Let’s go back in time about 2500 years or so. In battles, Spartans could not afford to be injured. Their lives depended on it. If a Spartan was injured during a battle, he probably did not survive to see the end of it. Even a minor injury such as a twisted ankle or a dislocated shoulder (well those are not that minor) could prove devastating. Thankfully, we have progressed into a more “civilized” society and we no longer live and die by how in shape or injury free we are. However, even today, injury prevention is the number one rule for professionals in the realm of fitness. Injuries hinder any advancement toward achievable goals, diminish motivation, and in some extreme cases make the trainer look bad.
An injury is simply physical damage to an area of the body. Most do not take into consideration is the negative psychological effect injuries spawn in a once highly excited and motivated participant. Injury prevention is a continuing progression for all individuals. Understanding the commonality and root of injuries are a large part in developing plans that implement injury prevention strategies. Many of these strategies include fixing weak areas, correcting musculature imbalances, implementing proper movement mechanics, and constant engagement of correct posture. Application of each of these during a strength training session can greatly enhance injury prevention.
Posture and movement mechanics are the two most noticeable in the gym. Of course, taking into consideration that bad movement mechanics is usually do to imbalances, weak and tight areas that do nothing but win over poor mobility. It is important the focus on the chronic injuries versus the acute. With that said, acute injuries again, can usually be prevented with the above strategies and if an injury were to occur absolute attention should be observed toward the healing process. Most feel a small pain and push through the workout, WRONG!
Chronic injuries usually entail that the above strategies are a constant, successive issue. Without correction, degeneration of motor sequencing and muscular tissue are certain to transpire.
Many common injuries happen out of ego and ignorance. Both of these can and should be avoided. Proper technique requires correct knowledge. Then the individual must have the mobility to execute the movement. If the mobility is limited then the individual must make corrections before continuing with an improper movement. This is usually skipped creating poor movement patterns, which lead to imbalances. Use progression in every aspect of training!
This week, renew your training program. If you don't have a training program, it is time to develop one. Make sure you have a quantifiable goal and write it down. Make sure that you have a date set when you will accomplish the goal. Develop a training plan that incorporates strength training at least twice a week. The rest of the week, you should be practicing events that are leading up to your goal. If you don't have a goal, then you are less likely to practice anything since practicing for nothing is meaningless.
Doing "whatever you feel like doing" for the day leads to doing what you like and often times, this leads to overuse injuries or underdevelopment of your weak points.
Take care of yourself so you don't become a liability to your fellow Spartan!
Travis Williams and Dr. N