TOPIC: How Can You Maintain Proper Safety Over The Long Term?
The Question: We all know that if you get injured while working out, it could crush your bodybuilding dreams, permanently. Even if you simply get a chronic injury that will not go away (like a rotator cuff injury), you could have pain for the rest of your life.
What can you do during your workouts to be sure you do not get injured? What can you do outside of the gym to help?
BONUS QUESTIONS: 1. Name a few of the injuries that either you or somebody you know has suffered. How did it affect you/them? How fast did you/they recover? How could it have been prevented?
The best response will get $50 in credit to use in our online store!
1st Place - hepennypacker52
Injuries, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Or can you? Injury is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) concerns when lifting weights. Injuries can be short term, or long term. You can usually shake off short term injures within a week or two, and be good to go after that. Long term injuries however can keep you out of the Iron Game for a long time, and sometimes indefinately.
Many short term injuries can build up to a long term or chronic injury. So staying as far away from injuries as possible is the right coice, right? Right. So now let's talk about some general things you can do to prevent injuries from occuring.
How To Prevent During The Workout
So what things can you do to ensure that your workout today will be a plesant, injury free one?
Perform A General Warmup
You should never go into a workout cold. Do some light aerobics for 5-10 minutes to get the blood flowing. You should start to break a light sweat. Nothing intense though, you need to be ready for your workout.
Perform Warmup Sets
2 x 5 @ 45lbs (bar) ~warmup~
1 x 5 @ 95 ~warmup~
1 x 5 @ 115 ~warmup~
3 x 8 @ 135 - WORK
Notice that the warmup reps are kept low. You can use higher reps (12-15), but make sure for those to be your first warmup sets, and that they are very light. High rep warmup sets close to work set weight will fatigue you too much.
Now if this is chest day, and you do 3 chest movements, you don't have to warmup for all three of them. If there is 1 exercise that isolates a spot, you should take maybe 1 set to warmup that movement. I personally take 3-5 sets to initially warmup, then for each other movement, I'll warmup with 1 set.
Drink Up - Stay Hydrated
It is extremely, extremely, extremely important to stay hydrated during your workouts. This is a no brainer. Dehydration can yield very serious consequences, including death. Just keep drinking
water througout your entire workout, and you'll be fine.
DO NOT Lift When You're Extremely Tired
Working out when you're tired can very easily lead to poor form, which could lead to a big injury. You may also lose control of the bar, which could have very bad consequences.
Maintain Proper Form
First off, before you ever include any movement into your schedule, practice it with just the bar for a few days before you add weight. Learn how to correctly perform the movement, and keep doing it over and over again with the bar. Starting with poor form is a very bad choice.
One of the biggest reasons people tend to demonstrate poor form is because they are trying to use too much weight. Only use a weight in which you can maintain near perfect form for the entire set.
DO NOT let your shoulders slump forward and round your back during any back movement (ie squat, deadlift, good morning). This could lead to serious lower back injury. To help stabilize the back, perform abdominal/oblique exercises with resistance. I do not recommend using a belt all of the time, it will limit stabilizer growth, which could lead to a lower back injury when you're not wearing it.
DO NOT arch your lower back when bench pressing. This is another big killer. People tend to do this when they're using too much weight.
Have A Way Out
One way to do this is to have a
training partner. If you get stuck on any movement, they can lift the bar off, or help you finish the rep. Being stuck alone when you fail on bench press or squats is NOT a good thing.
Another way to do this is to invest in a power rack. This way, if you can't complete the rep, you'll just be able to lower the weight onto the pins.
You should also cool down after a workout. This takes heart rate slowly back to normal levels, and starts to relax the muscles. You shouldn't go from high octane working out to sitting on the couch.
How To Prevent Outside Of Workouts
One of the best things you can do for yourself is just read, read, read. Read about proper technique, read about physiology, read about stretching, read about injury prevention. Reading will do so much in helping to further your understanding of staying injury free.
Bodybuilding.com is a good source of articles, and you can find many more by simply searching.
Person A does his sets and gets a nice stretch in his hamstrings. Person B loads up the weight, starts his rep, and tries to go down as far as Person A. He's not flexible enough, and once he starts going down further, the weight pulls him down. This leads to a torn hamstring, ouch.
