How bodybuilders protect their teeth during heavy lifting.
Bodybuilders are seen as the epitome of health. There’s an entire multi-billion dollar industry that’s dedicated to being, eating, and living like a professional bodybuilder. This includes supplements, apparel, home videos, and even giant, gaudy muscle-themed watches. But underneath the tan and oil is an underbelly of holes in their strategy.
Muscles and low body fat are not the only markers for health. In our massively obese world, it’s certainly a big piece. But there are blind spots to the bodybuilding lifestyle. One such blind spot is teeth. We see images all the time of bodybuilders clenching their teeth. How do they protect their pearly whites? Here’s what the experts do.
They Consult Professional
First and foremost, bodybuilding and aesthetic competitions are about the total package. Strategic smiling is a massive piece of showmanship. You can’t show up on the stage with rotting teeth and an 8 pack. Bodybuilders and many other limelight athletes are quite fond of a dental filling that’s the same color as natural teeth. Those and “invisible” braces are the two main choices for these physique athletes. You don’t want to have silver and gold taking attention away from the lat and serratus show. Likewise, you don’t want braces to do the same. Regardless, bodybuilders spend a tremendous time with Dentists to get that smile just right.
Some people grew up clenching their teeth. They got so used to that detail as a young lifter that they have it set as a psychological cue. That’s not the best thing to do. Just ask any Dentist. The next best thing is to wear a mouthguard. They’re not the best option, but if one has to clench their teeth, a mouthguard is going to have to be used. If you’re one of these individuals, be sure to use the correct size and have a professional fit it in. It is well worth a visit to the dentist. You don’t want to be getting a gag reflex on a 1 rep deadlift max. That would be disastrous.
Refocusing Form and Tightness
Prevention is the best treatment. This case is no different. People clench and grind their teeth while they lift because they’re trying to maintain tensions. That’s the physical cue. If you focus on your breath being the point of tension and not your jaw, you’re going to see a lot more success in your lifts. The greatest lifter of all time Ed Coan says to focus on your posture, grip, your glutes, and your core. Nowhere in there is jaw mentioned. You should be actively contracting and exhaling.
The culture of bodybuilding is one of grit, perseverance, and extremes. Getting down to 5% body fat, massively dehydrated, and under two dozen heat lamps while doused in cooking oil is not an everyday, normal thing. Because of these not-so-healthy conditions, everything has to be given extra attention, especially the health of your teeth and gums. Don’t grind your teeth. Get those fillings. Protect the best asset you have on that stage: your smile.