Are there any risks of bodybuilding? Every exercise has it's features, and bodybuilding has it's too. What are risks that these features could possibly cause? Or risks from other than these features? If we know risks, than we know what to prevent. These common-known features are

  1. Bodybuilding is about size and shape.

  2. tedious and repetitive movement

  3. There are easily accessible supplements designed for bodybuilding on market.

  1. Heavy weight involves.
  • This is just off the top of my head but - joint injury, arthritis, muscle imbalances which can cause lordosis or kyposis, rounded shoulders, dangerous supplements, not enough cardio, etc.. all of this can mostly be avoided with careful pplanning of your workout though. The unavoidable is after years of lifting heavy weights, it can be tough on joints, cause cysts in wrists, and the high protein/high carb diet along with cutting/bulking constantly can wear out your body. Unless you are a pro bodybuilder competing and trying to dehydrate themselves, you should be ok with little to no risk
    – user32213
    Oct 27, 2020 at 15:47
  • Many body builders spend a lot of time with it. If you want a career, family, another hobby, friends, you're at risk of not being able to do that. Some people get addicted and ruin their life for absolutely nothing. This is a weird question, but there is indeed the risk of wasting time. be aware that you only get one life. There are more efficient ways than body building to get strong and fit. Body building is about looks primarily. If you're natural (you should be, talking about risks), it's little result for your investment. But if you're willing to take it, your choice
    – Raditz_35
    Oct 28, 2020 at 10:07
  • 2
    What a mess. I rolled back the edit because it completely invalidates answers that people spent their time writing. This whole shebang should be closed, and any further questions posted in a new thread.
    – Alec
    Nov 2, 2020 at 17:04
  • I’m voting to close this question because as Alec points out, any big edit invalidates the existing answers. Please word it as a new question.
    – JohnP
    Nov 2, 2020 at 17:05
  • @Alec, I agree. I don't think narrowing it down in rewriting is the best way because new ones are better, but JohnP ask me clearly. So what I can do is to choose to affect the least. Unfortunately it is not enough. I will rewrite it.
    – Superuser
    Nov 3, 2020 at 1:20

3 Answers 3


I think this is a very broad question as injuries resulting from bodybuilding or strength based exercise can range wildly depending on the intensity that someone does. The typical person that's just trying to stay fit and strong is going to have a wildly different experience and train in a wildly different manner than someone trying to get their IFBB pro card.

Physical Injuries

Barring any freak accidents, most injuries that result from resistance training are overuse injuries. The most common and prolific being DOMs (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which can range from mild annoyance to debilitating. Even at its worst, it will recover in about a week. Another common, more severe instances would be muscle strain (pulled muscle) and pulled or torn ligaments and tendons. These require a lot longer time to recover and usually require you to stop training entirely until healed.

A couple mitigations techniques:

  1. Do not train a muscle that feels too fatigued. Most people say "listen to your body". Basically if something feels off, then assume it is. Wait a day and train something else in the meantime. You'll most likely be back to normal the next day.
  2. Do not train at excessively heavy weight. In RPE scale, stay around a 7 or "three reps in the tank". Don't go above an 8 or "two reps in the tank". Training to technical failure could cause you to slip up and pull a muscle that's overly fatigued.

More longer term kinds of injuries that develop over a long period of time may be tendinitis. Tendinitis can develop from constant repetitive motion while putting far too much stress on the tendon. It can be a sign of bad form. Correcting the error can reduce and eventually eliminate it.

Arthritis seems to be a concern among some people. However, There is scant evidence that weightlifting can cause arthritis later in life. Heavier people tend to get arthritis than lighter people. So being significantly heavier because of bodybuilding could, maybe, theoretically increase chances of arthritis. Though weight training itself is not a direct cause of arthritis. To my knowledge, there is nothing that shows a correlation between arthritis and people who are heavier because they weight train. The benefits of weight lifting far exceed any chance of getting arthritis.

Finally, the absolute most extreme injuries I can think of are rhabdomyolysis and, if you're Louie Simmons, a broken spine. If you're training hard enough to be at risk for these, then you're not worried about injuries. Do not concern yourself with them as they most likely will not happen.

Supplements safety

There is a saying in toxicology in that "the dose makes the poison". Most supplements from reputable dealers are safe to take at the doses described on the labels. Taking beyond that, you start getting in to potentially dangerous territory.

Although there have been cases where manufacturers push the boundaries of legality and safety to make a more potent product. Though if the product has been on the market for many years, and isn't banned in multiple countries, then it's probably safe to consume. Whether or not they're effective is for another question.

Long term effects of diet

There is a lot of concern about whether high protein diets are unhealthy, particularly for the kidneys.

People with healthy kidneys do not need to worry about high protein diets. People with kidney disease may have to worry.

