Exercising has virtually endless benefits. It has the ability to strengthen our bodies, improve quality of life, heighten endorphins, provide enjoyment and so much more. On the flip side, exercising also has the potential to cause injury to our bodies if not done properly. There are obvious ways to prevent injuries, such as avoiding lifting weights when you can’t maintain the proper form. However, there are also some not-so-obvious ways to avoid injuring yourself during exercise. Here are our top three:
Warm up the movement pattern: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but warm-ups can go a long way in warding off injuries. Before you jump into any weighted or heavy resistance exercise, it’s important to warm up the movement pattern with body-weight and lighter-weight movements.
Warming up the movement pattern achieves a few things. For starters, it’s a great indication if there are any hidden aches and pains going on within your body. It’s better to find out while you’re warming up than when you’re doing a heavy movement. Warming up the movement pattern also gently prepares your body for performing the exercise. That way, when you go to do your main set, you won’t shock your body with the weight, leaving your body open to a potential injury.
Mix up your grip: Mixing up the grips on various exercises can help prevent potential injuries through repetitive motions. Any time you do a motion over and over, you become susceptible to overuse injuries such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow and other forms of tendinitis.
An easy way to avoid these types of injuries is to make simple changes to the movement. Instead of changing the entire exercise, you can make a simple change, like going from a wide grip (elbows out) to a narrow grip (neutral) with exercises such as bench rows, cable rows and band rows. Another example would be to mix in underhand lat pull-downs instead of a standard lat pull-down.
Cross-training: It’s not uncommon for endurance athletes like runners to get injured. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but one reason that most don’t think about is a lack of cross-training. We walk and move all day in the same plane of motion, but running adds to that movement. It’s easy for ours bodies to become worn down from the overuse of this movement day after day. Weight training, moving in different planes (laterally, transverse), biking, swimming or performing any other exercise that is different from the routine can help you avoid injury from overuse and repetitive motions.
Jason DeHenzel has trained some of New York’s most prestigious clients, including high-profile lawyers, advertising executives, movie producers and musicians. Sophie DeHenzel is a Pn1-certified nutritionist and former downhill ski racer. The pair founded DeHenzel Training Systems, a 2015 Home-Based Business of the Year from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. DeHenzel Training Systems develops customized fitness plans for clients of different abilities, experience and commitment. Find out more at dtsnova.com.