How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Injured In The Gym

How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Injured In The Gym

Injuries can lead to missed training sessions.  In a recent journal article looking at gym-based workouts, it showed there's a 19% chance of getting an overuse/repetitive injury through high-intensity exercise (1).  


These were described as Crossfit style workouts of mixed equipment (bodyweight, kettlebells, running, rowing, barbells dumbbells etc.) at mixed intensity; something commonplace in gyms nowadays.


This article also likens the chance of getting injured in the gym with that of sports such as track and field, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting.  This suggests that going to the gym is becoming more like sport with the same injury rates as non-contact exercise.

Training is supposed to be a healthy pursuit but pair high-intensity training with the mentality of wanting immediate results, we tend to increase the intensity of workouts too quickly to achieve our goals.


Warm-Up

How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Injured In The Gym


It’s surprising how many people miss a warm-up as part of their time at the gym. I can’t stress this enough, a proper warm-up is essential to staying injury-free. 


The warm-up increases blood flow and gets the mind in a state of readiness to workout.  It also gets you in tune with your body feeling out any aches or pains before high-intensity exercise.  You can then modify exercises where necessary. 


If it's an upper-body day, then think about your posture, your shoulder position, wrist position and spinal position. For example, banded rotational work for the arms and shoulders is a fantastic way to wake up the shoulder stabilisers while also utilising the correct spinal position.  


If it's a lower-body day then get the hips, lower and upper back activated as well as the core.  


If its a day where you’re joining a class then you should cover all bases and activate the whole body at a lower intensity with some of the movements you’ll experience in the class.  


Moderate/Realistic Goals

How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Injured In The Gym


Your expectations are really important.  Many individuals are in great shape, but you only see the end product. What you don’t see is the discipline they’ve had with training, diet and lifestyle. 


You must understand if your goals are possible, but more importantly if they’re possible for you with your current lifestyle. The toll on the body going from zero training to training 5 days per week could be asking for trouble.  


It would be like driving your Nissan Micro for most of your life, to then stepping into a Formula 1 car and expecting not to crash.  You’re going to crash. 


Setting a goal of getting into the gym is a good place to start. Do the same for the following week and see if you can achieve a month's worth of just showing up.  Once you’re training age increases, then you can start to get very specific about your training.


If you don’t know what to do once you’re in the gym then seek out a class which isn’t high intensity for the early days. Something like Pilates or bodyweight conditioning would be good options.


Going straight for the high-intensity training could lead to compromising on correct exercise form leading to repeatedly hitting bad positions ergo injury.  


Correct technique

How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Injured In The Gym


It's hard to stress the importance of good form. 


Correct technique doesn’t sound sexy.  It requires both physical and mental effort to get your posture and positions right.  

Bad technique comes from not knowing better and form.  For example, you might not know how your posture should look and feel in a plank to reduce the stress on your lower back and shoulders. 

You may think you’re in the right position but it's very hard to see what it looks like without feedback and guidance. Hiring a professional trainer will save your body from injury. 


Summary 

While sustaining an injury isn’t 100% avoidable, keep these 3 points in mind to reduce the chance!


Learn about technique and improve your movement and posture.  Not only does this reduce the chance of injury, but it will make you more athletic!  Don’t be the person that gets injured in the gym, its avoidable. 

Reference

  1. Are Injuries More Common With CrossFit Training Than Other Forms of Exercise? Journal of Sport Rehabilitation