No one likes injuries. It’s probably one of the worst things to get injured especially after putting in time to any program and staying consistent on it. Injuries are the one thing that can pose as a road block to continued progress in the gym.
You may not be sure why you got injured in the first place or maybe why your old injury keeps resurfacing. In my experience as a coach, these are the most common gym injuries that I have seen in people.
1. Your program is not well balanced
I’ve seen it hundreds of times but people tend to get injured when their hitting the same muscle groups over and over again and in the process shortening other ones. When we work consistently in one muscle group, chances are the body, which already has asymmetries, will become more unbalanced. It’s so important to make sure you are working all muscle groups despite what your goals are.
Example: you're working on a buff chest for the beach; but what about your back? If we consistently train one muscle group, the chances of getting hurt become a lot greater.
2. Your warm ups are not effective
I’ve been guilty of it and it’s how I learned the hard way. Running for 5 minutes or reaching over to touch your toes to “warm up” just won’t cut it. It should take you at least 10-15 minutes to properly warm up the body and to get your nervous system ready to train. This means incorporating a series of dynamic warm up stretches which ultimately should mimic the exercises you are going to do. I understand you are pressed for time- we all are. But getting those 10-15 minutes of warm up time before your actual lifts start are important for keeping injuries out of your future and preventing old ones from coming back. This includes mobility drills, band work and breathing techniques.
3. You’re form is crap
Do me a favor, when you walk into a gym, check your ego at the door. I see it way too much especially with men. It’s OK to not be sure how to do something correctly. You can’t be a master of everything and most people are not personal trainer or coaches.
If you are lifting serious weight you MUST be sure your form is on point. If that means hiring a coach, even if it's temporary, or working out with someone who has a bit more experience than you. If you are going for a PR in a squat and your knees are coming way too far forward or there is serious rounding in your spine during your deadlift, you won’t maybe get injured, you eventually will get injured. Do yourself the favor and make sure your form is correct.
4. You are over-training
Ah yet another one I had to learn the hard way. Taking rest and allowing yourself to fully recover is apart of the process. Working out everyday can be good. But it doesn't need to be exhausting and neurologically taxing on the body every single day.
You shouldn't be doing excessive amounts of cardio a week on top of your strength training program. Cardio may mean to go for a walk one day or (gasp) take off another day from the gym entirely because you don't quite feel fully recovered yet. I’ve learned over the years listening to the body is one way to prevent injuries from coming on. We get so wrapped up in sticking to the program and having the feeling or urge to train everyday because we think it is the only way to get results. Well, this is just not true.
When we overtrain, we don’t give the body the chance to fully recover which often than not leads to breakdown and injury in the body. In fact, no matter how hard you train, you may stop seeing results completely, which is a tell-tale sign of overtraining. Rest and recovery is apart of getting the results we want. We shouldn't neglect this aspect of training and we all need to learn how to slow down and take the time to listen to our bodies. Fitness is a long journey and we only get one body. Taking some R&R time is a sure way to prevent injuries from coming on.