Happy 2019! The new year is upon us, and with it, everyone’s favorite New Year’s Resolution. The two most common resolutions are to exercise more and to lose weight. This results in most americans hitting the gym pretty hard in the beginning of the year. For those of us who don’t typically go to the gym, there are certain dangers you may not be aware of. These range from unfamiliar equipment, improper and unsafe equipment usage, to sweaty, slippery surfaces.
The fastest and easiest way to end your career in exercise or sports is by causing an injury to your own body. Gym related injuries happen all of the time and it is important to know about personal injury law and what the most common injuries are and how they happen so you know what you can do to avoid in injuries in the first place. Here are the 10 most common causes of injury in the gym and how they happen:
Using bad form when performing an exercise
This is perhaps the most common reason for injuries at the gym, and it is connected to improper form and execution of exercises. Improper technique can damage muscles and tendons and tissue in the body. Each body has its specific biomechanical directions. Arms, legs, hips, hands and feet can rotate in certain (unwanted) directions, especially if you load them with weights. Strive to become a perfectionist in performing exercises and follow the proper execution of a particular exercise – without moving, jerking or rotating while pushing the weight. You must perform the repetition and particular workout routine with a proper technique or you will not get the benefits of it and worse of all, you will really increase the chance of an injury.
Using too much weight (a.k.a – ego lifting)
One of the biggest risks at the gym tends to revolve around men but women can fall victim to it as well- ego lifting and using too much weight during weight lifting sessions. Using a weight that is much too heavy can cause major problems and can have potential risk to you. The key is knowing when is it too much:
- When you can’t control the weight while putting it down;
- When you can’t perform movements within your biomechanical capabilities;
Remember any weight you lift wants to come back down and will come down under the force of gravity. And if you cannot control it then everything in its path (or hooked on to it) is in danger.
Improper help from your training partner
As you get better with your workouts and your endurance and strength builds you will be able to lift more and you will need to lift more in order to keep pushing yourself an improving your performance. And when your workouts get really intense, you’ll need assistants with experience. It is absolutely important to make sure you can trust and truly on your training partner and spotter during your workouts. A good spotter should follow what happens during the whole set, until its very end. The spotter also only needs to “touch” the bar at the moment you need help, which will be enough for you to finish the repetition. A good training partner or assistant should be strong, have a sense of when and how to help and be serious and focused on the sets you do.
Improper use of “cheat reps & forced reps”
Cheat reps and forced reps are just some of the more advanced training technique that let you keep pushing past normal levels of endurance and physical ability. It is a place in your workout where you literally push your muscles to grow. Improper use of these techniques have dangerous and devastating consequences for both you and your spotter. Cheating, by definition, is dangerous. Because it means you have to use a momentum to accelerate the movement of a repetition and to get through it. So, swinging weights and using the momentum of the weights to get them in place rather than your own physical strength is an example of this. Situations like these can be very dangerous as it is very easy to lose control.
Lifting too often
“You can’t grow if you are overtraining all the time. Overtraining is also related to the ability of the muscles and the central nervous system to fully recover – ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy in muscle cells) and glycogen reserves are significantly worn when you are in this phase. In this state, it is not surprising that athletes get injured, especially when trying to lift heavy weights. The solution is to reduce the intensity during the next 3-4 training sessions and the workout shouldn’t last more than 1 hour. Many weight lifters and workout enthusiasts fail to remember this or simply do not know it is true. Our bodies have to have periods of rest and recovery in order to grow. Healing and rest periods are essential to having a good weekly workout routine and in the long tun will help you get more results and even better results!
Not stretching and warming up
Stretching helps loosen muscles and ensures you are not stiff heading into a workout. Warming up is a way to get your body jump started and ready for the intense workout ahead. Think of stretching as like the pre-drive inspection of a car where you make sure all your muscles are in good order and nothing is injured. Think of the warm up as letting the engine run a few minutes before stepping on the gas and heading out to the race track. Both stretching and warm ups are essential to a safe and effective workout.
Not listening to your body
The final common mistake people make at the gym that can lead to an injury is simply not listening to their bodies. Our bodies are wonderful working machines that are designed to keep everything in balance. When something is wrong, your body will let you know. But far too often we have the idea of “no pain no gain” and while this is true for some aspects of a workout, if you are experiencing constant or severe pain you need to listen to your body. Stop and re-evaluate your workout and make sure you are not doing something that could injure you. You will be much better off for it in the long run.