Many people enthusiastically start a new exercise program just to get sidelined shortly after due to a fitness injury. Enthusiasm to make gains can very easily make you overlook that you could be at risk of injury from over doing it. Here are few suggestions to help avoid injury.
Listen to your body – If your body says “That hurts” then reconsider what you are doing and how you are doing it. You should expect some discomfort when you begin a new exercise program. There is a difference between discomfort and pain. If you experience pain you should stop and re-examine what you are doing.
Know your exercises – Know how an exercise is going to impact your body, your joints etc. Consider working with a personal trainer to learn the proper form for the exercises you are doing. Another option is to search out the proper form on the internet for each of your exercises. There are many websites that will give detailed information on how to do exercises.
Don’t take advice from people at the gym unless you know for a fact they have a complete understanding of exercise physiology. Most gyms have trainers on staff that will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Give your body time to adjust to new exercises. Don’t expect immediate results. It could be tempting to step up the intensity of an exercise and put yourself at risk of injury. Give your body time to adjust.
Understand how the machines at the gym work. You can very easily get hurt by not knowing how to properly use them. It would be easy to load up the incline leg press with more weight than you can handle and end up injuring your legs or back.
Understand what contraindicated exercises are. These are exercises that have been identified as having a higher probability of causing injury. Here’s a list of exercises that I would advise you to avoid.
Deep Squats – Squats are very good for your core strength. Deep squats can be harmful. When squatting, you should keep your hips parallel to the floor and don’t allow you’re your hips to drop below your knees. This may overstretch the ligaments in people who may already have unstable knee joints.
Leg Extensions - This exercise places a lot of unnecessary pressure on the patella (knee cap). In addition is can cause the patella to grind against the femur.
Behind the head Lat Pull Downs – There is no reason or gain by putting weight behind your head and center of gravity. What you are doing in essentially causing gravity to pull y our head forward, and over time, your cervical spine will cause your head to hang forward