The Complete Guide To Bodybuilding Injury Prevention

July 2, 2010 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Ouch!

Injuries are arguably the no.1 cause of why people stop going to the gym. Once you are injured, you usually have to quit your workouts until you are fully recovered. At which point most people quit! That is one of the core elements that I focus on in the unique bodyweight exercise ebook, which will show you ‘in detail’ how to prevent injury when performing many of the exercises included throughout.

But for the purpose of this article, I’ll describe

1) How to go about preventing injury in your workouts
2) How to prevent injury with certain exercises (Especially popular exercises)

#1 Warm Up, Stretch, Warm Down

•    Warm up
•    Stretch
•    Warm down

In that order

Stretching

We all know that it has to be done, yet I see far too many people jump straight into their workouts without warming up and stretching first. You’ve probably done this too. You might escape injury the majority of the time, but it will catch up with you one day and you’ll face injury in a flash.


Why Stretch?

Stretching improves joint range of motion, improves the function of your muscles and improves neuro-muscular control or efficiency.

Flexibility is the range of motion around a specific joint or a set of joints. Every movement you make from daily activities, exercise and sports require your joints to move through a full range of motion. Therefore a lack of flexibility will lead to muscular imbalances and eventually injury.

The stretches

The good thing about stretching is that it can be done anywhere, at home, on the track or at the gym, but it’s important to first understand the principles of warming up and warming down.

Warming Up

Prepares and readies your muscles for exercising and this will prevent injury.

Warming Down

Is what you do after you exercise. Doing this will help your muscles recover and reduce soreness.

#2 Practice Form First By Starting Out With Machine Workouts With Certain Exercises

The Correct Way To Lift

1) Start with lightweights – This will allow you to understand how to lift the weights properly regardless of the exercise.
2) Do the exercise properly – Once you have mastered how to do it, focus on control and execution.
3) Lift at moderate speed – Explosive yes! But not fast and not slow.
4) Increase the weight – Do the above 3, but always aim to increase the weight.

The transition from machine weights to free weights will be a shocker at first, and you may want to have someone ready to spot you for those later reps (They’ll hit you earlier in the set than when pushing machine weights) because machines ‘assisted’ you with part of that weight. So it will be expected.

However,  pushing on machines will have helped you practice correct form and the whole lack of balance while pushing with free weights will improve overtime.

Exercise examples

Machines vs Freeweights

Bench Press


Barbell Squats


Shoulder Press

#3 Injury Prevention Techniques (Also with certain exercises)


Tricep Pull Downs

Stand with your back straight and isolate the movement so that you only move your arms.

The mistake I see some people do make is put their back into it. Literally! They would let the weight rise up and then push their whole body to force it downwards again.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

This would usually happen from trying to lift a weight that you can’t handle. If so, go back to the rules (listed above) of how to lift and how to practice correct form and then lighten the load. Failing to do so will cause injury, pain, heartache… blah, blah, blah. Train insane and train ‘safely’.

Decline Bench Sit Ups

This is one of the exercises that I describe in the bodyweight exercise ebook and is a great exercise (one of my favorites) for building radiator abs. But do take note…

•    Don’t go too far down or too far up on each rep
•    Make sure your back never touches the bench
•    You only need to pull up until your upper body is vertical (straight line).
•    Increase intensity by twisting when rising up to work your obliques

Lateral Raises, Front Raises, Bent Over Lateral Raises

The shoulders also known as deltoids are made up of 3 sections

•    Front deltoids
•    Middle deltoids
•    Rear deltoids

The shoulder is the most moveable part of the body, yet it is the most unstable. I should know, I’ve had first hand experience of being a victim of it’s unstableness, which you’ll find out shortly. However, it does allow for a vast array of exercises to be performed, which is great!

Why?

Because the shoulders can make the difference between making you look like Mr. Puny or Mr. Large. And for you tall types like myself, you will ‘need’ wide shoulders, because no matter how much muscle you put on, you will always appear as a tall lanky man. Unless you turn into a Triple H.

But the main thing you will want to do is avoid injury, regardless of the exercise you perform.

Avoid Tendonitis

The simple way to prevent this is to stick to low repetitions. I know you may want to take your strength levels to the max, but my advice would be to go easy on your shoulders when increasing the weight or when performing challenging exercises. If you ever do start to suffer from tendonitits then stop all shoulder exercises, or the ones that may have caused it. Let your body rest. If you do want to get back into the routine make it a slow return. Quit, If the same thing starts happening again.

Effective shoulder exercises that shouldn’t cause too much trouble

  • Pull ups
  • Chin ups
  • Dips

Pull ups/ Chin ups/ Mix grip chin ups

Hey, you just said that these exercises should be fine?

I did, but everyones bodies are different and injury can still occur when performing these exercises the incorrect way.

Shoulder Injuries

At the bottom of the hanging position, if you are experiencing shoulder pain, I would advise that you take time out from the exercise as you may have less than optimal shoulder mechanics. You may want to consult a shoulder specialist that can evaluate and correct your shoulder mechanics.

I’m not a physio therapist. But I have had enough shoulder injuries in the past 11 years to know how to avoid it (All non-bodybuilding injuries – Click here to learn the cause of my injury). I guess you could call me the shoulder injury guinea pig.

Wear A Weight Belt (For these reasons only)

Remember!

The underlying rule still stands. Lift correctly and you won’t get injured. Which means you’ll never need to wear a weights belt.

Unless…

  1. You are a dumb and lazy c**t and can’t help but lift with bad technique.
  2. You want to increase the weight to put on extra muscle mass
  3. You decide to perform weighted chin ups/ pull ups/ dips (Which is probably inevitable)

Don’t bounce when you stretch, hold still. Otherwise you’ll perform ineffective stretches, which means you put yourself at risk of causing an injury in your workout.

Make sure you don’t stretch for more than 30 seconds on any one muscle and to never bounce. Always hold firm and still. 5 seconds each stretch is usually ok.

How do I know these all work?

•    I was personally trained this way as an athlete
•    I taught it to others and they reaped the benefits
•    And to this day I have never had an injury as a result of what I do ‘in the gym’! (Touch wood)

This is not the end of injury prevention techniques and there will be more to come for sure.

Check out the ebook for a monthly updated version of these injury preventions.

But for now, fire away in the comments and let me know what injuries you have faced and how we can prevent them and any potential future injuries.

See you in the comments.

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