6 Best Ways to Avoid Injury During Exercise
Guest blog post by Luke Douglas from ripped.me
Whether you love your morning jogs or you’re crazy about them weights, every exercise scheme requires a delicate approach in order to avoid those pesky injuries. For the former, it might be a bad case of patellar tendonitis, or for the latter, an impinged shoulder, but they both have at least one thing in common – they could have been prevented!
1. Warm-ups and cool-downs
Before you hit the barbell with all your lifting might make sure you have warmed up your entire body, especially those muscle groups your training intends to target. Moreover, it’s equally important to elevate your heart rate in a controlled manner and allow your body to start sweating as you prep for the heavy loads or your endurance bursts.
Just like your warm-up serves to get your muscles firing, a proper cool-down comprising of stretches and low-intensity exercises for your heart rate to slowly drop. Stretching will help your muscles elongate, loosen, boost your microcirculation and kick start your recovery so that you’re not so sore the following day.
2. Have a spotter
A gym buddy has served many a purpose, from motivation to monitoring your time as your mind is grinding through the HIIT exercise. But a strong, well-educated spotter is actually your best ally in preventing injuries. They will be able to observe and correct your form from all angles, help you maintain proper technique throughout each set, and prevent a possible bench disaster on that last heavy rep.
But choose your spotter carefully, because you need someone who will devote all of their attention only to you for the duration of your exercise. They cannot look at their phone, step away to chat with a friend or be easily distracted by an eager observer asking a million questions about your technique.
3. Pick the right gear
Have you ever seen a boxer in a leotard or a ballerina in cleats performing a perfect plié? Exactly. It’s no mere coincidence that you’ll see an avid lifter wearing first-rate gym shoes and a belt for a heavy squat because these and similar pieces of protective equipment are essential for preventing injuries. Gloves, wrist wraps, ankle and knee support and magnesium-infused chalk are just some on the list of the most commonly used items.
Choose clothes and footwear that are durable, allow your skin to breathe, and that isn't too tight or too loose. If you have an underlying health condition, use your fitness tracker to keep an eye on your heart rate and your blood pressure, to stay safe and still be able to find the right level of intensity for each exercise.
4. Never skip rest day
The dreaded piece of advice no fitness freak wants to hear, let alone adhere to – you need to include ample rest in your weekly workout plan to reduce your chances of injury and stay on the healthy side of fitness success. That means, if you have a four-day split, arrange them in such a manner to have enough rest between your training sessions, especially the ones that are particularly demanding on your body.
In fact, remember that whatever your goal may be, whether to grow muscle (which, by the way, happens after your workout), lose fat, or boost your cardiovascular endurance, your body has a certain threshold. Going above and beyond that threshold can compromise your form, health and lead to an injury before you can say “chicken breast and rice, please.”
5. Form first, everything else second
You’ve seen Ronnie Coleman, Eddie Hall and similarly beast-like names perform cheat reps almost all the time to make the most of their heavy weights. But what about us, mere mortals? If you want a lasting career in fitness even as an amateur who goes in three times a week and mostly hits the treadmill, you’ll need to master proper form and stick to it religiously.
Leave your ego at the front door whatever you choose to be your fitness forte, and never let your pride choose the weights or effort you should put into a workout. Listen to your body, push yourself, but challenge yourself in a smart way.
6. Gradual progress – know thy limits!
Finally, rookies and pros alike need to be smart with their progress. You don’t have to get tangled into numbers, charts or complex calculations every day to devise a healthy level of progress that reflects your abilities and leads you to your goals.
On the contrary, there will be days when you’re able to go slightly above what you’re used to, and others when you should take it down a notch because you’re recovering from flu. But even on your regular days of training, monitor your progress in order to protect your body and avoid overtraining.
Guest blog post by Luke Douglas from ripped.me
Images are taken from pexels.com.