The most common workout injuries occur in athletes of all ages and can happen anytime. Bad form, weak muscles, poor posture, faulty equipment, and lack of experience are often the culprit.
Most injuries happen when people get hit or crushed by weights. They may also be caused by improper use of machines. Research shows that treadmills are responsible for more injuries than any other piece of equipment. Here are the 9 most common causes of an injury in the gym!
The best way to stay safe when working out is to know your body and use proper form. The last thing you need is an injury keeping you from training. Here are a few simple ways to avoid the most common workout injuries:
1. Use a Spotter
Whenever you bench or lift heavy weights, have a spotter. Ask a friend or another guy from the gym to assist you. He will make sure you’re using good form and decrease the risks of serious injury.
This will keep you safe and give you the confidence needed to challenge your limits, which will lead to greater training load and strength gains. If you don’t have a spotter when squatting, use clips to secure the plates and set the pins to a height below the lowest point of the bar.
2. Set Boundaries
Constantly checking your phone can keep you distracted and affect your workouts. If you can talk on the phone or send messages while training, then you aren’t working hard enough. This habit may also increase your risk of injuries. Not to mention that you can hurt yourself or run into someone else. If you can’t leave your phone in the locker room, put it on the ground along with your bottle and towel. Focus on your workout and use the phone only in case of emergency.
3. Stay Focused During Cardio
Cardio exercises can be just as dangerous as lifting heavy weights. If you’re not focused, you can lose your balance and slip off the treadmill, trip and fall off the cross trainer, or get injured.
Be smart about your training and concentrate on what you’re doing, whether it’s cardio, crossfit, or weight lifting. To reduce fatigue, try interval training and add new exercises to your routine. This will keep your interest alive and help you stay focused.
4. Pay Attention to Others
Some exercises require a lot of space. If you see someone doing lunges, burpees, or jumping jacks in the gym, get out of his way. Give others plenty of space when walking by.
Try to find a spot of your own and don’t walk between other people and the mirror. Many gym goers are using the mirror to check their form. If you distract their attention, they can get injured.
5. Re-Rack Your Weights Carefully
When you’re done using the weights, put them back on the rack in the right order. Be careful and try not to drop them. Many people pinch their fingers or crush their hands when racking dumbbells.
Improperly placed weights can also fall on someone else’s feet and cause major injuries. Don’t forget to take all the plates off the leg press when you’re done. For your safety, always use the collars.
6. Warm Up Properly
Inadequate warm-up is one of the most common causes of workout injuries. Warming up helps increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare your body for intense training. It also boosts your flexibility and decreases muscle tension.
Even 10 minutes of gentle stretching before cardio or strength training can lower your risk of injury and open up your joints. Failing to warm up can lead to shoulder strains, stiff muscles, back pain, and tissue tears.
7. Choose the Right Exercises
If you’ve had an injury in the past, you’re at higher risk for another one. The affected area is more vulnerable to strains and tears, so it’s important to avoid exercises that can cause injuries in the same place again. Focus on strengthening weak muscles, avoid explosive movements, and increase workout intensity gradually.
If you have bad knees, use light weights when doing squats or leg extensions. In case of shoulder injuries, avoid barbell presses, bench presses, and snatches. Listen to your body and select appropriate exercises to prevent injuries.