Do you know what you are doing to injure yourself? Injuries rarely just “happen”–they’re usually caused by actions or inactions on your part. Here are a few of the things that you’re doing (or not doing) that are increasing your risk of injuries:
Doing Uneven Workouts
Do you spend most of your time on either your lower or upper body? Do you neglect your core, or a specific muscle group? If you give your body an uneven workout, you’re promoting the development of uneven musculature. Your body needs an even muscle tone in order to stay healthy!
Taking it Too Fast
You may think you’re ready to take on more advanced movements, but are you really? Have you been training long enough to develop the proper form and posture for the movement? You need at least a year of solid working out before you move on to the more advanced multi-joint movements.
Ignoring the Pains
Pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong. There are some small pains you can ignore, such as a minor ache or stiffness in your muscles and joints. Smaller pains don’t have to stop you from working out, but you should keep them in mind as you lift and train. If you’re not careful, they can develop into a much more serious problem.
Focusing on the “Vanity” Muscles
Yes, it’s always nice to see rounded shoulders, a broad chest, thick quads, and solid arms when staring in the mirror, but you can’t focus ONLY on those muscles. You need to pay attention to the muscles you can’t see: your lower back, your hamstrings, your calves, your forearms, your glutes, etc. Once again, it’s all about even musculature!
Training Without Recovery
If you push your body hard, it needs time to rest and repair itself. The more intense the workout, the longer the recovery time! Each muscle needs at least 48 hours of rest between workouts–up to 72 if you’re lifting very heavy. A lack of recovery time can not only increase your risk of injury, but it will reduce muscle mass and strength gains.
Prioritizing Weight Over Form
We all want to feel like we’re making progress. Aside from the visual appeal, the only way to know that we’re making progress is to see the amount of weight we lift increase. But are you focusing so much on that “progress” that you’ve begun to lift too much weight? Many people add weight before they’re ready, and that affects their form. If you get sloppy, you could end up injuring yourself–all because you added a bit too much weight.
Competing with Others
Your time at the gym should be spent focusing on YOU and YOUR training. Sure, other people may lift more weight or do more exercises, but so what? It’s not a competition! Focus on what you need to do to get strong or lose weight, and let everyone else do their thing. Trying to compete with others will push you to do foolish things–potentially leading to injuries!
Neglecting Your Core
Your core muscles–your glutes, abs, sides, and back–are not as strong as some of the other, larger muscle groups. If you don’t train them properly, you could end up suffering serious spinal injuries. Pay attention to your core muscles!
Failing to Warm Up
Rushing into a workout without warming up is plain stupid! Warm-ups will increase your range of motion, helping you to perform the exercise properly without straining connective tissue or joints. They will also prevent pulled or strained muscles. ALWAYS warm up before working out!