I’ll Feel That!: 6 Common Fitness Class Injuries

You went into that fitness class feeling powerful and motivated. Then you staggered home to the couch in pain. Follow these tips to stay out of harm’s way!

Fitness classes are all the rage—but sometimes, they can put you at risk for some serious pain.

When Jennifer Love Hewitt broke her wrist in a boxing class, she took to the Twittersphere to spread the word. Ouch.

It just shows: Although group fitness can be a great way to get exercise and stick to a weight-loss plan, classes aren't all super-fun sweat sessions—sometimes, they involve blood and tears, too.

Whether you're a badass boxer like Hewitt or swear by your morning spin class, check out these tips from the fitness industry's top instructors for how to get fit without getting hurt.

The Class /// Speed and Heavy Bag Boxing

Common Injuries: Sprains and strains in the wrists (à la Jennifer Love Hewitt)
How it Happens: Not wearing proper protective gear, using poor punch technique
Prevention Tip: Wrap 'em up, and throw a legit punch.

Properly wrapping your wrists and hands before class will help support your bones and tendons and prevent injury, says Ray Wallace, NASM, Chief Fitness Strategist of Pedal NYC.

When applying wraps, make sure your wrist is totally straight. Start by placing the loop around your thumb. Roll the wrap around your wrist three times, then wrap the fabric around the palm of your hand. Next wrap in between each of your fingers, starting with the pinkie. Twist the wrap directly below the thumb and loop back up through each finger. Wrap the left over fabric across your knuckles, and around your wrist. Attach the Velcro to secure the hand wrap.

Learning how to correctly throw a punch can also keep you safe, says Wallace. When throwing a punch keep your palm facing down, fists tight, and be sure at least four fingers make contact with the bag. This will alleviate pressure on your wrists.

READ MORE: 25 Sexy, Fit Celebrities in Bikinis

The Class /// Cycling

Common Injury: Knee pain
How it Happens: Setting the bike up incorrectly
Prevention Tip: Get to class early. This will ensure you have enough time to get situated on the bike.

Start by adjusting your seat. Move it forwards and backwards until you can put your front knee directly over the pedal axle when sitting, says Wallace. Then adjust the seat to the right height.

Place your feet on the pedals and rotate them until one leg reaches the bottom on the pedal stroke—your leg should have a 30-degree bend in the knee. Next, adjust the handlebars so you can comfortably place your hands on the bars with a slight bend in your elbows.

Bonus: Arriving early will also guarantee that you catch the warm up, which prevents injury by prepping your body for the demands of the class, says Wallace.

The Class /// Group Resistance Training

Common Injury: Muscle strain and repetitive stress injuries
How it Happens: Using too much weight, doing too many reps, or not varying exercises
Prevention Tip: Varying exercises and intensity will help prevent overtraining, says Brynn Jinnett, Owner of Refine Method in New York City.

This may mean incorporating rest days into your regimen, adding a specific period of lighter lifting or varying your movement patterns (lateral, forwards and backwards, up and down) which will all help to ward off injury.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to Soothe Sore Muscles

The Class /// Zumba

Common Injury: Stress fractures in the knee, ankle, and foot
How it Happens: Wearing improper footwear, poor jumping technique
Prevention Tip: To protect your knees during jumps, never land on a straight leg says Kelly Anne Wadler, a Zumba and hip-hop instructor in the New York City area.

Always bend your knee when you land, for a bit more give. Also, investing in a supportive pair of sneakers will keep your ankles and feet free from injury.

The Class /// Pilates

Common Injury: Neck discomfort
How it Happens: Having weak abs and neck flexors
Prevention Tip: Listen to your body. If something hurts, stop, reset your alignment by inhaling deeply, pulling the abdominals in and up as you exhale, and then try the exercise again, says Christina Morrell, a Certified Pilates Mat and Apparatus Instructor based in Manhattan.

If the discomfort continues, try a different exercise. New to Pilates? Consider taking a private lesson to familiarize yourself with exercises and modifications before attending a group class.

Also, the stronger your core, the less strain will be on the neck, says Morrell.

READ MORE: The Better-Sex Pilates Workout

The Class /// Yoga

Common Injury: Wrist and lower back pain
How it Happens: Performing poses or distributing weight incorrectly
Prevention Tip: Spreading your fingers wide and pressing through the fingertips in any pose where weight is on your hands will reduce pressure on the wrist, says Charlene Lite, a New York City-based yoga instructor.

Avoid lower back pain by lengthening the spine up and away from the hips before bending or rounding the back. During floor stretches, sit on a block or a few blankets to prevent rounding the spine.

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"be sure at least four fingers make contact with the bag. This will alleviate pressure on your wrists."...
By breaking your knuckles. Surely no professional actually endorsed that.

Only contact with the first two knuckles, this puts your striking metacarpals in a direct line to your elbow (they're also the strongest bones). By trying to contact with four fingers you put your wrist in a position to take all the stress rather than transfer it through the forearm.
I've seen several knuckles shoot down into wrists from people hitting with the third or fourth knuckle and the bones snapping (particularly while breaking boards or bricks).

May 24, 2013 6:26pm | report

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Travis, I'd love for you to feel how it would hurt if I got a hold of ya. Or any female boxers. Then tell me if girl punches don't hurt. Keep the sexist remarks where they belong, in the trash.

May 25, 2013 4:23pm | report

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@Egleaves22, well said sir!
@travis123, there are strong people and there are stronger people, but it's all relative to what is being measured, regardless of sex.

May 27, 2013 3:42pm | report

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I broke my fourth metacarpal by accidentally connecting it with someone's head. The accident was not connecting with the second and third.

May 28, 2013 10:07am | report

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lol iv often done this with muay thai training overstreched my ankle and had trouble walking for a few days not nice but hey no pain no gain bring it on lads blood sweat and tears make the most motivated people on this palnet

May 28, 2013 11:09am | report

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For the punching technique, the picture and the directions are horrible advice. Never hit with all four knuckles, only the first two, index and middle. The girl's form in the picture is terrible, she is turning her fist so that the palm is almost facing outward. Punching the way she is doing in the picture will not only mess up the wrist, it is going to ***** up her shoulder, especially her rotator cuff.

Also, you shouldn't punch with the palm facing down as the article recommends, I've seen numerous sprained wrists because of that when used in sparring, it will mess up your wrist. You are twisting the bones of the forearm and reducing bone alignment strength. You should keep the palm facing inward, this is safest because it keeps the bones in proper alignment.

Jun 3, 2013 10:15am | report

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Great advice.I am sure we can all identify with one or 2 of these!

Nov 25, 2014 1:52am | report
Showing 1 - 7 of 7 Comments

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