Stretch only after you're warmed up. Stretching when cold can also tear a muscle.
Here is a great link on stretching : http://www.cmcrossroads.com/bradapp...rec/stretching/
Don't Workout While Overtrained
This could lead to injury. Notice the symptoms of overtraining, and stop lifting. Take a week or two off, and once you feel 100% again, start lifting.
If you have a non-preventable injury, it's most likely that it's genetic. Everybody is different, and different people can do different things. Some people have really bad knees, and go and squat, and end up injuring their knees.
Was this non-preventable? No. The person didn't know themself enough to know not to do squats. This is why you should consult your doctor before starting any serious lifting routine.
There are many common injuries, and they can all be prevented by following the steps I have already provided. I'll name a couple:
This will probably take 1-2 weeks to fully recover. If it doesn't recover after 1-2 weeks, go see a doctor. A lot of times people think they sprained their wrist/ankle, when infact they broke it. Stretch your wrists and ankles before working out, and perform resistance exercises to build their strength up. If you do sprain something, follow the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compress, Evelate). Buy some wraps and wrap the area up.
Many people do this while running also. If you properly warm up, you won't have a problem with this. If this happens, follow the RICE method.
Rotator Cuff Injury
Many people have injured their rotator cuff in their training experience. It is for this reason that you should do plenty of rotator cuff exercises to prevent this injury. This like l-flys and lateral raises work well.
This injury occurs from frequent running. These are basically stress fractures in your shins. The best way to heal these is to just rest your legs.
Name a few of the injuries that either you or somebody you know has suffered. How did it affect you/them? How fast did you/they recover? How could it have been prevented?
I'll use myself as the only example here, because I have sustained a few of the injuries I listed.
I'm still recovering from this, I did it exactly a week ago powercleaning. I had to stop my workouts immediately, which was no good. I'm about 85% recovered, and should be ready to lift again in about 5 days. I could have prevented it by doing things such as wrist curls and exercises to bring up the stregth around that area. I have very small wrists (6.2"), and they just didn't handle powercleaning well.
I sustained shin splints last year during lacrosse season. I was out for about a week, did no running, and I was better after that.
Rotator Cuff Injury
This was way back just when I had started lifting. If I can remember correctly, I was either benching, or doing DB flys. I can't remember a lot about this injury, other than it was minor, and was a result of my lack of knowledge and form.
2nd Place - TRICK D
When Injuries Happen. The What, Where, And How They Can Be Prevented
When you work out, you're literally beating your body to death. Breaking the muscle fibers in half to rebuild them again in a new and bigger way, but when you do not stretch, use bad form, lifting too heavy, or not wearing safety equipment is when injuries happen.
According to THE PHYSICIAN AND SPORTSMEDICINE - VOL 26 - NO. 3 - MARCH 98: "The repetitive nature of weight training and the often heavy loads involved provide fertile ground for chronic injuries. Common chronic injuries include rotator cuff tendinopathy and stress injuries to the vertebrae, clavicles, and upper extremities.
In addition, muscle hypertrophy, poor technique, or overuse can contribute to nerve injuries such as thoracic outlet syndrome or suprascapular neuropathy. Chronic medical conditions that are known to occur in weight trainers include vascular stenosis and weight lifter's cephalgia. Management of chronic problems will vary by condition, but relative rest and correction of poor technique are important for many."
Now we will look at the aspects of why injuries happen.
Not Stretching Well Enough
Something that I have noticed in the past is that there is a lot of muscles that you don't know you use when lifting weights. For the longest time in the middle of my reps while doing bench press my back would start cramping. I know that you use most of your upper body when performing this exercise and now I am stretching my back out before I do bench press, and it is really helping me now.
You should always do warmup sets before weight training also. This should always be considered stretching since it loosens you up before doing high reps. I bench 240, and when I do chest, I start off with 2 light sets of 135 with reps between 12-15 to start off, to get me loose. I never do a single rep without fully stretching!
When you have bad form, you put stress on places of your body that aren't being used, and you are just asking for injuries. The two exercises that cause the most injuries because of form are
squats and bench press. When doing squat and bench, you should follow this diagram on how to get your form right, so that you won't risk injury.
