How to prevent workout injuries? Injuries can set you back or even compromise future accomplishments and should be avoided like the plague, yet they are a very common occurrence that could be easily avoided by a little forethought and planning.
We can mostly blame ourselves for most injuries because they are often the result of carelessness or even laziness. Most injuries are are the result of poor planning and execution of the workouts, though sedentary life style also contributes to the picture.
Precisely because most of us spend our days in an office, sitting in front of a screen with poor posture, we should be extra careful before jumping into our workout and not rush in or perform the exercises haphazardly.
Follow these basic 6 tips and you’ll reduce substantially the risk of injuries in your training history.
1 – Warm Up Thoroughly
This aspect is so often neglected. You spend all day sitting at work and maybe spend another half hour commuting to the gym and you do not want to “waste” time with warming up.
Bad choice. The warm up not only will make your joints, muscles and ligaments supple and ready to go, but you’ll also prime your nervous system for the efforts ahead.
Raising your heart rate a bit with some light bodyweight moves like jumping jacks and performing stretch moves before your big lifts will wake up your body and mind from the lethargic day in the office.
Especially in cold weather a good warm up will prevent workout injuries down the line, and your muscles and tendons will thank you for this. Failure to warm up properly can result in tears or inflammations when you least expect it. Just because you got away with it many times before, it does not mean that you’ll always get lucky.
When disaster happens, it can take weeks or even months to recover, spoiling all the hard work you have otherwise done.
2 – Keep Your Ego In Check
This means that you must prioritize quality over quantity, good execution over sloppy form, adequate weight over excessive loads.
It is often the case that in a rush to jump through the stages many gym warriors cheat left and right in order to hoist the greatest weight with any means at their disposal.
You see the guy huffing and grunting while “throwing” the over-sized dumbbells around to impress both himself and his fellow gym trainees.
It can be using momentum with the help of all the body muscles, cutting corners with the range of motion, jerking and bouncing around, and generally lifting far more weight that proper form and execution would allow.
This approach will at best lead to stagnation, at worst to injury. Plain and simple, throwing far bigger weights around than you can handle is a huge stress on your joints and tendons but a poor stimulus for the targeted muscle, which is not targeted at all.
3 – Allow Adequate Rest
Your body recovers after the training session. The workout is just the activation stimulus of a process that in completed by rest and nutrition.
What is a good recovery time frame for one, may be not ideal for you. You may need more or less rest depending on many factors like age, life style or training history.
In order to find out what is the best training frequency for you, you may need to experiment a bit and see how your body responds.
If you train the same muscle group 3 times per week but you stall or regress, do not keep going on the same route or even increase frequency because you thing you need to workout even harder.
On the contrary, if you are progressing well and feel you need to step up the game, try upping the frequency a bit to see if your body can handle it.
Over the course of your training life you will find that what worked well for you at a certain point is no longer effective and you need to switch things up by making changes here and there in your workout schedule and recovery times, which brings us to the next point.
4 – Prevent Workout Injuries By Listening To Your Own Body
This is the most underrated yet the most important skill you need to acquire through your training history in order to prevent workout injuries. In the beginning is easy, you get a template and you grow, no matter what, you experience the newbie gains.
As you become more advanced and closer to your personal full potential you’ll find yourself experimenting and switching more often than in the past.
But rather than switching volume and training randomly to predetermined schedules taken here and there, you’d be better off paying attention to how you and your body feel with you current regimen and make small step adjustments.
Even in the best case scenario, when your workouts, nutrition and rest are correct, you may experience good and bad days because of the variables of life.
During these days, there is no set program that can make up for your bad performance. Instead, you need to listen to your body and give it a bit more rest if you had a hectic period at work.
Another day you may feel a million dollars and can handle a longer and harder workout than the one you had set for that day. If that happens, go for it and do not hold back because of a preset schedule.
The take home message is that we are not robots, our performance is not fixed in time like that of a car and we need to make adjustments even day by day as we go along by listening to our own bodies signals.
Do not believe that famous mantra, what you feel is NOT a lie. It is the truth and you should always pay attention to your aches if you want to prevent workout injuries down the line.
5 – Eat Properly
Nutrition also helps prevent workout injuries. If you want to progress and your workouts and rest are correct, you must also eat the right way. You don’t need to gulp down protein shakes and vitamins all day, but at least eat wholesome, unprocessed foods.
You can even be a vegan or vegetarian, there are some plant-based bodybuilders out there. A long as you do not survive on a diet of cookies and cakes or “empty-calorie” foods, than your body will have the ability to grow and stay healthy.
Particularly if you are lifting heavy in the low rep range, you must keep diet in check with plenty of quality fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fats, quality protein and also unrefined carbs, like oats.
6 – Avoid Extreme Heavy Duty Techniques
There is a time and place for everything. If you tried negative training with success in your youth, it may not be a good idea anymore at 50.
If you have done a ton of rest-pause in the past, it does not mean that you can do it all your life. If you constantly push yourself with forced repetitions and isometric holds at the end of a set, you cannot carry on forever until you drop dead.
Our bodies are limited and can only bear so much. Even elite athletes like gymnasts won’t be performing iron crosses or planches day in day out like they did in their youth.
Same goes for Olympic weight lifters. If the time grants it, go for it and go beast-mode, just remember that it won’t last forever and you may need to switch to lighter weights and higher repetitions on later for the safety of your joints and your health.
There you have it, 6 simple tips that will help you prevent workout injuries and keep your progress steady.