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 widespread occurrence that could be easily avoided with a bit of forethought and planning.
We can mostly blame ourselves for most injuries because they are often the result of carelessness or laziness. Most injuries result from poor planning and execution of the workouts, though a sedentary lifestyle 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 essential six tips, and you’ll reduce the risk of injuries in your training history substantially.
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 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 a sedentary 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 a 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 many gym warriors cheat left and right to hoist the greatest weight with any means at their disposal in a rush to jump through the stages.
You see the guy huffing and grunting while “throwing” the oversized 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 than proper form and execution would allow.
This approach will at best lead to stagnation, at worst to injury. Plain and straightforward, throwing far bigger weights around than you can handle is a significant stress on your joints and tendons but an inadequate stimulus for the targeted muscle.
3 – Allow Adequate Rest
Your body recovers after the training session. The workout is just the activation stimulus of a process that is completed by rest and nutrition.
What is a reasonable recovery time frame for one, maybe not ideal for you? You may need more or less rest depending on many factors like age, lifestyle, or training history.
To find out 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 think you need to work out 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.
Throughout 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 crucial skill you need to acquire through your training history to prevent workout injuries. In the beginning, it 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 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 your current regimen and make minor 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 life variables.
These days, no set program can make up for your inadequate 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 more extended and more challenging 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 body’s 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, and 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, then your body will have the ability to grow and stay healthy.
If you are lifting heavy in the low rep range, you must keep your diet in check with plenty of quality fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fats, quality protein, and 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 might 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 as they did in their youth.
The same goes for Olympic weight lifters. If the time grants it, go for it and go beast-mode; remember that it won’t last forever, and you may need to switch to lighter weights and higher repetitions later for the safety of your joints and your health.
There you have it, six simple tips that will help you prevent workout injuries and keep your progress steady.
Jay always had a passion for fitness. A former skinny guy, he built himself 35 lb of lean muscle over the years using different training strategies, going through failures and eventually succeeding, and now wants to share his knowledge with those who value fitness as a way of life (See all posts by Jay Fielding).