Lifting Too Heavy
I remember when I was 16 years old. I thought I was great. I was 2nd in the school in bench press divided by bodyweight. I weighed about 130 and could bench over 185. Well I was showing off for some people when I put 180 on the bar after working out after a long day. I had this big guy give me a lift off, and as soon as that happened, I dropped 180 pounds on my chest, and hurt my sternum.
This caused me to not lift for about 2 months. Whenever you lift, make sure you remain safe and handle wait that you can control at all times. Always have a great spotter on hand at all times to prevent further injury.
Not Wearing Safety Equipment
Some of the exercises that can be useful with a belt are: squats and deadlifts. Weight lifting gloves are gloves that protect your hands when using heavy weight. They help prevent minor hand injuries like calluses. Knee wraps and wrist wraps can protect your knees and wrists when squatting or benching heavy weight.
What Are Some Things That I Can Do Outside Of The Gym To Protect Myself?
After having a good lift, it is always important to stretch. I always stretch right before I go to bed. This keeps your muscles from cramping up and hurting so bad when you wake up the next morning. Also, it is never bad to research on new stretching theories and protective measures while lifting. Bodybuilding.com has numerous articles on stretching that can keep you from hurting in the long run.
1. Name a few of the injuries that either you or somebody you know has suffered. How did it affect you/them? How fast did you/they recover? How could it have been prevented?
Some of the injuries that I have had that have hurt me in lifting are:
I dropped 180 pounds on my chest when I was 16 years old. It kept me from working out for about 2 months. This could have been easily prevented if I was paying attention, realized that I was tired, and not have been showing off to my friends. A better spotter would have helped.
Pulled Hip Muscles
The same summer in which I hurt my sternum, was the same summer in which I hurt my hip. I did a leg workout, really hard, and then tried to run. I did not stretch before running and came down wrong, and pulled all the muscles around my hip. I was playing in a basketball league at that time and kept me out of the whole regular season. I missed about a month of leg workouts.
3 Bulging Discs In Lower Back
Although this was because of a car wreck, I found out quick that I had to seriously watch how I did exercises and make sure that I do them correctly with good form to prevent further injury. I always wear my belt, and do not do squat anymore because of the pressure it puts on my lower back.
3rd Place - muscledome
Working out has many wonderful effects on not just our bodies, but also our lifestyles. These is why we must also take precautions in order to avoid injuries that could in fact last throughout our lifespan.
Inside The Gym
By just jogging, power walking, or doing some sort of light-to-medium cardiovascular exercise for 5-10 minutes you are getting your muscles warmed up as well as increasing your heart rate for the battle you are about to begin whether it is to build muscle or just stay slim.
Usually if someone doesn't also stretch he again is also bound to get a serious injury and/or may keep making it worse. This is because stretching promotes flexibility, and loosens the muscles and joints. But don't think that just by stretching one muscle group for five seconds will get you going, this will be better than nothing but still pretty bad.
You must properly stretch whatever muscle group you are going to workout and all other muscles that also contribute to the exercise. An example of this when bench pressing would be stretching the chest, triceps, back, shoulders, forearms, and maybe your quads if you press your feet into the ground when benching. Also do not get carried away and stretch for more than 10-15 seconds each part, as too much stretching may rip a muscle layer.
Again in order to prevent injury and maximizes workout potentials, this is a must. By warming up you are again warming up the muscles you are about workout and you are letting your body know what kind of stress you are about to conflict on it. By doing 1-3 sets of warm-ups, your body will be ready to handle the loads you will use on the specific muscles and might even allow you to do more weight or do it more times.
I can't even begin to count how many people completely leave out this principle for mainly two reasons. One is that the cute trainer or some other hottie is next to and you want to impress her so you either pack on double the weight you do or just start trying to lift for more reps than you can actually do.
Second you feel threaten by another guy/girl who is doing more than you so feel the need to challange them by seeing who can lift more or for how many times even though they may not even know you are even there. These reasons specially involve barbell curls and the bench press. I can't count how many times I see a guy no matter how small or big using more than they can lift or just trying the get more reps when curling and all they are doing is bending back and forth like the novelty bird drinking from a cup.