Most of the other studies I've seen dealing with high protein diets usually are structured in which one group eats an insanely high amount of protein in their daily diet vs barely eating any at all. The thing is, if you're only eating protein, then you're also not eating a lot of other things that you need to function. Not eating foods with vitamins and minerals and healthy fats for many months or years will of course lead to health complications.

Eat your vegetables. Have some healthy fats. Drink a lot of water. Then you should be good.

Mental Health

As brought up in the comments, there is also mental health aspects related to bodybuilding. People who get really in to bodybuilding are at risk of a few issues that I think are important to be aware of.

People who bodybuild, especially in the days of social media, will compare themselves to other people. This can lead to body dysmorphia in which you believe that you're not nearly as fit as you believe. Some people can believe they're way fatter or skinnier than they really are. Some people believe they're way weaker than they really are. This is hard to combat. Just be aware that the most successful people on social media are typically either on the upper end of the genetic spectrum, on PEDs, or both. They also live lifestyles that let them have the physiques that make them appealing online, which may not be a lifestyle you can emulate.

Body dysmorphia can lead to becoming obsessed with fitness. People will just workout constantly. Spend every minute of free time in the gym. Unfortunately, this obsession may be necessary for those that are trying to compete (because let's face it. Your competition is obsessed). The average recreational person should not have their life ripped up.

This obsession can also lead to eating disorders. This can lead to eating in a very unhealthy way. Anorexia and bulimia are the most commonly known, but there are other types. For example, a lot of people will pick and choose a diet they believe will lead them to their goal, but they don't have the nutritional know-how to eat that diet in a healthy manner. So they will eat that diet in the most extreme way possible which means they're cutting out nutrition from sources that they need to be healthy (see earlier comments about not eating vitamins and minerals). These diets are sometimes also so restrictive that people will reject any kind of social life that may cause them to break it. If your diet starts pushing away your friends and family, you have a problem.

I do not have the training to know how to break away from these traps if someone falls in to one. To help stay out of them, just keep in mind that perfection is not always obtainable. Try to go half-way there, and you'll still be better off than 99% of the population.

  • There is also some correlation with bodybuilding and eating disorders as well as body dysmorphia. Does bodybuilding cause these issues to occur in individuals or is it perhaps the case that bodybuilding selects for those who have such problems? Your answer certainly addresses the physical, but doesn't address the psychological/behavioral side of health. (Side note - This applies more to competitive bodybuilding than it does recreational bodybuilding.) Oct 28, 2020 at 13:10
  • 1
    @JustSnilloc I added a section on mental health. I'm not sure if bodybuilding itself is the direct cause of them, but they are common problems that people don't seem to talk about enough (maybe it's too taboo. I don't know).
    – DeeV
    Oct 28, 2020 at 14:08
  • Mental is new to me. I think it is a good point. Obsession or Insecurity could be a problem in some cases.
    – Superuser
    Oct 29, 2020 at 0:15
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    This answer massively overstates the risks. The arthritis article linked argues against the idea that weight training causes arthritis. There is no evidence that lordosis or kyphosis can be caused by muscle imbalances (or that bodybuilders are prone to muscle imbalances, or that bodybuilders see increased rates of lordosis or kyphosis). There is no evidence that lifting heavy causes herniated discs, and the article linked actually states that herniated discs result from the aging process, not weight bearing activities. Rhabdomyolysis is associated with endurance exercise, not lifting. Oct 29, 2020 at 12:27
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    @DavidScarlett I removed the segments about lordosis, kyphosis, and herniated discs (although herniated discs is a concern to some people). I've expanded on the arthritis segment as it was included in one of the comments of the OP and it's a concern to people.
    – DeeV
    Oct 30, 2020 at 13:03

Summarising the systematic review, 'The Epidemiology of Injuries Across the Weight-Training Sports', by Keogh & Winwood, 2017:

  • Bodybuilding had the lowest injury rates of all weight-training sports, at 0.12-0.7 injuries per lifter per year, or 0.24-1 injury per 1000 hours.
  • Strongman was found to be the riskiest weight-training sport, with an injury rate around 10 times that of bodybuilding.
  • Strains, tendinitis, and sprains were the most common injury types.
  • The shoulder, lower back, knee, elbow, and wrist/hand were generally the most commonly injured anatomical locations.
  • Injury risk in weight training sports is low compared to that of team sports.

Note that this answer does not look at the separate issue of the many dangers of steroid use, as steroid use is not an inherent part of bodybuilding.


Yes, joint wearing risk of bodybuilding is true, as you can see from this resource by a consultant and writer for various health, bodybuilding.

  1. osteoarthritis is by far the most common to bodybuilders and other athletes
  2. Tendonitis is probably the most common cause of pain to bodybuilders and other athletes and is (luckily) the easiest to treat.
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Alec
    Oct 30, 2020 at 0:44

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