How to Protect Yourself from Exercise and Training Injuries


Sprains, strains, and injuries are a common part of athletics and exercise. Though common, they do not need to be a regular part of the same. By that, we mean sprains, strains, and injuries should occur rarely. If you commonly experience such issues, then your exercise or training program likely needs modification. What is a sprain or strain? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/sprains_strains/sprains_and_strains_ff.asp#e), "a sprain is an injury to a ligament (tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint). In a sprain, one or more ligaments is stretched or torn." The NIH goes on to say "a strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone). In a strain, a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn." What is an injury? The definition of an injury is harder to state because injuries take many forms. (For more information relating to the difficulties of defining injuries read http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1730061/pdf/v010p00069.pdf). For the intent of this blog, we at Nathan DeMetz Personal Training and DeMetz Online Personal Training consider an injury to be anything that has causation and results in limited physical ability, thereby impacting a person's capacity to perform physical tasks. This definition is broad and can encompass severe sprains and strains, torn MCLs, and broken bones, among other injuries. How do you avoid injuries? Safety first is a mantra from us. Keeping safety first in mind at all times is the first step to avoiding injuries. What does safety first mean? It means avoiding doing things that put the body at undue risk of harm. This idea includes using poor form, too much weight, or letting ego dictate a workout.

Poor Form Exercise form is one of the top concerns we have with face-to-face clients and online personal training clients. If a person utilizes poor form, he or she puts himself or herself at greater risk of injury. How poor form puts a body at risk varies by the movement. Commonly poor form puts a joint, muscle, tendon, ligament, or all of the above into an awkward position upon which weight is placed, heightening the risk of pulling said tissues and joints out of safe range of motion resulting in a pull, break, or another injury. Consider the squat for a moment. When squatting, a person should keep the bar above the ankles through the entire range of motion. If a person allows the bar to travel forward of the ankles due to excessive forward lean of the body, this causes extension on the posterior chain, notably the lower back. With load, this extension can lead to a pulled muscle. There are many other examples aside from the squat, but the same idea holds true with each movement—use good form or risk an injury.

Too Much Weight Using too much weight is something that puts someone at risk too, primarily for the same reason as poor form. If a person loads up too much weight, even with good form, he or she puts too much stress on the tissues of the body. This excessive strain can cause tissues to tear or break, resulting in an injury. That might seem simplistic, but it is nevertheless true.

The Ego Monster Ego is another cause of injury. Ego can cause a person to use too much weight or result in him or her using bad form, but ego rears its ugly head in other places as well. For example, a person running on the treadmill might want to outdo the person next to him or her, turn the speed up too high, and slip off the treadmill as a result. This fall can cause a twisted ankle, bruised shins, or even a broken bone. In that same line of thought, a person's ego may cause them to set up a box jump that is too high. They attempt the jump, miss, and fall to the ground. Like the fall from the run, this can lead to twisted ankle, bruised shins, or even a broken bone.

The Take-away There are many other examples of ego, poor lifting form, and loading too much weight, or other issues, leading to an injury that we could provide. However, there is no need to. If you don't understand by now, you won't be enlightened if we go on. Simply put, always remember to train or exercise safely. Use good form, select appropriate weight, and check the ego. By doing so, you will be able to exercise or train safer for longer periods, which will provide you with greater results. If you have questions about this or anything, or if you are interested in online personal training or face-to-face personal training, you can reach out to us on demetzonlinepersonaltraining.com, or on our social media pages, such as Facebook.

Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

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