How do I never get injured ever again?
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
There's nothing worse than an injury. An injury means taking time off. Whether that's a week, a month, or more, time off means having to reset your routine...and as you probably know, getting back into a workout routine is hard (but it is much easier with FitKinect).
As a former athlete, someone who has demanded a lot from my own body, and someone who has done research and in-depth analysis of sports and non-sports related injuries and injury prevention, I have good and bad news.
Bad news. You're going to get injured again. Good news. If you approach your workouts and lifestyle with the appropriate knowledge and discipline, you can minimize the quantity and severity of these injuries. I will share the basics of what causes common injuries and how to make them much less likely in your future.
What causes injuries during physical activity?
Pretty obvious right? Getting hit in a sport. Falling. Dropping a weight on yourself. Stepping on someone's foot. Sometimes these things happen. Always stay vigilant when working out. It's good to be "in the zone", but be aware that your surroundings, especially if it's in the weight room, which is full of injury risks.
Muscle Strength Imbalances
Some people have a significant disparity in the strength ratio between their quad and hamstring which increases their likelihood of ACL rupture. Studies have shown that women are more likely to have this imbalance, and although this conclusion is somewhat controversial, many have pointed at this as a partial explanation as to why women have higher incidence of ACL rupture. Other factors, such as increased Q angle (not much we can do about that so I won't explain, but feel free to google your heart out) and ligament laxity as a result of hormonal changes (which come in handy when you have to accommodate creating another human) also play a role. (1,2) What does this mean? It means you (male, female or otherwise) should be able to reliably assess your form with every lift and see if any strength imbalances are evident. If you are not able to do this yourself (this is easier said than done), a trainer can really come in handy.
The core is "the central, innermost, or most essential part of anything." This is also true for your body. Most dynamic exercises and movements require transferring force across multiple joints and throughout the body.
Your core is essential in making this energy transfer successful. Unfortunately, many people neglect this muscle group (just doing "abs" counts as neglecting your core) and as a result it becomes a major part of muscle imbalance. Core includes abdominals and obliques, hips, back and all the supporting musculature around these areas. These are tested and improved in exercises that focus on balance, stability and energy transfer. As you'll see in our workouts, FitKinect incorporates core into EVERY workout. Each day has varying degrees, but we know a strong core means less injury, and that's priority number 1. (3)
The more weight you have, the more force you put on your joints and muscles whenever you participate in physical activity. If you are starting to workout and are well above your recommended weight, you should take extra precaution in your form and technique (4)
A previous or current injury increases your chances for re-injury in the future. This means that rolling an ankle not only increases your likelihood of rolling that ankle again, but also increases your chances for hip and knee injuries on the same or opposite side. This is a generalization, since research has shown more specific associations between injuries resulting from previous injuries(5)
Conceptually, this makes sense, right? If you can no longer transfer force across a joint or from a muscle in the way your body is used to, it places increased demand on other muscles and joints. Which can lead to injury.
Being a weekend warrior, aka “engaging in [physically] demanding recreational sporting activities on weekends despite minimal physical activity during the [work] week.” is risky business. Whether this physical activity is digging up your old college workout when you're 50 or just trying to take the family ice-skating after not being active during the week, the risk of injury is much higher if you randomly put your body under more stress than it is used to. (6)
Common injuries for this population include ruptured achilles, plantar fasciitis and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). For a quick run down on these and what to do about them, check out this blurb by USC (7).
Going zero to 100....real quick
Whether it be not warming up before a workout session or deciding to go from no daily exercise to 6 days per week, rapidly increasing the stress on your body is risky. Don't do the full 1 week shred if you have done absolutely nothing to stay fit before. If this is you, contact us and we'll create a modified shred that will be more in line with where you are starting.
I can't emphasize this enough (you saw the exclamation points). Never, never, never ever sacrifice form for weight. ESPECIALLY if you do not have a trainer with you (who knows proper form) prompting you to do so. Even then, don't do it. It's not rocket science, but it can take time to know how certain lifts should look and feel. So start light, and as you get more comfortable/experienced, move up in weight/distance/time. Unless you are an olympic lifter, some exercises should never exceed a certain weight threshold, no matter how strong you get. For example, Good Mornings (and really any lower back exercise) should never be so heavily weighted that there is major strain. When it gets easy at significant weight (proportional to your body weight) go up in reps, not weight. The risk for injury, specifically a troublesome lower back injury, is too high and not worth it.
Again, this goes for every lift and every exercise. Squats. Deadlifts. Bicep curls. Tricep extensions. Even running and all the more unique lifts that target accessory muscles. Never be embarrassed about not lifting heavy in the weight room. Believe it or not, most, if not all, of the other people there started in the same place. Even if that guy checking himself out in the mirror or girl in the yoga pants makes you think otherwise.
And remember, injuries are actually a major cause for getting overweight and obese. So let's try to avoid that here.
There are multiple causes of injury while training or performing any physical activity. The major things you can do to minimize this risk is to always warm up, have proper form (workout with someone so they can confirm), stay aware of your surroundings and make sure to train all muscle groups to avoid significant muscle strength imbalances. You'll notice, FitKinect minimizes targeted lifts such as hamstring curls and quad extensions. This is the "functional" part of HIFCT and attempts to avoid worsening or creating these muscle imbalances. If you are working with a trainer who notices a certain imbalance, then some of these lifts can be useful, otherwise, dynamic exercises that increase functional strength reign supreme.
Also, some may think that the harder you exercise the more risk you have for injury, but actually, working out consistently and having a heavy training load (aka being fit) lowers your risk for injury (given that you are doing the aforementioned parts correctly). (8) So train hard. Train consistently. Train together. And train with FitKinect.
If you want to nerd out, check my sources: