The 9 Most Common Causes For A Gym Injury!
Working out at the gym is not easy! It is intense and if performed properly you can create a fine line between muscle growth and injuries. If you work out intense (the workout which stimulates muscle growth), then you are potentially assisting some kind of injury if overexerted. Pushing yourself into the “danger zone” is where muscle growth is.
“The fastest way” to slow down your progress and potentially end your achievement in exercise is by causing an injury to your own body! It is necessary to be cautious so you prevent injuries before they occur.
Here are the 10 most common causes of a resulting injury in the gym:
1. Using bad form when performing an exercise
This is probably the most common cause of injuries, it is related to an improper execution and technique of an exercise. Improper technique can stretch or tear a muscle or even damage the delicate connective tissues.
Each body part has its own specific biomechanical directions. Arms, legs, hips, hands and feet can all rotate in certain and unwanted directions, especially if you load them with weights. If you want to become a perfectionist in performing exercises then follow the proper execution of any particular exercise, this needs to be done without moving, jerking or rotating whilst pushing the weight. Either perform the repetition with a proper technique or you will miss the benefits of it and increase the chance of an injury. If you feel this is an occurrence then lower the weight and practice your technique until confidence has built.
2. Using too much weight (sometimes known as – ego lifting)
Using a weight that is too heavy can be a major risk to you. But when is it too much?
– When you can’t control the weight whilst executing a movement and lose control whilst putting the weight down.
– When you can’t perform movements within your biomechanical capabilities.
Weight is subordinate to the laws of gravity, it is always “seeking” the floor. Everything in its path (or hooked on to it) is in danger. If you cannot control this then you are going against the law of gravity and endangering your body.
3. Improper help from your training partner
As the weights you lift increase, you will come to a point where you need a training partner or assistance for some of the exercises, for example: bench press and squats. When your workouts become really intense, you’ll need assistants with experience. A good spotter should follow what is happening during the whole set, from the beginning of set up until its very end. The spotter also only needs to “touch” the bar at the moment you need help, this should be enough for you to finish the repetition. A good training partner or assistant should be of strength to withstand the weight being executed, have a knowledge of when and how to help but also be serious and focused to you and your movements.
4. Improper use of “cheat reps & forced reps”
Cheat reps and forced reps are an advanced training techniques that allow you to work beyond your normal ability, through already achieved muscle, you literally force your muscles to grow further than usual. Improper use of these techniques can be a potential danger for both the trainee and the spotter.
Cheating, by definition, is dangerous. Every time you use a momentum to accelerate the movement of a repetition (something that allows you to lift more weight than you would when performed with a proper technique), you risk injury.
5. Lifting too often
This negatively affects the level of strength and condition of the body. Over training is associated with a deficit of energy. You can not grow if you are over training all the time. Over training is also related to the ability of the muscles and the central nervous system to fully recover – ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy in muscle cells) and glycogen reserves are significantly worn when you are in this phase. In this state, it is not surprising that athletes get injured, especially when trying to lift heavy weights. The solution is to reduce the intensity during the next 3-4 training sessions and the workout shouldn’t last more than 1 hour. Your muscles need to recover and so do you as it is not just your muscles, your mind set needs a rest to so you do not make mistakes!
6. Not stretching
Stretching is different than warming up. When properly performed, stretching helps to relax the muscles before and after training. As a result of stretching and warming up, the muscle is “heated” and ready – the stage where it is most resistant to injuries. Also, if you properly perform a specified stretch of the muscles after the workout, you can speed recovery and reduce fatigue the next day.
7. Improper warming up
Warming up is commonly performed with lightweight, higher reps, low intensity and performed quickly to stimulate blood flow through the muscles. These quick, easy repetitions raise the temperature of the muscles, reduce blood viscosity and increase the flexibility and mobility. We know that a heated muscle is more flexible than a cold, rigid muscle. A static bicycle, running or an elliptical machine combined with light repetitions are recommended as a form of warming up.
Start with 5-10 minutes of cardio before stretching. If you choose an easy warm up with high repetitions, try with 15-25 easy quick reps successively without interruption on the following exercises – squats, extensions, push-ups, curls and bench with bar/dumbbells. Do the sets with no rest in between. This can be done in a few minutes and it generally prepares your whole body for the upcoming heavy phase.
8. Negative repetitions
Negative reps are one of the most difficult and dangerous training techniques – but also very effective in stimulating muscle growth. You may not know this, but a lifter is much stronger whilst doing the eccentric part of a lift. This means that, in order to feel the full benefits of negative reps you’ll have to load the bar 15-20% more than when you do a normal set. Of course, heavier weight means increased risk of tears and sprains, so always be comfortable, knowledgeable and have protective attire if needed, like straps and belts.
9. Lack of concentration
Fatigue, lack of recovery or any distractions will cause injury. Watch a professional athlete or a bodybuilder lifting, and you’ll notice their intense levels of concentration. This characteristic develops over time where the athlete systematically develops mental readiness to focus on the tasks during a given period. We are no different and i fact should be more vigilant as our knowledge is still of a newbie even after years of training. More concentration means handling more weight and control with technique. More controlled weight means more muscle. But, more weight can lead to injuries if you are not careful. Exercise intensively, but more importantly – listen to your body!