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Ways To Prevent Gym Injuries
FIND YOUR FREQUENCY
You can find lots of information on the Internet telling you how often to train a certain muscle group. Some people will swear by once a week, others two, others more. Which one is right? Whichever one gives you the right amount of stimulus and enough space for recovery.
“For me, it’s no more than two times per week,” NPC bodybuilder Jesse Hobbs explains. “Training more often than what your body can handle is a fast way to get an injury.”
Is it possible to do more? Of course, but only attempt it if you’re confident in your recovery abilities and are following a periodized program where you aren’t totally obliterating the same muscle with the same intensity every session.
“Training hard and killing yourself in the gym day after day without rest is just a recipe for an injury,” personal trainer and MuscleTech athlete Lindsay Cappotelli
REST ON REST DAYS, MORE OR LESS
Once you fall in love with fitness and lifting, the idea of a total rest day can quickly lose its appeal. Like, what are you supposed to do? Sit there on your can all day? That’s no fun! Let’s do some arms and abs and cardio and hot yoga and ultimate Frisbee!
Does that look like rest to you? I can guarantee it won’t feel like it to your body.
The take-home: Do what you want on your rest days, but don’t do too much, and don’t do it too intensely. And just for the record, pounding the pavement for an hour? Yeah, that’s intense, particularly if you’re already healing up from a tough leg workout.
“Rest days can be active, but don’t overdo any type of cardio that is high impact. It’s surprisingly hard on your body, and it can get in the way of recovery and definitely lead to injuries,” recommends fitness competitor Danielle Beausoleil. “If you want to do some cardio on a rest day, consider a lower impact activity such as stationary biking.”
MASTER YOUR SELF-CARE RITUALS
I’m not talking about brushing your teeth or other forms of hygiene here—although I recommend you master them, too. I’m talking about fitness rituals like dynamic warm-ups and foam rolling. They may not be the magic bullet that keeps you from getting pinned under a loaded barbell, but athlete after athlete swears by them for helping produce better workouts and better recovery.
“Injuries don’t have to be catastrophic. They can come big or small,” says fitness model and coach Shawn Russell. “To prevent them, I usually set up a few minutes to foam roll and perform some dynamic stretches before my workout session. This way, I release any tightness in my muscles, provide beneficial movement and blood flow to the joints, and raise my heart rate and body temperature to prepare for the workout ahead.”
After this work, he then does that classic five minutes of cardio before finally hitting the weights.
After his workout, fitness modelJimmy Everett always saves time to stretch. “This is the point when your muscles are holding tension and could become very stiff and painful,” he says. If you’re the run-out-of-the-gym-and-into-the-car type—hey, it happens—then you can do your stretching and maybe some more rolling later at home. But do it!
Whether in front of the TV or on the floor next to your bed, it’s a great way to tell your body that the day is done and it’s time to start recharging—so you can go back and do it all again, free of pain and full of fire!