failing to achieve goals.

“My advice is always to get your foundations right whenever you set new objectives in the gym – and that starts with taking care of your body even when you are asleep.”

Want to find out more about the secret to weight-lifting success? Check out Carly and Luke’s Mammoth mattress here.

Luke Sandoe and Carly Thornton are known as Britain’s “Best Built Couple”. Together they run Elite Body and Fitness Personal Training.