Most people are well aware of the benefits of exercise, but many people start a fitness program, only to have it interrupted by a sidelining injury. The nuances of injury prevention are often less obvious to exercise novices, but if you follow these guidelines, your workouts will be safe, efficient and effective.
Execute Proper Form
Precise, controlled and fluid movements produce better results than those performed in a sloppy, haphazard manner. Every exercise has two phases; the concentric phase and the eccentric phase. During the concentric phase, the muscle shortens as it contracts. During the eccentric phase, which usually occurs in the return movement, the muscle lengthens. It’s important to use control during both phases of the exercise. In other words, don’t just lift the weights and drop them down. Control the return movement, and reap the power-building benefits of eccentric training.
Use Proper Settings on the Equipment
Most machines can be adjusted according to your height, leg length or torso length and muscle group you wish to target. If the machine is in an incorrect position, the exercise may cause joint strain, which over time, will lead to injury. Adjusting the machines and benches can be a tricky process. Our qualified Exercise Physiologists and personal trainers can help you find the best settings for your body type.
Postural Faux Pas
Faulty postural alignment during exercise makes you susceptible to a variety of injuries. When performing standing exercises, keep your knees unlocked and your pelvis and neck in a neutral position. Your knees should be in alignment with your ankles, and your ears aligned with your shoulders. Some people, especially gymnasts or “old school” ballerinas have a tendency to jut their ribs forwards. This creates stress on the lower back. Our Exercise Physiologists and personal trainers will assess your posture, and help you maintain alignment while you perform the exercises.
Engage Your Core
You’ve probably noticed that just about every one of our articles mentions something about core muscle engagement. That’s because it’s extremely important. Core muscle activation protects your lower back, maintains your postural alignment and helps you keep your balance. If you’ve never truly engaged your core, our Exercise Physiologists and personal trainers can show you how.
Use the Correct Sequence
When training with weights, always perform large muscle group exercises prior to performing those that work the smaller muscles. For example, on an overhead press, the deltoids are the primary muscle group. The triceps, one of the weakest muscle groups in the body, assist the movement. If you perform a triceps dip prior to the overhead press, you’ve fatigued the assisting muscle group, which will require the deltoids to engage other muscle groups, such as the muscles around the neck. This can result in injury. Our Exercise Physiologists and trainers can help you design a functional sequence for your workouts.
Perform a Balanced Workout
Think of muscles as a corporation. If one person overworks, the others feel that they don’t need to participate. They become lazy and apathetic, whereas the overachievers suffer from burnout. The same thing happens in your body. If you overwork some muscle groups, they burnout and suffer injuries. The under worked muscles become lazy, and eventually atrophy. People often perform more chest exercises than back exercises, more quadriceps exercise than hamstrings and more biceps exercises than triceps. Balancing muscle groups is crucial to injury prevention. And, of course, our Exercise Physiologists and personal trainers can teach you how to balance your workouts!