Once you got both these thing on check, start by using a weight you know you can use properly for whatever # of reps you're going for and start lifting it using only the specific muscles the exercise requires in order to get the maximal results of the exercise.
Another form to workout safely that is also popular is doing 3/4 of reps in workouts. This especially works on compound movements such as when benching, instead of bringing the bar to your chest, bring it down low enough to be 1-2 inches above your chest so as to not stress out your rotator cuffs, and pecs.
Another example of this is when deadlifting using the power rack and putting the racks below knee level so as to not use too much leg movement and stressing the knees on this back exercise.
By going to the gym with a
workout partner or just asking someone to give you a hand you are not only preventing any injury but you are also securing a better workout. Spotters are great when doing heavy compound movements such as bench press, squats, deadlifts, etc. They can help you relieve unneccessary stress and mentally can help you reach new potentials by getting you angry or giving you confidence.
This is a concept that many don't care or don't feel the need you use of, but in my opinion it is a great help and a must. From lifting gloves, to a weight bell, these things help you have a better workout and give you maximum safety especially on heavy exericise such as deadlifts and squats.
Sometimes these things are not needed if their core's are properly toughened such as the back and abs core, but even then I thing they are still needed to prevent any mishaps. Like I say better safe than sorry.
It is as important as any of these other tips.
Just think about it, our bodies are made up of 80% water, so it is obvious that we should maintain a constant flow in order to prevent dehydration and other problems, especially when under major stress of working out.
Outside The Gym
Sick Or Overtraining
If you are tired, sick, or feel that you are
overtraining, then rather than worsen your condition by going to the gym, stay home and get better. Start
sleeping more having a minimum of 8 hours, eat more if nutritiously and get 1-2g of protein per lbs. of weight.
Supplement with vitamin C and E as well as multivitamins and any other things if necessary in order to get better. Trust me by allowing your body to recover fully you will not only prevent any major injuries but you will actually come back stronger than before.
This is specially important for people who have/had injuries. Usually it will consist of stretching in the morning and/or before bed as well as doing core exercises recommended by your doctor if needed. So before doing this, check with your doctor/ physician to see if you could benefit from this tip.
Again I stress this, by teaching yourself about the do's and don'ts in not only bodybuilding and exercising, but living a healthy you will achieve your goals faster and better without any platues or injuries to set you back.
INJURIES I'VE HAD! Yay the good part: I can honestly say that I have had many of my injuries because of not taking care of myself as much as I should have had.
First injury was probably pain on my wrist, this was mainly from the straight bar curling, it wasn't until I started using a EZ bar and grabbing it correctly that the pain went away, also gloves helped out alot.
Second injury was on my rotator cuff, like many others I got this from bouncing the bar when benching and from doing fly's. It's been 2 years now and it still comes back to hunt me now and then but I now know how to take care of it when it does. If I would have left my ego at home and not done flys to far down I would probably be benching alot more than what I am now.
The most dramatic injury I have had is back pain which happened deadlifting early summer this year. This was more cause because of my body structure than bad form. I am 5'11 and really flat-footed, so if I were to squat down with feet pointing straight shoulder my back would began to dramatically bend and my knees would bang against each other. After squating down less than 1/4 of the way I would not be able to go down any further unless I wanted to fall on my butt.
So the only way I can squat and deadlift is by going wide and havind my feet pointing outward, and even then my back still bends more than I would like. Because of my body strutcture I have suffered from not being able to lift as much as I could and after injuring my back I wasn't able to squat and deadlift or even do any movements standing up for the whole summer and a little bit of fall.
Now I can finally squat again, but even then sometimes I get aches which still affect what I can do in the gym. Finally I have had shint splints and felt like a sharp pain underneath my right foot but this was more because of the pressure I had when I was in Rugby (I was a lock which meant that when I was in a ruck I was the one that had to push alot with my legs and that brought on alot of stress to these parts of my body).
Some of these injuries could have been prevented and others were not, but at least now I am more educated on taking better care of myself so that these as well others don't occur again. Hopefully you guys will take into cosideration my tips and prevent unneccessary injuries.