Avoiding injuries at the gym
Written By: James Hayes
Not everyone has same goals when they go to the gym. Whether you train to obtain your ideal beach body, increase your cardio or gain strength, we are all susceptible to injury. That’s why it’s important to train smart!
Gym injuries are frequent presentations at Dee Why Chiropractic Care. It can be quite frustrating suffering an injury when you are trying to better your health.
In most cases your workout routine can be modified to work around the injury but in some cases it can put a complete halt to training and achieving your fitness goals.
- Muscle tears
- Neck and low back injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Knee injuries
- Joint sprains
Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice to avoiding injuries at the gym
Get a personal trainer or go with an experience gym buddy
If you are new to the gym and don’t know how to get started… get advice. By telling a personal trainer your goals they will develop an appropriate training program for you. This will save you a lot of time in the long run as they will outline the do’s and don’t’ of working out.
The advantages of having a personal trainer or a gym buddy is that they will be able to oversee you exercising and correct anything that needs improving. They would have seen gym injuries in the past and they will be able to give you safety tips to avoid injury.
Have a sufficient warm up before you go into full training mode. You want to warm up your body to increase your body’s core temperature and allow sufficient blood flow to the muscles that are about to be trained. If you are lifting weights do a few light sets on each exercise to warm up specific muscle fibers that are about to be trained.
Change up your workout routine. It will give your body a much-needed break from your regular workout and it avoids hitting a progress plateau.
Train with correct form
One of the biggest causes of injury in the gym is working out with incorrect form. When people go to the gym they think moving the heaviest weight means the most results. When people try and lift weight that is too heavy for them they will sacrifice form that increases the stress on joints and tendons. WORK THE MUSCLE NOT THE WEIGHT!
Each exercise has a specific purpose or a target muscle group. When we lose form other muscle groups will activate to produce the force needed to move the heavy weight. Lets just use bench press as an example; the purpose of the exercise is to target the chest muscles. If you lift with poor form, most of the force will be produced from the shoulder muscles and triceps, it also leads to increased stress on the shoulder that can potentially lead to injury over time. This also means that you not getting the maximum benefit of the exercise.
Also be aware of your form on cardio machines. A common machine that causes low back and shoulder pain when done with poor form is the rowing machine.
Be smart about training and know your limitations. Progress slowly and don’t try and do too much too soon; it is one of the main causes of gym injuries. Gradually increase the time and intensity of your workouts!
Wear suitable gym attire
If you are a runner it is essential that you wear suitable shoes. You can go to a sporting goods store for their advice on what shoe is best with your foot shape, gait and weight. If you have flat feet it could be beneficial to see a podiatrist for proper arch support and shoe advice.
Waist belts, wrist supports and knee sleeves are examples of supportive wear used in the gym to prevent injury. The type of gear you use will be based around what exercises you do on the day, such as using a waist belt for deadlifts and squats to protect your low back.
Have a balanced diet and stay hydrated
Having a balanced diet and staying hydrated will help repair those muscles that are broken down during a workout! Diet will vary from each individual as everyone has different goals and if you are unsure on what you should be consuming consult a nutritionist.
The use of devices such as trigger point balls, foam rollers and therabands are excellent ways to keep joints moving efficiently and maintaining good muscle quality. They are cheap, effective and may save you from injury in the future.
Listen to your body and don’t overtrain. If you are feeling pain during a workout seek treatment or let the body recover. When you workout you need to give your body time to heal as without sufficient time in-between workouts may lead to injury!
Hopefully now you can workout safely and efficiently. If you have any more questions about avoiding gym injuries don’t hesitate to contact us.