The 5 Must Do’s of Injury Prevention

By: Sylvia Lokollo

Staying fit and healthy is a choice we make. Staying away from injuries is also a choice that we make.  For you to gain muscles, lose fat and live the life you want with more energy will require you to create a training routine and a nutrition plan that will get you closer to your goals.  So, this goes the same for your training if you want to minimise injuries.

The problem is, ‘injury prevention’ doesn’t seem to sound as sexy as a six pack. No one really cares about injury prevention until they get injured.  The fact is, it is one of the most important aspect of your training if you want to continue getting stronger, faster and have ongoing results.

There are many rules and must do’s to help you prevent injuries, but let’s keep it basic.  Here are simple Must Do’s you can start today to minimise the risk of injuries:

1. TAKE YOUR WARM UP SERIOUSLY

The warm up is your opportunity to wake up the stabiliser muscles to help you move safely.  Avoid your back from rounding or arching, the knees from collapsing, the toes from lifting.  This is the time to get your brain to be aware of what your body is doing. Avoid poor form.  Correct them during your warm up.  All classes at Core Strength starts with mobility and warm up.  One benefit of group training is that you don’t have to think about what warm up exercises you need to do, the program is written for you. However, it is still your responsibility to be aware of your body and remember what good form feels like.

2. MAINTAIN THE FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT PATTERNS

Ever heard “You make that look so easy!”? Ya, that only happens when you get the basics right.  There are only so many movements we can do…squat, lunge, push, pull and press.  This is what we do in class everyday, every week, month after month.  Yes, there are variations, different loads with different equipment.  However, the movement patterns are still the same.  Get the basics right for your squats, lunge, push, pull, press. Perfect it!  Listen to your coach when they ask you to do it slowly, with control, with less weights.  It’s not to harm your ego, it’s to keep you safe and help you get stronger without getting injured.  Think about it, if you are overloading with poor technique, your body is forced to compensate with very ugly reps. Stop.  Correct it and make this process a habit in your training so you can continue training with minimal to no pain.

3. MATCH YOUR NUTRITION TO YOUR GOALS

Let’s face the truth here…if you’re going to eat shit, you’re gonna feel like shit, and you’ll probably perform and recover like shit.  If you’re putting crap that’s going to make you feel fat and sluggish…then you’ll probably feel a bit fat and definitely sluggish.  Full stop!  That’s the hard truth and you have to question yourself, is your nutrition in line with what you want to achieve in and out of the gym?  Does it get closer to your goals?

We tend to complicate nutrition.  We spend hundreds of dollars on nutrition programs to get us back on track.  Don’t get me wrong, nutrition experts can help, but they will most likely say the things that you already know.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot out-train a shitty diet.  Training is stress to your body physically, mentally and emotionally.  If you want to progress with your training, avoid plateaus and improve your performance with minimal risk of injuries, then you have to view nutrition as fuel to help you with this.  Your nutrition have to fit with your training and goals.  There is no point working hard towards your goals in the gym and eating crap to undo everything that you work hard for.  Stop complicating things!  Cleaning up your nutrition is not rocket science.  Stop drinking and eating food that makes you feel crappy.  If it doesn’t help you get closer to your goals, they it shouldn’t be in your gut.

4. EMBRACE RECOVERY DAYS OUTSIDE OF THE GYM

Growth happens outside of the gym.  The training you put into each session creates stimulus for your body to change.  The change itself (fat loss, muscle gains, strength) takes place outside of the training environment, when you’re not training.  It happens when you’re recovering.  How quickly is the recovery?  Well, it depends on a number of factors including your nutrition, sleep, stress, age and injuries just to name a few.  You may have heard of ‘overtraining’, some says too much training  is not good.  The truth is, overtraining is not the problem.  The problem is ‘under-recovering’.  If you want to achieve your goals, you’d do what ever it takes, and that includes taking your recovery days seriously.  Get a massage, walk around the block, swim, this is all part of recovery.

5. LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR!

To get stronger you need to overload your system, and this can be in a form of lifting heavier and with higher intensity.  However, we need to understand and respect that intensity comes with time.  Time working with very good form.  You can be lifting for 10 years with poor form, increasing the intensity over 10 years and still wondering why you’re always injured and not getting great results.

There is nothing wrong with going heavy, with high intensity.  Work hard, but workout smart.  Your safety is always going to be a priority.  Be smart about how you approach your intensity and ask yourself…are you placing your body in a position where it is safe, stable and can work through the session without compensating your body towards injuries?  Or, are you trying to show everyone how strong and heavy you can lift with poor form?  What’s important? You know the answer 🙂

We only have one body, nope we cannot replace it.  But you can upgrade it with smarter approach to your training.  It’s not your physio or your coaches’ job to keep you fit and healthy for life.  And your friends and family’s is probably getting tired of you whinging about your sore back and knees.

Injuries do happen, we cannot control everything.  Our goal is to train with intent, and the intent is not to get yourself injured.  If we do, it will be minor compared to what could happen.  So, train wisely so that you can continue training with minimal pain.