3 min read
Whatever your fitness goals are, getting injured will set you back weeks of hard training. With the rise in popularity of CrossFit and functional training, there are more and more people injuring themselves while attempting exercises and lifts that they have not been shown the proper technique to perform. The poor posture that most people carry around with them during the day, plus hours spent at a computer weakens your musculoskeletal structure.
Incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Stretch in the mornings after waking, and before bed at night. Even 5 minutes and each end of the day is going to reap some benefits. And stretch throughout the day when you take breaks. Especially if you sit at a computer most of the day. Take regular breaks and stretch out your muscles and spine. It will make a huge difference in preventing injuries and improving your overall health.
Take Your Ego Out Of It
A lot of injuries happen in the weight room because of uncontained egos. Loading up a bench press or military press isn’t going to give you shoulder boulders in one sitting. Take your ego out of it and train as if you are your own PT. Build yourself up, don’t smash your muscles into the ground thinking that will produce more results. Train hard, but train smart.
Push and Pull
Don’t get caught up in bench pressing your way to muscle gains. Think of your body as a well-rounded and symmetrical sculpture. You don’t want to overload the front, without putting equal (or more) demand on your back. You might see your chest when you look in the mirror but having a strong back not only looks good but it will improve your posture and physical capabilities.
Keep Your Elbows In
Especially on the bench press, but also on military and shoulder presses, keep your elbows tucked in tight to your body. Don’t let them flare out to the sides as your struggle to push the weight up. If you can’t lift the weight with proper technique then drop the weight and build yourself up properly. Don’t cheat just to satisfy your ego so you can tell your friends you hit a certain weight.
Avoid Wide Grip Chin Ups/ Lat Pulldowns
Chin ups are a fantastic exercise that everyone should do. The only issue arises when people start doing extremely wide lat pulldowns in an effort to increase the width of their backs. Doing chin ups with this wide of a grip places a lot of strain on your shoulders. Again, keep your elbows tight to your body and focus on the muscles you’re are working.
Create A Smart Workout Schedule
A simple way to think of this is to follow a push day with a pull day. Don’t do chest on a Monday and then Shoulders on a Tuesday. You will be overloading the joints and muscles and you will have a less effective workout. Even better, you can slot legs in between each upper body day to help strengthen your legs, core and overall physique, while also giving your upper body joints a well-deserved rest.
Try doing a workout split that involves working out for two days, one upper body, one lower, followed by a rest day. This way you are getting rest in between sessions and the extra leg days will help promote muscle growth and overall strength.
Most importantly, listen to your body and trust your instincts. Your body will tell you if something you are doing is hurting it. Learn the difference between good pain and bad pain. Don’t ‘push through the pain’ if you know that you are doing damage.