If you are trying to gain muscle and strength then no doubt you have joined your local gym.
However, if you want to see those gradual gains you most certainly do not want to go injuring yourself.
Doing so will not only put you out of action physically for a while but can also have a detrimental effect on your mental attitude too.
Here are some of the more common gym injuries and the methods you can use to help avoid them happening to you. [toc]
#1: Hurting Your Back
Whether it is a small strain, or something more serious, back pain can be debilitating, making even the simplest task like tying your shoelaces impossible to achieve.
Yet, it is also one of the most common gym injuries too, with many gym-goers complaining about having a sore back, so what is the reason?
One of the main causes of back pain when lifting is trying to lift a weight too heavy for yourself.
This results in bad form (for instance, the arching of your back), which will certainly put your back under undue strain.
The solution? Try to lift lighter weight with good form. You should always try to keep your back straight when lifting, with your abs tight and contracted.
This is known as ‘abdominal bracing’ and this extra core support can ensure you do not experience back pain from lifting again.
#2: A Pulled Hamstring
A pulled hamstring can put your workout at a complete stand-still, but it can be avoided with a simple trick.
So what can you do to avoid suffering a pulled hamstring? Well, simply put you need to warm up thoroughly before you start your workout.
If you go into your workout without warming up your muscles then you will be more susceptible to pulls, strains and sprains.
The best way to warm up your muscles is through dynamic stretches, which are designed to mimic the movements you will be performing during your workout.
#3: Extreme Muscle Soreness
We all experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) after our workouts, no doubt because your body and its muscles have suffered micro-tears during the workout.
This is normal, and as these tears heal your muscles will become bigger and stronger.
However, if you do not give yourself adequate time to recover you may develop a condition known as rhabdomyolysis or “rhabdo” for short.
This condition occurs when you suffer irreversible damage to your muscles, which will result in constant muscle soreness every day.
To ensure you do not suffer from this painful condition you should allow yourself to rest fully occasionally. And to make sure you are not overworking yourself during the actual workouts.
This does not mean that you should slack off when working out, but you need to find a ‘sweet spot’ that will allow you to perform your exercises using correct form.
If your form is not at least 90% quality then you should probably either reduce the weight or take a moment’s rest to recover before your next set.
#4: Ankle Sprain
If you perform any single-leg exercises while working out then you run the risk of spraining your ankle.
While your ankle is a very mobile joint and is designed to move, if it turns too far inward then you are going to suffer from an ankle sprain. This can be incredibly painful and occurs when the ligaments on the outside of your ankle are torn.
To reduce the risk of suffering this injury I would recommend performing some flexibility exercises to build your balance and the strength of your ankle.
#5: Torn Bicep
This is a common injury that occurs when people attempt to perform a bicep curl with a weight too heavy than they can manage.
To prevent this injury from occurring you should choose a weight that you can manage, and lift using proper technique.
#6: Rotator Cuff Strain
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that surround your shoulder joint. It is often strained during overhead movements, especially if you are doing the same movements repeatedly with a heavy weight.
Repetitive movements can cause your ligaments to stretch over time, with the risk of strain more likely as we get older.
To strengthen your rotator cuff and to prevent injury you need to use a lighter weight to strengthen these smaller muscles without risking injury.
#7: Groin Strain
Another common gym injury is the groin strain that can occur during squats, lunges and when sprinting.
It is important that before you attempt any of the mentioned exercises that you warm up your inner thigh muscles. Warming up the muscle will make them more pliable and less likely to become strained during exercise.
#8: Broken Foot/Toes
You may not think this is a big deal, but dropping heavy weights in the gym is not only irritating to other gym users but also may result in painful injury for you too.
If you are not careful you may end up with a broken toe, or even foot if you choose to drop your weight from a certain height.
Obviously, the way to avoid this type of injury is to ensure you respect the equipment and place the weights on the floor rather than dropping them.
#9: Cuts And Bruises
If you are not aware of your surroundings while at the gym you do run the risk of tripping over those weights that haven’t been put back, or one of the many obstacles around the gym.
Always be aware of what’s around you. You don’t want to go tripping over at the gym. Not only is it embarrassing, but you could also cause yourself serious damage.
Hopefully, now that you have seen what common gym injuries there are you can take the steps required to avoid these injuries in the future.
Yes, it may not be possible to completely stop yourself from suffering injury, but there are certain things that you can do to reduce the risk of suffering them.
Work hard, but make sure you are safe too!