avoiding injuriesNone of us are perfect. Potentially, due to years of improper posture, sports injuries, or even weak musculature, we all have imbalances that can affect proper form and even put us on the fast track to injury. In addition, jumping into a new exercise routine too quickly or doing exercises with improper form can exacerbate a pre-existing injury. It’s very important that you focus on proper form and utilize the proper muscles to complete each exercise. This means no cheating by arching your back on push-ups or swinging your legs on pull-ups. You’re only cheating yourself. Use muscle, not momentum. Every proper form repetition gets you closer to reaching your goals. If you have a pre-existing condition, take your time to work your way up, and stopping if pain occurs or increases. Some exercises may come naturally, while others feel completely foreign. Don’t give up and sit out the exercises that you can’t do. Make the investment in yourself.

You should be able to tell when you’re ready to begin a strength and conditioning program by tuning in to your body. Take it easy and be smart about determining what is normal soreness from a workout and what’s a nagging injury that you’re aggravating. If you think it’s the latter, take a few extra days off and see if the soreness passes. If it doesn’t, you should see a medical professional. Throughout the routine, you should expect to experience mild soreness, especially when you’re just getting started. The feeling of your muscles being “pumped” and the fatigue of an exhausting workout should be expected. These are positive and beneficial feelings. On the other hand, any sharp pain, muscle spasm, or numbness is a warning sign that you need to stop and not push yourself any harder. Depending on your workout, some small muscle groups may fatigue more quickly because they are overlooked. Your hands and forearms may tire out because of the tremendous amount of work that they are doing. If you feel you can’t grip anymore, or support yourself with your hands anymore, then take a rest. It’s far better than slipping and getting hurt.

Here are a few other symptoms to look out for: sore elbows, shoulder (rotator cuff) pain, and stiff neck. Sore elbows are usually a sign that you are locking out your elbows when your arms are fully extended; remember to keep a slight bend in your elbows. (Maintaining a slight bend in any “active” joint is a great rule of thumb.) Pain in the rotator cuff can be caused by poor form or a hand position that is too wide while doing pull-ups or push-ups. A stiff neck can result from straining your neck throughout the movement. This is similar to the soreness caused by “bracing” while driving through a snow storm. Try to stay loose and flexible during your workouts. You may have to “shake out” from time to time. Again, if any pain persists, seek out medical attention or advice.

About the Author

Christopher Kazda is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Chiropractic Technician at New Beginnings Chiropractic, 1861 Business Hwy 18/151, Mount Horeb, WI 53572. He is available Monday through Saturday to help you reach your fitness goals.

Please call 715-302-2153 or 608-437-9990, email at kazdakinetics@gmail.com, or visit www.newbeginningschiropractic.net, for more information or to schedule an appointment.