There have been countless cases where few small injuries have made a huge impact on the life of individuals specially in the field of sports. No matter which sport you belong to, Injuries are a part of sports as well as life and without them we do not grow stronger and better, but there are times and events when injuries can cause tremendous discomfort in routine, day to day movements and workout. The injuries and the resultant stiffness & impingement disturbs a lot of natural movement patterns causing even further pain while execution of any exercise.
A large number of population which is indulged in weight training or resistance training for their fitness goals always find it questionable, whether to perform few exercises for desired outcome or what is safe to do in gym? and what all can keep them away from getting injured?
Here are few preventive measures to help you with better stability and performance and also to refrain yourself from getting hurt.
- Start with a good warm-up.
Always initiate your workout with a good warm up, take as much time as you feel is required in order to do a proper warm up, Incorporate proper stretching routine prior the workout i.e. Dynamic stretching, which means your body is still continuously moving, even while stretching. The purpose of warming up is to prepare your muscles because it’s necessary to increase the muscles core temperature prior the workout for a better stability and proper muscle recruitment and dynamic stretching can accomplish this.
A warm up cardio for not more than 10 mins is another good option. To prepare your cardiovascular muscles in order to improve the breathing techniques while performing the compound lifts.
- Neutral spine is the key.
Keeping spine neutral is the next most important thing to keep a check on while training in gym, despite of the type of workout you are following or the exercise you are doing, neutral spinal position should always be emphasized whenever necessary.
Neutral spinal position means maintaining the spine’s natural structure while performing the lifts. The position of the spine will change relative to the execution of the lift and direction of gravity. But maintaining the rigidity of the spine starting from thoracic spine is a best way to go for the lifts.
Remember your head and spine are perhaps the two most important parts to protect while executing the lift.
- Role of heels in strength training.
This is a common aspect of strength training which is very often being overlooked by the majority of the population and has proven to be one such tool to prevent injuries.
It’s always important to drill the heels in the ground whenever trying to initiate with the concentric movement (pushing the weight away from the gravity) of any lift (mostly compound) doing this helps the support system of the body to maintain a proper form and driving the force from the ground resulting in execution of a clean lift ,also it helps recruiting the larger more protective muscles of the hips and takes stress of the knees
However it’s not intelligent to put all the stress over heels while lifting up the toes off the ground, but a 60:40 split between the front heel and the balls of your feet works well.
- Spotting partner is important.
Always look for a spotting partner whenever you are trying to lift heavy or more then your capacitative lifts. Its crucial to have assured safety before you attempt your PR’s (personal records) or any where near your PR, because a sudden failure of CNS while performing the lifts can cause brutal injuries and even death.
Because our body has an intelligent security mechanism which is controlled by the CNS in order to protect the joints and ligaments, whenever it senses any risk factor the neuromuscular system controls the amount and kind of movement occurring to the joint and is solely responsible for the protection of the joints and a sudden failure can take associated risks to another level.
And yes, the spotter should be capable enough to control the weight if required.
- Positioning of Barbell.
Whenever there is a debate on compound lifts for intermediate or advanced lifters, the positioning of the barbell is always being highlighted among the lifts, like for squats which is a better placement over traps a high bar placement or a low bar placement, similarly the width of the grip in the bench press and also deadlifts are often being confused and performed incorrect.
Majority of the population who are unaware of the injuries often tend to grip far too wide while performing a bench press which results in poor shoulder and pectoral engagements and muscle fiber recruitment as a result this often ruin their shoulders.
Just by not gripping far too wide, keeping the elbows in for around 45 degree angles to your torso and placing the load of the barbell on the shaft of the palm actually allows you to lift with even more power and smoothness and also can keep you away from injuries.
Similarly just by welding (fixing) the barbell on its position on the traps while squatting or gripping the bar from wrist to shoulder as hook for deadlifts can actually prevent injuries and make lifts convenient.
- Safety with the gears.
Owing safety gears like Belts, Knee wraps, supporters, elbow wraps, gum shields, lifting shoes and wrist wraps etc are always an add on & necessary to keep you away from the injuries can be caused by excessive load or improper form and technique. So, it’s very important to keep the safety measures at first whenever you shoot for Strength/Resistance training or and other power or Olympic lifts.
No matter which tier you belong to whether an advance, a beginner or an elite, your safety comes first.
Author credits : Rishi Manuja