Illnesses, schedule changes, work, and a host of other reasons already force us to miss workouts on occasion, so why would we want to add another reason to the list? Here are some tips for avoiding injuries in exercise:
- If you feel joint discomfort or a sharp shooting pain during an exercise, inform your instructor immediately or stop. It's possible that you are aggravating a pre-existing condition, or at the very least, your seat setting/exercise position is incorrect (which could lead to an injury).
- If you find yourself hurting (pain, not soreness) a few hours or a day after your workout, think back to your workout and what could have caused it. If your form is generally solid, it could have been just one exercise that caused the pain. After the pain goes away, try a similar workout without that specific exercise.
- Have a spotter if you are using free weights that hover over some part of your body during the exercise (i.e. a bench press). Also, try to use barbells over dumbbells for such exercises. Dumbbell exercises, for example, a chest press or overhead press, leave twice the risk of a serious accident occurring and twice as much responsibility for the spotter.
- You don't have to move at a snail's pace when lifting weights, but keep the speed steady throughout the exercise. Don't accelerate when transitioning from negative to positive or positive to negative.
- Avoid high force activities such as plyometrics, jump rope, powerlifting, and running (unless, of course, you are a competitive runner or powerlifter and need to improve proficiency in your skill). In addition, stay away from exercises that involve the load transferring through the spine. Squats and standing calf raises that involve a barbell or pads resting on the shoulders are examples of this. There are many variations of leg presses and seated calf raises that would agree much more with your lumbar spine.
If none of these suggestions helps you with a specific issue you are having with your workout, you could always ask the fitness specialist at your gym or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). The worst problem you could have is to become injured, because then you may not be able to workout at all!
Work hard and stay safe.