Seven Rules To Prevent Injury
1. Know Your Weaknesses
If you’re unaware of what your physical limitations are, then a future injury will likely tell you. It’s important to know which areas need improvement so that you can have a game plan to resolve the weak links before they cause an injury.
A good example would be upper body strength. Many people lack upper body strength in comparison to their lower body strength. Typically we all can squat and deadlift more than we can overhead press or perform multiple pull-ups.
Knowing that this upper body strength is a limiting factor to your overall strength, you should focus on ensuring proper form when performing them and ensuring that you work on them more often to build strength.
2. You Can’t Make Progress If You Are Too Sore or Injured
The worst cases we see are the ones who not only train with pain, but the ones who try to make progress while they’re in pain. If your hip is sore (or worse, painful), then you shouldn’t be adding weights to your front squats. Also, learning that soreness is NOT an injury. Soreness is ok, pain is different!
You need to spend a minimum of 10-15 minutes per day on a good stretching routine that includes mobility. Mobility is a term for techniques that increase range of motion on soft tissue and joints. When the soft tissue and joints have full range of motion, then you can lift more and prevent injury.
Far too often, we see people enter the gym and spend hours upon hours working out, lifting and running day in and day out... but when it comes to proper stretching and mobilization to take care of their body, the sum total is maybe 5-10 minutes in a week, a month, or worse, ONLY when they are hampered with an injury do they focus on mobility.
Knowing what stretches and techniques help your body are key, as well as spending time on mobility is key to preventing injury. This is why our program includes mobility at the end of EVERY workout.
Always listen to your body.
3. Proper Scaling
The answer to improving a movement isn’t always to practice it with more reps. If a specific movement doesn’t feel right, sometimes the best way to improve it, is to regress down. These regressions or "scaling options" will allow for progress without stressing the body towards an injury. For example, if a snatch (an Olympic weightlifting move) doesn’t feel right, regress or "Scale" to a push press, a kettlebell press, a kettlebell snatch or even a Kettlebell Swing. Each one of these scaled options would be acceptable. Even though the movement may be different, each of the scaled movements work the same muscle groups, but with less chance of injury because they are not as technical.
If a scaled option still doesn't feel right, as a Coach and we will help you choose the best option for you! This is the best part of coming in to the gym, our Coaches understand most of your strengths and weaknesses, so we can assign the most appropriate scaled option so you can get in a great workout, and build the proper strength that will ascend you to the full movement!
Lastly, sometimes slowing the movement down and working on slow controlled movement patterns can help pattern a certain movement for our brains to make the "Mind body connection". Example: If our elbows flare out in a push up, we know undoubtedly they will flare out at the top of the pullup. This repeated "flare" of the elbow will lead to a nagging shoulder ache or elbow pain with repetitive inaccurate movement patterns. So, if we slow the movement down with tempo work, under low load, we can re-pattern the brain to move properly in other movements!
4. You Don’t Just Get Strong At The Gym
A Workout of the Day (WOD) applies a significant amount of stress on the body. If you are able to recover and adapt to this stress, you will get stronger.
However, if the stress is more than you can recover from, you will be heading towards the path of decreased performance and injury.
Yes, soreness is normal. Sometimes our legs or arms will hurt after an intense workout. This is completely normal and sometimes we welcome it!
But, how do you stay out of the "red" and ensure you are recovering properly?
It’s simple, focus on recovery: sleep, diet, mindfulness, and mobility!
Total body health and wellness is a complete package, Exercise is just one piece to a bigger puzzle. Putting all the puzzle pieces together will ensure you can keep pushing yourself daily and recover properly.
5. Train Unilaterally
We’re inherently asymmetrical. So when we perform bilateral tasks (walking, cycling, rowing, barbell lifts), we feed into this asymmetry. If this goes unchecked, it can lead to overuse injuries on one side and/or compensatory injuries on the other.
We recommend performing at least one unilateral training day per week.
This is where having a good program comes into play! At Peak Performance Fitness Facility, we ensure that we train all areas of our bodies. Our programming is designed to focus on the strengths, weaknesses and to ensure we train all areas of the body.
We specifically program at least 1 day per week in which we use dumbbells or kettlebells so we can train unilaterally.
And, if our program isn't fixing the issues, this is where our team of expert Coaches come into play! Each one of our Coaches has a unique specialty from: Mobility, competitive training, gymnastics, nutrition and more! And, we have developed a unique relationship with a team of experts outside of our gym... So, if we can't fix you we have an entire team of Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Massage therapists and acupuncturists to help!
6. Begin With The Core
Everything we do all starts and ends with the core – the core is commonly referred to our abdominal muscles, but the core is actually more than just our abs; they consist of our lower back muscles and obliques (sides).
Our core does everything from helping us breath, keeping us upright to protecting us in high-threshold lifts.
The core is extremely important for maintaining quality movement patterns.
A common problem occurs when lifters sacrifice their core stability to complete a movement. When this happens, the shoulders and hips are forced to not only move the body, but to stabilize it as well. This “double duty” sets these joints up for an injury. To prevent this from happening, make sure your “knots” are tied to the right place and that core stability is apriority during lifts.
Doing all the ab crunches will help get is a stronger core, but learning not use these muscles and squeeze them during lifts and movements is what will protect us from injury.
7. Know When To PR
There’s a reason why you can’t PR (achieve a personal record)every time you work out.
Improving performance is a complex system that involves many variables. If you go for it with every lift, every time, then you risk cumulating more stress than you can handle. This not only decreases performance and prevents gains, but increases the chances of becoming injured. Trying to PR every day also taxes our CNS (Central Nervous System), which doing so too often, can lead to adrenal fatigue and other issues.
Our rule of thumb at the gym is to practice reps and movements consistently, focus on proper form first, then slowly add more weights and then speed and intensity will follow. If we don't practice good form and technique first and foremost, then under heavy loads and high stress you won't be able to control the movement, and as a result, you risk more injury.
So, what should you do? Be patient. Set specific goals. Make a plan. Focus on PRing only a few things at a time. Work on Rules 1-6. Listen to your body’s readiness and have a good training staff that knows how to help you through steps 1-7!
Want to learn more about our program? Schedule your FREE consultation and trial class today!