Here are the five most common injuries people suffer during strength training and in gyms.
Low Back pain
Rotator Cuff Tear
Low back pain is the most common issue with most of the gym goers. On an average 80% of the people have experienced low back pain during / post heavy lifting exercises. It is okay to have some soreness for a day or two in the muscles after heavy training or when introduced to a new exercise. But most of the time it is related to improper hip and ankle alignment and muscle weakness in the core.
Deadlift, Heavy Overhead Press and Squats are three exercises that can give moderate to major back issues if not performed properly. Deadlift is a highly functional move and must be learnt and performed under guidance.
BARBELL DEADLIFT TIP : The bar should move up in one straight line from top of your feet to your thigh. One must learn a hip hinge first keeping the spine intact and core braced before progressing to loaded deadlifts & squats.
Shoulder impingement can be caused by faulty biomechanics while doing bench press and shoulder press. Bench press being No1 contributor as your shoulder blades are locked against the bench and scapulothoracic joint cannot provide the range of motion and stability required to push the heavy weight on the bar. TIP : You can try to lift the lumber spine up and pressing the feet into the ground try to squeeze your buttocks and lower trapezius muscles this will give some space to your shoulder blades to move underneath and stabilise your spine. Rotator cuff tear is rare but happens when heavy loads are moved at a faster speed mostly in HIIT / CROSSFIT classes. Snatches or heavy overhead squats can lead to rotator cuff tear. It’s a long and painful process from there on… one might need to get a surgery done to repair broken tissues. You avoid this injury with mobilising thoracic spine and shoulder joint well before performing these exercises and gradually build up the endurance and strength before getting to heavier loads. If you feel pain or irritation in shoulder joint in any exercise you must not ignore the pain and address the issue with the help of an expert.
Knee pain is the most common issue with anyone who trains or even in sedentary population. In fact knee itself is a very strong and resilient joint or we can say a dumb joint as it just works as hip and ankle ask it to work. If you have any sort of knee pain you must look deeper into your hip and ankle. The problem arises in these joints and knee becomes the victim. Lunges and Squats are two exercises that can give you knee pain if your hips / ankles aren’t doing their job. Work on hip / ankle mobility on daily basis if you have knee pain. Try to harmonise the strength of your hip flexors - glutes, quadriceps - hamstrings, adductors - abductors. Imbalances in these muscles are surely responsible for knee pain.
Muscle Strain can happen in any muscle you are training or muscles used in stabilising (eg core muscles) during exercise.
Improper warmup, lifting too much too soon, loosing the posture and dehydration are majorly responsible for muscle strains. One should not ignore these basics and enjoy lifting weights in a progressive and safe environment.
Here are the most common causes of injuries during a workout...
Lack of warmup or movement preparation
Bad form or posture
Lack of mobility in joints
How can one prevent injuries when following a fitness routine?
Optimal and activity specific warmup is required to prevent most of the injuries in the gym. For eg If you just do a 5-10min jog and then go for a chest training routine it’s is absolutely faulty warmup for a chest day inviting shoulder issues.
Drink enough water through the day also Pre and Intra workout rehydration is important to keep muscles supple and recover faster between the sets / exercise. Make sure you drink 300-500 ml water 20mins prior to your gym session.
Keep your ego out of the gym floor. Everyone needs to know their capacity and how much overload their muscles can take. Lifting a weight that your body can’t handle and you start cheating on form. Make sure you can perform 5-6 good quality reps with good form and then if you need ask for some help to perform another 2-3 reps leading to muscle failure that too once in a while. Beware too many failure sets can tear too many muscle tissues and lead to high level of soreness.
Lift light and set a good form before lifting heavier weights. The first adaptation when you do any sort of exercise is neurological. You need to create mind muscle connection before adding more pounds to the bar. Your brain senses the load and recruit specific muscles to get the job done. It is highly beneficial for beginners if they do high rep (15-20reps) sets with lower weight to set this connection right that too with good posture, tempo and joint alignment. Being aware of your posture is the key thing one should learn from their coaches and seniors.
Specific Joint Mobility training need to be done before any lifting session. Getting your joints into full range of motion is important to keep a check on form and reducing injuries and post workout soreness. If your joints are stiff from prolonged sitting through the day or from last workout you will not enjoy the strength session or can get injured easily.
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