5 Ways to Avoid Injury While Working Out

5 Ways to Avoid Injury While Working Out

As a certified athletic trainer, I work with injured athletes all day. The most common question after an injury is: Why did I get injured? While sometimes it may just be back luck, other times there are much more telling signs than “just a bad day”. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro let’s go over ways to avoid injury while working out. Look out for future posts on how to actually prevent specific injuries!

1. Start low and slow

Whether you’re just starting a fitness routine or are a regular in the gym it’s always best to start any new workout with a light weight and proper form. If you can, try to perform your exercises in front of a mirror. 1. It’s motivating and 2. It can keep you accountable on your form. If you’re back squatting and you start to see your knees buckling in or back arch–drop the weight immediately. I promise, it’s for your own good. Crank out a few sets of air squats or goblet squats. Ensure the movement is starting with your hips. Hinge back. Squat down. Keep your chest up. Knees out. Push back up with your heels. And repeat. Once you get comfortable and demonstrate good form, you can start to play with weight and speed.

2. Listen to your body

In a perfect world I would work out every day. My mind would love it. My body, however, is definitely not made for that. Not only do I need scheduled rest days, but there are times where I skip out on a planned workout because I’m still recovering from the last session. It’s okay to skip a day if your body needs it. You’ll only come back ready to go hard on the next one.

Let’s say, however, you said “eff it” and decided to workout anyway. What’s that–a twinge in your a hamstring? Zing in your back? Crunch in your shoulder? Stop. Put down the weight. Grab your keys. Get in the car. And go home

I’ll let you in on a secret: testing out a injury never ends with “and then I was fine”. Your body gave you a sign–listen to it!

So many injuries, especially overuse injuries, can be managed or completely avoided if you keep your workload within your current threshold. Be smart. If you’ve reached the point of no return please see the appropriate healthcare professional. In the end, stay in tune with your body so you can perform your best each day.

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3. Mix up the routine and add in accessory muscle exercises

To avoid an overuse injury mix in some accessory muscle exercises. Each joint has muscles that are considered primary movers and secondary movers. It’s important to balance the two to avoid injury because an overactive primary mover can result in an underactive secondary mover and vice versa. This will put stress on both groups and ultimately the shoulder joint will pay for it–think tendonitis, arthritis, and other structural injuries.

Let’s use For the shoulder try added in Y’s T’s and I’s at a relatively easy weight (think 2.5lbs-7.5lbs) for about 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps. Why the light weight? Your rotator cuff muscles decrease in activation the higher the weight you use. This has been proven in scientific literature with EMG studies. Stick to only heavy weights for the shoulders and you’re overuse your upper traps and biceps in no time. And you know what that leads to? Injury. No one looks cool doing these however they can save you from rotator cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis, labral tears, and overall help increase your shoulder stability.

4. Keep mental stress in check

As mentioned above, it’s imperative to listen to your body before jumping into a tough workout. It’s important too to mention mental stress. Mental stress directly impacts your muscle’s ability to recovery. Mental and physical stress both release cortisol. If you’re placing a high physical load on top of high mental stress your body takes twice as long to recover properly. Of course, working out can help keep stress at bay, but when you’re really going through it focus on light workouts to help clear your mind without spiking your cortisol levels.

There are times where I’m mentally burned out from work, struggling with relationships, or panicking over how long it’s going to take me to pay off my student loans.  We all have those personal triggers in our life. When it feels like you’re drowning, opt for a meditation session, yoga flow, or a nice nature hike. Your body, and mind, will thank you.

5. Ask for help

Take the necessary precautions when you’re lifting and ask for a spotter. Don’t have a gym buddy? That’s okay! This is a great way to meet one. If you see yourself doing the same exercise as someone else, or if your gym has a personal trainer staff don’t be shy to ask for help. Personally, I need help every time I try to re-rack a pre-weighted barbell. I can always get it off by myself but there’s no chance I can lift 80lbs above my waist. Not today at least. You won’t see me trying to break my back to do it either. Grab someone close and guarantee you more often than not they will help–just be sure to return to favor!

 

20 Fitness Motivational Quotes to Fuel Your Next Workout

20 Fitness Motivational Quotes to Fuel Your Next Workout

We all need a little motivation some times. One of my favorite ways to set the tone for the week is to include a motivational quote in my workout plans. I am 100% a planner. I sit down every Sunday and write out my workouts either by hand in a journal or in the notes section on my phone. This way each time I look up what I’m doing each day I read the quote to put a fire under my butt.

