Do you suffer from recurring niggles?
If the answer is yes give this a read.
I’m going to group injuries into 3 categories:
- Freak accidents
- Poor form
- Inadequate recovery
A freak accident you can do very little about e.g. you’re minding your own business when a disgruntled goat decides to smash into your shins. That’s extremely unlucky as well as unlikely.
When it comes to poor form, it’s on you.
Recommendation #1 – Hire a trainer to go through the basic movement patterns
Without doubt one of the smartest investments you’ll ever make. Developing sound technique early on is an essential precursor to adding the heavier weight on the bar. A trainer can inform you if your benching technique needs work, or your pectoral muscle can inform you by tearing off the bone – it’s up to you.
Recommendation #2 – Leave your ego at the door
You can have the sharpest technique in the world but there’ll come a point where the sheer amount of weight lifted puts your form under scrutiny.
Form WILL break down if you’re pushing yourself – that’s understandable every once in a while. What’s harder to comprehend are those who partake in this level of intensity every set of EVERY SESSION.
I call this approach the ‘Rice Krispies Method’ to training – a matter of time before something goes snap, crackle or pop.
Once form and ego are in check we move to the murkier waters of workout recovery.
Recommendation #3 – Programme efficiently
Write down the number of times you’d like to train every week.
Now cross that out and replace with how many times you’ll actually train.
Let this number guide how you lift.
I’m going to keep it real simple:
1-2 x wk = Full-Body workouts
3-4 x wk = Push-Pull-Full-Body or Upper-Lower-Upper-Lower
If you train 5 x week or more you need to know what you’re doing because recovery between sessions is unavoidably minimal.
If the terms ‘periodisation’ or ‘mesocycle’ mean nothing to you I once again recommend seeking out professional guidance.
Recommendation #4 – Avoid being too rigid, or too flexible (find your own sweet spot Goldilocks)
Having a training plan is a good idea otherwise you end up doing a bunch of random movements every session. It becomes impossible to distinguish what’s working and perhaps more pertinently regarding injury; what’s causing issues.
The other extreme is sticking to the plan religiously ignoring your better judgement e.g. the plan says 3 sets of squats, during the 2nd set you feel a sharp pain in your back, do you proceed with the final set?
Of course not! What sort of buffoon would do that?
More than once.
I hope this will help you avoid a similar fate.
Recommendation #5 – Respect your rest days
A chunk of my client base are exercise freaks – they LOVE the gym. My problem isn’t whether they’ve trained between PT sessions, it’s whether they walk in absolutely broken from previous lifting exploits.
Effective programming should cover training and recovery periods. If you’ve planned a rest day; have a rest day. Downtime is crucial for muscle repair and regrowth.
This point is particularly relevant to those who love exercise so much they just can’t leave it alone. If your physiotherapist bill exceeds your annual gym membership…..YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
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Note: All five of these recommendations are preventative.
Think hard about that.
If you’re always injured the chances are you’re exacerbating the problem.
If you’re reading this, in pain, and the only choice is a reactive measure your first step is identifying the issue (something most people do).
The second step is comprehensively rehabbing under the guidance of a professional (something most people don’t do).
IT’S ON YOU.