Are You Doing All You Can to Stay Injury Free?

If you’re injury free, how do you maintain this state of bliss? And if not, are you practicing these basic injury prevention principals?

The first half of last year I had pain in my shoulder, knee, wrist, and elbow. I went to physical therapy and used wrist and elbow supports to help myself recover.

Now that I’ve been injury free for awhile, I want to share what I’ve learned over the last year. Injuries prevent you from doing what you love! And when you stop moving, you stop living. It’s well worth it to prevent them. Whether you’re just starting a workout program or have been underway awhile, be sure to follow these “best practices” of working out.

Allow Your Body to Recover

Avoiding overtraining is my most important tenet – I will not budge on it. You may be excited about a new program or just have Crazy Gym Love like me. You figure, if working out feels good, then working out twice as much must be even better! Wrong.

Everyone’s different so you have to find out what you body can take. For me, training each muscle group twice a week was too much. My body revolted by handing out aches and pains.

With weight training, you must let your muscles recover for 48 hours between sessions. That includes not doing heavy resistance elliptical training the day after leg presses.

Build a Strong Foundation

What’s the first thing you should do before you begin any exercise? The answer is to tighten your core. It’s a habit for me now because I know my core is my built-in injury preventer. When I tighten my core, I can feel it supporting the rest of my body during exercises. You can be sure that many exercises, including stiff-legged Deadlifts and squats, have the potential to strain your lower back.

A strong core – your lower back, hips, and abs – will save you when it comes to injuries. Make it a priority to build these muscles.

Be Kind to Your Muscles

You know you should warm up and cool down. But it’s easy to skip, isn’t it? You’re in a hurry to get weight lifting and you skip five minutes on the elliptical. Or you’re rushing out the door and skip stretching.

I’m someone who can really tell a difference when I don’t warm up or stretch after a workout. My muscles feel stiff, plain and simple. Do you really want to start lifting weights with stiff muscles? Or leave the gym after a tough workout feeling like your muscles aren’t quite “done?” Don’t leave yourself open to injury just to save five minutes.

Stiff muscles are injury-prone muscles. Enough said.

Do it Right

Before I do a new exercise, I learn how to do it right. Bad form has very predictable results – it creates injuries.

Tighten your core before every exercise and use the proper range of motion. Understand how far back your elbows should go. Be aware of whether you’re arching your back. Watch your knees to make sure they don’t go past your toes. These are just a few principals that prevent injury.

There are countless exercise videos on Bodybuilding.com and Livestrong.com that can show you proper form. Once you have the basic principals of form down, your body will remember them and it will become second nature.

This list isn’t all-inclusive. What do YOU do to prevent injury?

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Comments

  1. Letting my body heal is my BIGGEST downfall. If I can’t run because of an injury? I was scouring the gym for machines I COULD do in the interim. It’s hard for me to rest or take a break and I know I need to work on this.

  2. Agreed, rest is the hardest thing for me but I know my body is doing tons of work on that rest day to rebuild and repair.
    lindsay recently posted..technologically challengedMy Profile

  3. I think this article is SO important! I think it’s important that people need to know that rest and proper technique are important. It’s difficult sometimes because people want too much too soon, but they end up hurting themselves.

    So thank your for writing about the important of proper technique 🙂

    • Lisa, thanks for sharing. It’s hard for me too, I know how addicting working out is and HATE to stop. I’m glad you’re working on it.
      Lindsay I try to remember that too and get away with as few rest days as possible, lol.
      Thank you Christian! Sometimes learning to back off takes a hard lesson unfortunately. I think both of us have had that experience! I hope at least one person gets the message from reading this instead of making the same mistake.

  4. Man O man..I needed this post last Fall when I injured my shoulder due to not knowing what the hell I was doing while lifting weights.

    It’s been months and I still have to baby my shoulder.

    Great job on this information! It is SO important. I don’t know about any one else, even though I KNEW better, I still didn’t consider safety when working out.
    ragemichelle recently posted..Sliding Down The Mortality Hill Kicking and ScreamingMy Profile

  5. im a big fam of extensive warm up. not only in getting the heart rate but in warm up sets as well. on heavy days is nothing to spend 30-45 min performing warm up set go get a good mechanical feel before adding on the plates. dont rush into heavy compound lifts like squats deads and press.

    and yes forcefully contracting the core on all exercises is one of the best habits one should develop. aside from crunches i never do core isolation work

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