No matter what your level of training experience, poor technique and simple mistakes in the gym can stop us to avoid training injuries. At Northern Spinal Sports & Injury Clinic, we see countless patients at our Reservoir and CBD locations who struggle with pain and injury – both during and after exercise.
Believe it or not, injury caused by exercise is far more common than you’d think. Chances are you’ll experience some sort of injury in your lifetime; maybe you already have. While we can’t completely rule out the risk of injury, we can take certain clear steps to mitigate the risk.
Here are 6 activities you can insert into your daily routine to (hopefully!) avoid training injuries forever.
We start our list with arguably the most important part of your workout routine: stretching. Let’s make this crystal clear: not stretching puts you at a much greater risk of injury. It’s extremely important for the body to warm up properly before proceeding with any type of arduous physical activity.
Not only does stretching (when performed properly) greatly reduce the risk of injury, it also elongates the muscles, increases circulation and even improves performance of that specific muscle group. Post-workout stretches can also be very beneficial in reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Long story short, incorporate both a pre and post-workout stretch routine to your training sessions and you’ll notice an immediate difference in your performance and recovery. Above all else, it will help to keep you safe from injury.
2- Optimal Nutrition
Nutrition is a difficult and tricky area which most people simply neglect. “Do I really have to eat chicken, brown rice and broccoli for every meal?” While countless people who exercise for weight loss train hard and frequently, most of them fail to address the issue of their diet.
If you’re training for muscle gain, you need to ensure you maintain a caloric surplus in your diet. Simply put, this means you’re taking in more food than your body burns on a daily basis. There’s a lot of conflicting research online which can make it hard to figure out what works best for you. When in doubt, speak to one of our trained professionals who can come up with a personalized diet plan that’s right for you.
Remember, you need to feed your body with the best fuel possible if you want it to perform well. When it comes to injuries, ensuring you take in a balanced and varied diet will put you in the best position to avoid problems down the road.
3- Don’t Ignore Pain
Pushing through fatigue for resistance training is how you progress, but this shouldn’t be confused with continual pain or new pain you haven’t experienced before. After an intense weight session, it’s natural for your body to feel fatigued or slightly sore. Stretching, as previously mentioned, helps ease minor soft tissue strains.
The truth is, a good trainer can help you identify the difference between good pain (which will push you through to the next level) and bad pain (which happens as a result of damage to the muscles, joints, ligaments or bones). We treat many patients who push through tendon injuries on their own. More often than not, this leads to Achilles tendonitis, an injury which is much more difficult to rehabilitate.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re concerned about a recent or recurring pain, then book an appointment with one of our friendly, qualified professionals who can pinpoint and identify the problem before it gets worse. Don’t ignore pain, do something about it sooner rather than later.
4- Warm Up
Warm-up exercises are usually done with the aim of increasing the blood flow to the muscles, which makes them more pliable and adaptable to exercise without injury. Warm-up exercises are generally high-rep, low-intensity – this could consist of a light jog or a quick spin on the bike. Whatever you choose, make sure you always incorporate this at the start of your workout.
This is especially true for anyone looking to build size in the gym. Lifting weights without a proper warm-up is putting you at a much higher risk of injury, regardless of your level of fitness.
5- Don’t Rush
Most of the time, training is centred around challenging yourself and pushing harder. No matter what the challenge is, you need to allow your body time to get used to new movements and increased demand. At Northern Spinal, we always recommend you build your training intensity incrementally each session, which gives your body the best chance of avoiding injury. This can often be counterintuitive to most people, who become disheartened when they don’t see results from training sessions almost immediately.
Remember, consistency is what creates results. So take your time and don’t overdo it.
6- Professional Advice
Good technique is key and should not be ignored, especially as you strive to increase your weight. It is easy for an Osteopath to assess your movement and guide you by suggesting the most beneficial exercises for your goals. If you have a pre-existing injury, we recommend you book a session with one of our trained professionals, who can suggest alternatives or come up with new routines for you. This, combined with a trainer, puts you in the perfect position to train in the safest way possible.
When you combine proper training with correct form, you greatly reduce your risk of injury and achieve better results at the same time. Sounds great, right?
If you’re experiencing pain from a pre-existing injury, or if you need advice on exercises that prevent injury or improve performance, contact one of our trusted practitioners here at Northern Spinal Sports & Injury Clinic. It’s imperative that you get the right advice from the start. Together, we’ll make sure you avoid nagging injuries and get you back to peak performance in no time.