Women are hitting the gym…hard. (Yess! Get it ladies!!) In record numbers in fact. But training injuries have LEAPED to 63%! Of course, none of us want this. You can still get all the benefits of pumping iron while avoiding unnecessary injuries so you can come out of the gym strutting, not limping.I am closely tied to this issue since I have been dealing with my foot condition. While I will be on crutches/knee scooter for about 4 months, I want to make sure I come back strong but smart!
The Mistake: Skipping Your Warm-Up
Would you launch yourself into a full-on sprint as soon as you got on a treadmill? So you shouldn’t be jumping into deadlifts as soon as you get to the free weights! Cold muscles that start to work out can lead to sprains and tears. Warming up is done to increase circulation and improve range of motion. It is your muscle’s prep time!
The Fix: Choose a dynamic warm-up. After completing a 5-10 minute walk or jog, do 10-12 lunges and pushups before starting a routine. Stretching should be completed AFTER workouts, not before. Dynamic stretching is always a better warm up than stationary stretching!
The Mistake: Using Sloppy Form
Probably the single most important factor in injury prevention! Many women don’t give it much thought, especially when you all are on a time limit. Well, thanks to our lovely wider hips (which we all love I am sure), we are more susceptible to form-related injuries (leg and foot especially!)
The Fix: Before starting any routine, trainer Robbi Shveyd says to think “S.E.A.K.” Stand straight (head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over feet), eyes on the horizon (looking down encourages shoulders to round and the chest to lean forward), abs tight (helps to stabilize your pelvis), and knees over your second toe (women’s knees have a tendency to turn in because of the angle of our hips).
The Mistake: Stressing Out Your Shoulders
Women who lift have less stable shoulder joints than those who don’t lift at all. I know, I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. Doing too many exercises where your elbows are pulled behind your body (chest flies and rows) can overstretch connective tissue in the front of the joints. If your shoulders are tight in the back, you’re even more likely to overstretch the front, increasing the imbalance at the joints.
The Fix: Modify your moves. Don’t allow your elbow to extend more than 2 inches behind your body. (Be mindful in the lowering phase of bench presses for example!) Also, don’t position a bar behind your head. Being the lat pulldown bar in front of your shoulders, and when doing an overhead press, use dumbbells instead of the bar and always keep your weights within your line of vision.
The Mistake: Neglecting Opposing Muscle Groups
Having strength imbalances can make you more prone to injury. Sometimes it’s your personal lifestyle (hovering over a computer all day tightens and weakens your hip flexors while glutes become overstretched and inactive). Often times, it is because both sides of the body are not worked out equally (for example, working out your quads but not your hamstrings).
The Fix: For every exercise that works the front of the body (chest, biceps, quads, etc.) complete an exercise that targets the rear (back, hamstrings, triceps).
The Mistake: Doing Too Much Too Soon
More does not always mean better. If you increase things too quickly, your body may not be able to handle the overload. Gradual conditioning is best because the muscles and connective tissue have time to adapt.
The Fix: Learn how to do an exercise using only your body weight. When you can do 15 reps with proper form, add weight. Stick to one set with light weights for 2 weeks or until you feel comfortable with the move. When you can properly complete your reps with proper form, add another set or more weight (you should increase weight by about 10% each time).
Be careful in the gym ladies! Of course we want to see those results but we want to see them accomplished in a safe and healthy way! I want to make sure you can show off those muscles...on your own two feet...
Until the next step bloggers...