You’ve finally started on your commitment to hit the gym, or maybe you’ve decided to take your workout routine to the next level, good for you! But often times when we increase our level of physical activity, we run the risk of injury by jumping in too quickly, too soon, and without the proper preparation. Fortunately, there are a number of important warm-ups, muscle training, strength training and flexibility drills. Check out the 7 most common gym injuries and learn how to avoid them.
- Hamstring Strain – One of the most common gym injuries, hamstring strain usually results from improper form and strength imbalances. Particularly if you’re a runner or use the treadmill, fitness experts recommend Nordic Curls, Standing Deadlifts, and Exercise Ball Hamstring Curls.
- Sprained Ankle – Ankle sprains often occur during activities that require jumping or quick changes in direction. Strengthen the ankle before workouts by placing an exercise band around the ball of your foot while seated and flex it forward and backward.
- Lower Back Pain – Often the result of improper technique for crunches, experts recommend using a stability ball to reduce the stress on the back and allow for more normal spine motion. You can also try the plank or side plank instead.
- Rotator Cuff Strain – Weightlifting, swimming and pull-ups are some of the common causes for rotator cuff injury. Focus on strengthening your core, improving technique and use warm-ups like the Low Five and the Clock.
- Shin Splints – When the calf is imbalanced, running on a treadmill or outside can cause shin splints. Calf stretches are the key to preventing injury as well as starting with a 5 to 7 minute easy warm-up walk.
- Knee Pain – There a variety of warm-ups to prevent and reduce knee pain, including hip-centric warm-up movements, like the Plank, Hip Bridge and Glut Bridge. Strengthening your quads with squats and wall sits will also help avoid injury and strain.
- Plantar Fasciitis – Shooting heel pain is common among runners or anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet. Stretching out your calves, frequently changing your sneakers, using orthotics and practicing on different running surfaces (avoiding too much hard pavement), will help to avoid aggravation.