Getting injured sucks!
As someone who has injured myself on countless occasions in the past, I know the feeling.
I’ve dislocated my shoulder three times, fractured my wrist, and had countless knee and ankle injuries over the years.
You see, I love sports, and the injuries I obtained were from soccer, jiu-jitsu and general mucking around.
Sometimes these injuries are unavoidable and there isn’t much you can do about them.
Getting tackled from behind in indoor soccer just as you’re about to score isn’t something you can really prevent.
Sometimes it feels as though the referee isn’t even watching.
But what about getting injured at the gym? It’s meant to be a controlled environment isn’t it?
You spend a couple of weeks, maybe months doing a gym routine consistently, only to get injured.
The few weeks you’re out recovering sends you back to square one.
You’ve lost all the progress you made.
And now you just can’t be bothered going through it all again. You’ve lost the motivation to continue.
Can you relate?
It feels like as soon as you start making some real progress and start seeing results, something always happens.
- It might be a pull in the neck
- A sore lower back
- An ache in the knee
It stops you from going to the gym for a week or more and usually is enough to throw you off track.
But here’s the thing.
This could all have been avoided.
A bit of strategic prevention can be all the difference. And if staying pain-free is a top priority, you need to take a look at these 5 reasons why you’re getting injured.
1. You’re not warming up
What to do about it: WARM UP AND STRETCH YOURSELF SILLY
One way to prevent gym injuries is to stretch all major muscles before your workout. Stretching releases any tightness in muscles and provides beneficial blood flow to the muscles and joints. By doing so, you’ll raise your heart rate and body temperature before you begin your workout, reducing your chance of injury.
2. You have poor form
What to do about it: FOCUS ON FORM FIRST
A common mistake people make in the gym, is adding on more weight before they learn the correct form.
Form should ALWAYS come first.
If you learn the correct lifting technique, only then should you gradually add more weight to your exercises.
By lowering the weight and focusing on your technique, you’ll avoid injuries and see maximum results.
It’s a good idea to get a gym partner who you can train with. This way, you can both spot one another and make sure you have the right form for each exercise.
3. You think you’re superman
What to do about it: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
If you do a lift or movement and it hurts or feels uncomfortable, STOP. This is your body telling you that you need to stop and rest.
Pushing through the pain and fatigue is not going to help you make progress. All it will do is lead to an injury.
It’s better to take a day or two off to recover from fatigue, than push through the pain only to get a more serious injury that requires weeks of recovery.
Yes, it’s true that fatigue is a crucial part of training. Your muscles break down and rebuild leading to increased strength and muscle development. Feeling delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) a day or two after a gym session is normal.
But, when something doesn’t just feel right, it’s time to stop and recover.
Make sure you get enough sleep and drink enough water. It’s a great but often overlooked way to prevent gym injuries.
4. You try too hard
What to do about it: DON’T OVER DO IT
Just because you read in some magazine that you should train 6 times a week, doesn’t mean that this will work for you.
Remember, everyone is different. We are not all at the same level or have the same experience.
So do you train 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days a week?
Pick whatever gives you enough stimulus and enough time for recovery. Training only twice a week is usually enough to maintain progress (given you maintain a healthy diet). However, if you want to see progress then a minimum of three days per week is required.
If you train more than your body can handle, getting an injury is highly likely.
But what about if you want to do more?
Of course, you can just remember to progress steadily allowing enough time for recovery.
5. You don’t know when to rest
What to do about it: WHEN IT COMES TO REST DAYS…REST!
Days off gym may seem a little boring. I get it. It feels like you SHOULD be doing something.
You say to yourself that instead of lifting weights, you’ll go for a run and do something different. That’s not too bad, right?
Your body needs to recover. Rest days are just as important in any fitness program and are crucial to prevent gym injuries.
If you absolutely must do something, do a lower impact, low-intensity activity such as stationary biking.
Remember, you need time to recover after a hard workout.
As you can see, there are steps you can take to prevent gym injuries and make real progress.
Avoiding some or all of these tips mentioned is certainly not recommended.
Remember, prevention is the best cure.
What have you experienced when trying some of the above-mentioned tips?