How to Avoid Injury in the Gym

Jun 26, 2014 | by AIF

Many gym injuries can be avoided by developing better awareness of the movements of the body. Australian Institute of Fitness VIC Coach Ben Gunn suggested some ways to minimise upper and lower body injuries in the gym.

Upper body awareness

Let’s take the push-up as an upper body example. This is a staple in most fitness programs as it is a compound movement that primarily targets the chest while secondarily targeting the arms.

When done correctly, the push-up will train and condition the chest, with some secondary benefits to the triceps and shoulders. The most common complaint of this exercise is not of chest or elbow pain, but of strain to the muscles and structures that should only play an assisting role in the movement such as the rotator cuff and deltoids.

Try this:

  • Where you are sitting right now, without moving your arms or shoulders, squeeze and release your chest muscles.
  • Can’t do it? Place one hand on your opposing chest. Push your opposing arm forward slowly like you are pushing a door open. What you feel underneath is your pectoralis major contracting to draw your shoulder forward.
  • If your control is faint, your risk of doing damage while doing push-ups, bench press or any other pushing movement that requires strength and stability at the shoulder is greatly increased. Although this isn’t something to be alarmed by, learning to take control of your chest will go a long way to protecting your shoulders and avoiding those nasty rotator cuff complaints. Just remember, sometimes we have to learn to crawl before we can walk.

Lower body awareness

The squat is our second example of an exercise that can cause injury if not done properly. The squat is a great compound movement that targets the glutes, hamstrings and quads. When done correctly this exercise will really strengthen and shape your behind. The most common complaint of this exercise is not of glute or hip pain, but of strain to the muscles and structures that should only play an assisting or secondary role such as the knee and the back.

Try this:

  • Where you are sitting right now, without moving your legs, squeeze and release your glutes.
  • Can’t do it? Stand up. Place one hand on your same side buttock. Push and raise your leg backwards behind yourself slowly. What you feel underneath is your gluteus maximus contracting to draw your hip backward. You need to ensure that this muscle is being used during a squat to avoid loading assisting muscles.

Mastering your body awareness one muscle at a time will go a long way towards you putting in your most polished performances in the gym. It can also mean a lot more pain as you’ll be avoiding injuries and trips to the Physio too.

AIF

AIF

At the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), we are no stranger to the competitive and evolving nature of the fitness industry. That’s why we remain the #1 fitness educator since 1979. We continuously raise the bar by providing the best education and resources through dynamic and hybrid training methods that mould to your lifestyle. We are strong believers in evidence over fads, so you can be assured your training with AIF will solidify your career for the long-term.

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