“Dear dr Thomas,
A few years ago, I had an injury at the gym. I injured pectoralis major and trapezius. The doctor put some straps on me that pulled my chest and trapeze towards my shoulder. She forbade me to train for the next year and a half. When I took it off, my shoulder was falling down as if it was falling out of my collarbone. It's been 6 years now. When I exercise, my arm is not stable, and I can't stretch it entirely, but it's a little curved in my elbow.
Could you tell me what this is about?”
And this guy made a deadly gym sin # 1. He didn't warm up!
Why is that?
The gym is perceived as a place of health where almost everyone can become a top athlete, and because of that, rarely does anyone think about the injuries.
However, research has shown that every 5th person gets injured in the gym.
Rock says; Do your warm-up first, boy!
Even though Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of the fittest guys in Hollywood, he's still suffered injuries just like the rest of us. In fact, you might be surprised at the number of injuries this superstar actor has dealt with over his athletic and movie careers.
Johnson explained that due to the numerous injuries he's suffered, including multiple knee surgeries, an Achilles rupture, and a quad tear, among others, he's had to adjust how he warms up. Johnson needs at least 25-30 minutes to get ready for the workouts that help him stay at the top of his game.
So, it should be clear to everyone that smart training does mean not only performing movements in good shape but also good preparation to ensure the necessary stability of the body before work.
Or you can maybe tell this American football/wrestler/gym fanatic that he is wrong?! :-)
Warm-up and stretching are two different things!
In our gyms, we often notice that people do some movements that look like stretching exercises before training to prepare the upcoming training body.
This is a big No, No...
You can stretch the muscle more without the risk of injury after the light warm-up. In general, the tissue is more prepared for sudden, fast, brisk movements. For this reason, stretching is always done at the end of the training, or after warming up, never before.
Gregory Robins, C.S.C.S., a trainer to several professional baseball players at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA, always starts his clients with a full-body warm-up—whether they're doing lower-or upper-body training.
"To gain range of motion at your joints and fire up the muscles that you're going to use for that day's workout, you need to do mobility and activation drills," says Robins. "
The dynamic warm-up is going to increase your performance if you do it correctly," he adds.
The most common gym injuries and how to act
INJURY OF THE CERVICAL VERTEBRAE
The risk of this injury increases when you're performing movements that are not under the biomechanics of the human body, as well as with irrational loads. On the one hand, every exerciser should be aware of inflammatory processes, but an irrational banging of the head and putting the neck under a heavy load is not smart.
What can you do?
When you just getting started, try to maintain a "neutral" position that is in line with the spine's natural position. A gradual warm-up should be maintained throughout the workout in the gym, and you can achieve this by pushing your chin down towards you as if you want to make a double chin.
Pushing the chin like that should be done until the tightening in the neck muscles becomes uncomfortable.
Although it may sound strange to many, the first thing to point out is that knees are not overly mobile by nature because they can move in only two directions. This is not a positive feature in situations like squats, lunges, leg press, split squats... All of these movements can stress your knee joint. The widespread mistakes that exercisers make when squatting or deadlifting are related to situations when their knees go too far forward, either outwards or inwards.
What can you do?
Keep the knees in a neutral position during the movement. An easy way to maintain a neutral knee position is to make sure that they do not cross the line of your toes or the top of your shoes when training during descending.
If you are an elite athlete who trains at the high-level, you know that back injuries are most prevalent when training with weights.
But a lumbar part can be in three positions: flexion, extension, and in the neutral position.
What can you do?
The first step is building strong abdominal and lower back muscles. Second, when lifting weights, do not go to either of these two extremes (flexion, extension) and maintain a neutral position. Keep the torso straight and almost in a straight line with the lower part of the body. Maintaining this position will be very important in protecting your back, but you also gain an advantage when working with a load.
Exercise machines and free movements under load are significantly present in this type of training. Still, the frequent and long-term performance of those not natural movements can be a path to injury.
What can you do?
Since we are talking about torso stabilization here, our shoulders must be optimally prepared for work. First step is make sure your rotator cuff muscles are strong.
And prepare them for exercise by doing a “few” push-ups.
Before working out, kneel on the ground and place both hands in front of your knees, as if preparing to do a push-up. The width of your fists should be the width of your shoulders. Do 15-20 reps, and you made your shoulders ready to go.
What exactly happens in the body when you're warming up?
As the blood temperature rises, the amount of oxygen it carries decreases, and thus more oxygen is available to the active muscles. The heated muscle contracts harder, are more explosive and relax faster.
Both muscle speed and strength increase with warming up, and the full range of motion around the joints is enabled.
Warming up takes 5-15 minutes. You are warmed up when the mild sweat starts.
It effects and boosts your exercise in the following way:
- Gradual redirection of blood flow to active muscles
- Prevents the premature accumulation of lactic acid thus delays the possible occurrence of premature fatigue
- Improves coronary blood flow, is less likely to cause myocardial ischemia
- Gradual adjustment of metabolism - oxygen consumption
- A gradual increase in body temperature - the reduced possibility of muscle injury
- A screening mechanism for possible musculoskeletal or metabolic problems that may increase at higher exercise intensities
- Psychological warming
- Increases the elasticity of connective tissue and other muscle components
Please, tell us, how do you usually warm-up before training, and do you do it at all?