1. I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t. -Neila Rey

2. Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.

3. You did not wake up today to be mediocre

4. Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently.

5. Everyone must chose one of two pains: the pain of discplnie or the pain of regret

6. Fall in love with taking care of your body.

7. Be Patient with yourself as you evolve. Small, healthy choices make a big difference in the long run.

8. When you feel like quitting remember why you started

9. Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable

10. It’s never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest you.

11. Don’t decrease the goal–increase the effort.

12. The body achieves what the mind believes

13. The difference between who you are and who youwant to be is what you do.

14. Don’t wish for it work for it.

15. Be stronger than you excuses.

16. You have a choice. You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the seat off your face.

17. Every journey begins with a single step.

18. You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.

19. Push yourself because no else is going to do it for you

20. If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it.

21. Set goals that make you want to jump out of bed in the morning.

22. I haven’t come this far to only come this far

23. If you want something you never had you have to do something you’ve never done

24. Once you learn to fall in love with the process you will feel happy no matter the outcome

25. It is a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable.

Check out my Hella Motivated Pinterest board if you need any extra motivation!

3 Best Exercises You Need Do to Build a Booty Fast

3 Best Exercises You Need Do to Build a Booty Fast

Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the God of the Glutes: Brett Contreras. Yes–he’s that good. Contreras (or the Glute Guy as he calls himself) is known world-wide not only by his ability to transform pancake booties but also by his ground-breaking research in the sports-science realm. It’s safe to say his approach to booty building is heavily supported in scientific literature and has shown his faithful followers some incredible results. I highly recommend visiting Contrera’s website for more info on all things sports science as well as, Stijn van Willigen, who outlined the info in this article as well.

For the glutes, there are a wide range of exercises to choose from. Contreras himself preaches “The Same But Different” philosophy: focus on the fundamental exercises types, be smart about exercise selection, and your booty will grow.

Now, let’s get in to the 3 types of exercises you need to do to build-a-booty:

  • Stretchers (E.G. the squat)
    • Moderate muscle activation
    • Large range of motion
    • Large Eccentric Contraction
    • Need about 3-4 days of recovery

Stretchers are HARD. Think squats and deadlifts: your glutes go from a relatively shortened position (standing) to end range of motion, where the glutes are under high muscle tension . These types of exercises do a good job at recruiting the glutes but load a lot of stress on the muscle, and as a result, require more time between exercise frequency.

  • Activators (E.G. the hip trust)
    • Excellent muscle activation
    • Moderate range of motion
    • Moderate Eccentric Contraction
    • Need about 1-2 days of recovery

Activators are the bread and butter of any good booty building program. They cause less muscle break down the the Stretchers, but still are excellent for the growing glutes beacuse of the high level of muscle activation

  • Pumpers (E.G. lateral band walk)
    • Low to average glute activation
    • Small range of motion
    • Small focus on eccentric contraction
    • Need about 1-2 days of recovery

Pumpers are great as they generally require less recovery time. Their activation is also low, but are able to be done more frequently to help you get those glute gains.

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Now that we’ve gone over the 3 different exercise types and how much recovery time they need, let’s go over actual example exercises. The following chart, originally posted by Stijn van Willigen, gives examples of each type of exercises:

 

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Lastly, let’s go over programming. Your workout program should align with your goals, so it’s impossible to get a “one size fits all” program. Some people will respond better to more pumpers and some by more activators. It’s all about strategic trial and error. For me, I can train glutes up to 4x/week and see continual progress. Others may need to train 2x or 6x/week. In the end, you need to do what your body responds to the best. By using the above info as a guideline you can incorporate a better strategy to building a better booty fast.

Here’s an example of my favorite way to train glutes:

  1. Pick a “Frontal Abduction” and “Transverse Abduction” exercise and do 2 sets 10-20 reps
  2. Pick a quad dominant “Head Driver” exercise and do 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  3. Pick a hip dominant “Head Driver” exercise and do 3 sets of 6-10 reps
  4. Pick a “Hip Driver” and do 3 sets of 10-20 reps

The Workout:

  • Banded Side-lying Clams 2×15
  • Lunges 3×10
  • Romanian Deadlift 3×8
  • Barebell Hip Thrust 3×15

 

Want to read more? Find the full article on Bret Contreras’ website here.