How to avoid injuries in the gym?
1.The first thing you have to do when you are in the gym is of course, to warm up. Many people avoid warm up and go workout immediately. It’s not really a great idea to do that because they are increasing their chance to get injured. When you drive your car in winter at -40 degree do you immediately hit the pedal to the floor right after you started your car? NO, because it damages your engine. You always let the motor getting warm before and it’s the same principle about the human body. Warming up will;
Get your body temperature going up
A warm-up is perhaps the least you can do to avoid injuries so you should atleast do 5 to 10 minutes of cardio before lifting weights. Then comes the warm up sets, you will have to do few sets of your exercise for the muscle you will work on in order to get a good blood flow in this area and it would be easier for you to lift the weight thereafter. You will have to do it for each exercise that are working a different muscle group, ex: if you did 2sets prior to do your real bench’s set then you won’t have to do the warm up again if you do dumbbells flyes or everything that work your chest.
2.Do not strech before your workout, only strech after. Stretching before exercise is not just counter-productive, but potentially harmful. If you stretch before your exerises, your body may think it’s at risk of being overstretched. It compensates by contracting and becoming more tense, that means you aren't able to move as fast or as freely. It also making you weak and increase your chance to get hurt which is something you don’t really want.
3.Do not train when you are too tired, you cannot get a great workout when you are feeling sleepy and you won't perform as good as if you were having more energy so why would you train then? You could get injured because your body does not operate properly, just skip this day and come another day when you feel more energized. Also the gain comes with the effort you give in the gym, the more you give, the more you receive. Feeling sleepy make you decrease your repetitions or lower the weight and you'll be wasting your time that way because you would have made no progress at all.
4.If you are injured, do not train your injured bodypart and don’t do exercises that involve this muscle to perform the lift. Instead of stopping training, you could work your others bodyparts to preserve your hard earned muscles. The only bad thing is that once your injury is healed, you will have to begin with very low weight on exercises that work that bodypart to prevent injuries and slowly upgrading the weight but don’t worry your strength will come back fast. In some case you won’t have to stop training your injured bodypart depending on how severe your injury is because if you see a physiotherapists, he/she may give you exercise programs that strengthen this muscle by training your bodypart or arround this area to get it stronger so that you can start training again soon.
5.If it hurts, stop it! Watch out for signs, if you begin to feel pain during your sets, stop your exercise immediately because you’ll just worsen your pain and you will have to take a lot more time to recover from your injury. If you feel pain after your workout then take a few days rest by not working this muscle.
6.Always use good form, if you are totally new to weight training or begin a different exercise that you don’t know how to lift the weight properly then the best thing to do is to ask your trainer at your gym to show you how to do it. As I already said, using bad form can get you injured and you’ll not get the best results from that exercise. The same thing also happen when you are trying to upgrade your weight too fast. I know that you have to add weight in order to gain muscle mass but adding weight too fast, getting injured and have to stop weight training then to have to begin again with lower weight that’s just not worth it, so add weight when you feel the weight become more easy to lift and still be able to use good form.
7.Do not overtrain, many people I see do endless sets on exercises, stay in gym more than 2 hours, come at gym everyday, etc. You have to get the right number of sets/repetitions, determine which muscles you need to work on, know how advanced you are in bodybuilding and then get a training program specially designed for you. The only people that are ‘’allowed’’ to overtrain that way are people that use illegal drugs such as anabolic steroids & pro-hormones, the ones you see in bodybuilding magazines. By the way never follow a training program that you see in magazines because there’s so many exercises and sets that you would be overtraining and maybe get injured unless you are using that kind of drugs.
8.Lifting really heavy for too long can damage your joints but there’s also others factors that can cause this problem such as poor recovery, using bad form and some genetic factors. Chances are if there’s people in your family that have this problem, it could be possible that you get this problem too. To remediate to joints problems (arthritis, bursitis and tendinitis), some researchs suggests gelatin, the fatty acid Cetyl Myristoleate and flax oil, it can be all-natural treatments for joints pain. The best way to avoid these problems is by simply changing your weight training sometime by lowering your weight and doing more repetitions (12 to 15 reps), you would be training for endurance instead of strenght. Plus, it will prevent your muscles to adapt to heavy weight training, you will still make gains because your body is not used to this kind of training. You will also work your other muscle fibers which is slow twitch muscle fibers when you’re doing your high repetitions instead of working your fast twitch fibers which is used when you’re doing your low repetitions.
9.Strenghten your rotator cuff, the parts that are the most injured are rotator cuff. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and the rotator cuff muscles help stabilize it during movement. Exercises behind the neck such as wide-grip pulldown behind the neck, wide-grip rear pull-up, seated triceps press are very hard on shoulders, even barbell bench press and barbell military press put a lot of tension in shoulders. If you want to do these exercises, it would be best to use dumbbells for press exercises because the weight you would be using would be more light than using barbell for press exercises so it puts less pressure on your shoulders and also you’ll obtain better muscle gains because it recruits more muscle fibers to stabilize the weight. For exercises behind the neck you’ll have to see if you feel that it puts to much stress on your shoulders or not, some people have absolutely no problems with it at all but not everyone have the same body and not everyone have big shoulders. I’ve been injured two times while doing barbell military press and wide-grip pulldown behind the neck, I had to see a physiotherapist to know what was the cause of these injuries and guess what? It was because I had weak rotator cuff, i’ve never trained them. Every Chest and back exercises put tension on your rotator cuff, so to maintain healthy rotator cuff and prevent injuries it would be wise to begin rotator cuff exercises right now 2 to 3 time per week at the end of your workouts.