We are all products of the commitment we’ve put forth in our quest to be the best possible version of ourselves that we can be. The daily routines we follow, the opportunities for social gatherings we’ve passed on and the regular torture sessions we endure to force our body into growth have become a part of who we are and we offer no apologies for that. Everything we do is magnified in an effort to expedite the process of growth and within that comes an element of risk and that risk comes by way of injury. An injury can occur without a moment’s notice and can happen to anyone at any level. The key is to take actions that will minimize the instances of injury so that we can keep doing what we love doing everyday uninterrupted. To do so, you have to adopt a very pragmatic approach and put in place a few precautionary strategies that will alleviate the worry, to some degree, of injury.
Take the Time to Thoroughly Warm Up
The excitement of an impending hardcore training session can sometimes lead people straight to the weights without physically preparing their body for the onslaught that is about to incur. Jumping right into heavy resistance void of any real type of warming up can be extremely hazardous and downright dangerous. There are so many processes that need to wake up and start firing prior to asking your body to go all out that if you fail to take the time and “wake everything up”, you’re just looking for disaster. Your first order of business prior to your actual workout is a warm up that includes some light cardiovascular work, dynamic and static stretching of the muscles and joints being worked that day, some extra preventative joint care movements and then a gradual progression into your working sets. Yes, this is extra time that you have to commit to putting in but completely worth it in the end.
Use Full Range of Motion First
Once you get into your weight training session, you have a plethora of options as to how you want to perform your repetitions. Partial repetitions and all that you can do with those are very useful in certain situations, but nothing will prepare your muscles for extreme resistance like a repetition that sees you moving the weight with a full range of motion. By doing so, you are allowing for the muscle(s) to move freely through the entire eccentric and concentric phases of the repetition and the tendons and ligaments that are surrounding the joints affected are allowed to shorten and lengthen to their capacity (or close to that). This will drive fresh new blood into the joint, making it more viable for movement and an overall sense of feeling “warmed up” will ensue. The muscles will also be fully engorged with blood, which means they too are in a much better position to handle extreme loads and stress.
Maintain Your Proper Form
Generally speaking, there is a right way and a bunch of wrong ways to perform most exercises. We all have our own unique biomechanics and our most efficient path of movement may not always resemble that of the person we are training with. Having said that, it’s up to you to define what your “proper form” looks and feels like when performing any given exercise and then it’s up to you again to maintain that form. Any slight deviation of that, especially when heavy loads are being used, can prove to be very detrimental to your health. If you don’t experience an acute injury as soon as your form loosens up, you probably will over time.
Listen to Your Body
Our body is great at being able to tell us when things are going good and when things are starting to go bad. If you’ve been experiencing a nagging ache or pain, perhaps some tightness in a muscle or joint that just won’t go away or maybe your range of motion has all of a sudden decreased significantly, you might be on the brink of an injury. Ignoring these signs and trying to push through these uncomfortable feelings could very well lead you to serious harm. You know what feels right and what doesn’t; don’t neglect the signs and symptoms being presented to you, whichever form they present themselves in, and do the necessary adjustments in your training or seek medical advice as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse it could be.
The unfortunate truth in all of this is that regardless of how much time and energy we put into injury prevention, sometimes fate deals us the wrong hand and it happens in spite of our efforts. The best thing we can do is put in place a regular preventative routine, make sure we physically prepare ourselves and our body for what we’re about to ask it to do and utilize the supportive training gear that we have available to us when maxing out our physical potential. Heyday Footwear’s Tactical Trainer would be a great place to start in this regard, as your protective support must start from the ground up.
The final thing I’d like to say about injuries is that you can’t train in fear but you can train prepared. Do what you have to do to keep yourself healthy and in a pair of Heyday’s every time you train!
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.