When pursuing a healthy goal, injuries can be the absolute kryptonite. Any stoppage in training will ruin consistency and any forward progress. Injuries however, not only stop progress, but also set it backwards because of the weakened state it puts the body in. As a result, injury prevention should always be the first goal in a workout routine! So when planning a workout routine, use these 3 tips for injury prevention.
First, everyone knows a proper, tough workout requires a solid warm up to get the body ready. However, many people out there don’t know exactly what the proper warm up needs in order to prevent injury. The key is to include the right type of stretching at the right time. Specifically, make sure to refrain from static stretching during a warm up, and instead save that for the cool down. Instead, work in some dynamic, or movement stretches like leg swings, Frankensteins or inch-worms.
The second of the 3 tips for injury prevention is to focus on strength before speed & impact. What this means is make sure you have a solid strength base before beginning any kind of speed or impact training. In short, joints are held together by ligaments, capsules and the muscles around them. However, it’s the strength of the muscles that do the majority of the work. So during a high impact workout like Burpees, the muscles need to be strong enough to withstand the forces so that the joints don’t have to. For help setting up a strength training program, see our post on How To Start Strength Training.
And the last of the 3 tips for injury prevention is to balance all sides of the joints. One of the most common sources for joint pain is awkward and/or 1-sided use over a long period of time. A great example is baseball pitchers and how their arms are always accelerating forward very hard. The issue they have is the muscles in the shoulder for slowing that forward motion down aren’t as built up since the motion is only 1 direction. As a result, they’ll always workout the opposite muscles in the gym to protect their rotator cuff.
So during your own workouts, whatever side you’re working, make sure to get the opposite side just as much. Sides that opposite each other are: Chest & Back, Quads & Hamstrings, Biceps & Triceps, abs & low back etc.. For more ideas on preventing injury, our blog on Starting A Gym Routine has plenty of additional tips & tricks!