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how to avoid injuries in the gym?

Why even train in the gym?

Training in the gym is one of the most optimal and safest solutions for improving the strength and health of the musculoskeletal system and a large number of young and older people decide to start with the same. 

But is training in the gym always the best option for each individual?

Can you just go to the gym without having any prior knowledge of exercise? 

There are proven ways to go to the gym in the safest and optimal way in order to make the fastest progress without the occurrence of injury or worse, multiple injuries. 

Coming to the gym
Ice bath research

First visit to the gym

You decided to enroll in the gym and came to the reception and paid the membership fee and got a membership card. 

And what now? How to start exercising? 

This is a question that literally all beginners in the gym have. The vast majority of people who came to the gym for the first time don't have any real knowledge and anderience to start with the same. 

How to continue? Do you need to start training yourself or is it better to hire a coach or kinesiologist? 

When to hire a coach?

If you don't have any previous comprehensive exercise experience performed in the gym and you are not a professional kinesiologist, fitness trainer, physiotherapist or similar professional who understands the training process you should not train alone

The vast majority of us (especially men) have too much confidence when it comes to training and exercise. 

The fact is that if you do not have at least a few years of experience of intensive targeted strength training, you will not even be able to put together a targeted training process for yourself that will effectively make progress and reduce the risk of injury. 

In this situation, be honest with yourself and hire an expert who will guide you through the whole process!

Gym coach
Experienced gym trainer

When you don't need a coach?

If you are previously played elite-level sports and / or you are in a profession that is closely related to the training process then of course for you coach is not required.

Are you 100% safe from injury because of your experience?

If you have not previously performed intensive exercise under load you are not 100% safe from injury!

The least you'll have to do in that situation is to be further educated how, when and how to perform individual exercises in the gym and how to plan training and rest.  

In the rest of this blog, we will focus on you who already have experience and summarize the ways you can avoid injuries in the gym. 

Start slowly

At the beginning of your training process in the gym, the most important thing is to learn correct and controlled exercise performance

This means that all the exercises that you start with and with which you have no experience you will work with minimal weights that you can perform in a controlled manner without any problems.

If you decide to work bench press for the pectoral muscles, you will take just a bar and learn controlled movement from the upper position to the chest and back.

If you are doing a squat for the first time, you will also take just the bar and do a proper squat movement from the top to the bottom position and back without any additional load.

Only when you are absolutely sure that you are performing the exercise correctly will you begin progressive overload.

Light training
Warming up in the gym

Warm up properly

Now we come to an extremely important aspect of training that most of the people in the gym are doing completely wrong!

Static stretching before gym?

Do not statically stretch before training as primary is not an effective form of warm-up, and secondarily can increase the chances of injury in training!

Active stretching before training?

Active stretching is a solid option to move joints, tendons and muscles before strength training, but it is not the most optimal and ideal option. 

What should you do before training?

A very simple and effective solution to warm up is that you perform the exact movements that you will work in the training itself. So if you plan to do a bench press with a maximum of 70 kilos, the first series you will work with the movement of the bench press without load, the second series you will work only with the bar and so on and so forth that you will gradually reach maximum weight

Don't overestimate yourself!

By far the most common cause of injury in the gym is when you start lifting more weight than your strength and body objectively allow.

If you are going to lift a certain amount of weight, and you see that you are struggling by compensating for movements from other parts of the body, you can immediately count on a good chance of getting hurt

Always increase the load progressively and according to your capabilities.

This advice is probably the most important advice from this blog and if you have to remember anything, remember this! 

Recovery from training

Recovery is very important!

Recovery is a factor of the training process that most exercisers often forget and which is very important both for progress and for prevention of the injury.

Too much training will significantly increase the chances of injury and even slow down progress in the gym. 

If you are a beginner, it is enough to do 3 – 4 quality workouts per week

During strength training, muscle fibers are damaged and in order for the muscle to recover and subsequently “grow” it is necessary to arrange the entire recovery process properly. 

There are several factors to recovery and the 2 most important are definitely sleep and nutrition!

Unfortunately, we are not able to go into the details of recovery in this blog, but it is necessary to adequately educate yourself about it because it plays a huge role in the training process.

How to avoid injuries in the gym?

1. If you have no previous experience, hire a coach! 

2. If you have previous experience, get more education before you start!

3. Start performing new exercises with minimal weight and controlled!

4. To warm up, do the moves that you will perform in training! 

5. Increase the load progressively and be realistic with your own strength!

6. 3-4 quality workouts per week is enough! 

7. Rest, sleep and nutrition will significantly affect the progress and prevention of injuries!

Call physiotherapist

If there is an injury, seek an expert!

When an injury has already occurred, it means that some of the above steps have been performed incorrectly and it is unfortunately too late to repair them preventively. 

In this situation, do not waste any more time and as soon as possible contact a professional such as a physiotherapist, a kinesitherapist or a doctor who specializes in this type of injury. 

In Ad Sacrum practice we regularly treat sports injuries and injuries in the gym are a specialty that we have solved with over 5000 athletes in our clinic. 

Free us contact us to solve the problem in the long term and to be able to return to the training process as soon as possible!

Picture of Bsc. PT. Toni Marić

Bsc. PT. Toni Marić

Toni is bacc. physical therapist and the owner of the Ad Sacrum clinic who has been treating top athletes for years and also teaches at the Dry needling courses for physiotherapists.

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