While it is true that no sport is injury free; with proper training we can not only reduce the risk of injury, we can make our bodies more resistant to injury. Your fitness program should be keeping you as safe. I’m going to highlight the key elements that will make you more resilient and far more likely to be injury free!
Injuries put the brakes on our progress. Aside from that, they just plain suck. Preventing injury is first and foremost a mindset. My motto is ‘Move well, then move fast and heavy’. If you live by this, you are a thousand times more likely to go injury free and you will see more gains. Watch the elite crossfitters. Their rep 101 looks exactly like rep 1. This not an accident, nor is it just natural. This comes from extreme attention to detail and pride in how well they are doing things.
Greater potential is the other big factor in doing things the right way. Kobe Bryant was a remarkable athlete with ridiculous fade away shots (copied from MJ) and drives to the hoop. What you don’t see, is the thousands of hours he’s spent on the fundamentals, the 100s of free throws and layups he did every day, or the drills he did before games. Most elite athletes understand the importance of mastering the basics.
There is a term called ‘virtuosity’. It means, doing the common uncommonly well. Live by this in the gym and your results will come free of injury.
‘Move well, then move fast and heavy’
How Injuries Happen
If you want results, you better be working high intensities. But not before becoming proficient the exercises in your program. Exercise takes time and effort to become proficient at. No one is good at these exercises on day one. Going blasto Hercules style off the bat is disastrous.
Fitness programs should – crossfit, bootcamps, body building, or endurance training – are scalable to EVERYONE regardless of ability. A lot of people who are just starting on a routine have not been exposed to the technical demands of the exercises. Not having experience does not mean we can not learn and benefit from them but it does mean we need to be careful and patient. I think it is FUN to gain competency. I enjoy learning and getting better at things. It is rewarding. So, I highly recommend you be patient and just enjoy the process.
Two causes for injury:
- Improper movement patterns at high intensity can cause harm. These bad movements are learned over time and cause problems throughout the body. Find your common faults and identify the troubles you have with certain exercises. It is typical that we blame the exercise if we hurt ourselves but the truth is it is not the exercise. It is our limitations and execution. Find the faults then we gain an awareness that wasn’t there before allowing us a chance for the right training strategy to fix the kinks. Correcting these have far greater benefits than improving your performance in the gym. Moving better will keep the joints oiled for years to come! Improving movement patterns can cure pains throughout the body including back conditions, headaches, tightness and more. Crossfit is about intensity but understand that intensity is relative to ability and fitness levels. Slow it down and learn this stuff.
- Limited mobility and range of motion. This goes along with improper movement patterns but is not the same. Lack of flexibility will make it difficult to get in optimal positions. This can lead to injury and deserves attention. Stretching and soft tissue work will help a lot. What helps even more, is practicing the movements and challenging yourself to get in the right positions.
Preventing Injuries Is Simple
Three things to keep the train rolling on its tracks:
- Get coaching and listen to them. Get professional coaching. A good coach will save you time and frustration. if you want succeed, work with a professional.
- Ask questions! Please ask your trainer questions if you are unsure of something. That is what they are there for.
- Stretch. Before you leave, take 5-10 minutes to cool down with static stretches. This means holding a stretch for AT LEAST :30. Upwards of 2 minutes is better. Here are a few of my favorites
- pigeon. This is awesome for the hips! When the glutes get tight they can cause problems with the lumbar and the sciatic nerve. Keep these muscles happy with this stretch daily.
- Scorpion. This stretch is fantastic for the shoulders.
- Warm-up. Warming up can make all the difference in the world of fitness performance. Get to your workout early enough to warm up to get the core temperature up and prep the body for higher demand.
- Practice the movements that give you the most trouble. This may be the most important thing you can do. If you are doing them the right way with core engagement and alignment, injury is unlikely.
- Listen to your body. It is important that you are getting adequete rest between workouts to recover. Without recovery you will see your fitness go backwards.
The ultimate goal is longevity! I’m not sure about you but I want to be going strong for as long as possible. I plan to be power cleaning in my nineties. Think I’m being hyperbolic. Nope. If I don’t choke on my fruity pebbles or get mauled by a bear (low risk in Liberty MO), I’ll still be at it.
My aim with my clients, is to keep them safe by challenging you to do things the right way, push you to get better, and give them a great fitness experience.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know if this was helpful and if you have any questions put them in the comment section. Happy to help any way I can.