8 Common Workout Injuries and How to Avoid them

By: Luke Douglas from ripped.me

No physical activity comes with a guarantee that your health will only be improved, on the contrary, every sport brings a risk of numerous injuries that can cause you long-term issues.

From improperly performed movements resulting in chronic pain, to overtraining that can lead to a more severe condition, you need to listen to your body for early signs of trouble in order to be able to prevent it.

Patellar tendonitis

The tendon that connects your kneecap with your shinbone, also known as the patellar tendon is necessary for all basic movements such as extending your leg.

That means you use it every time you run, lift or cycle.   The pain can spread from below the kneecap to anywhere around your knee, deceiving you into thinking that you’re simply tired.

If left untreated, it can significantly weaken your knees.  

And the longer you wait to visit the doctor, the greater the chances are of being benched for quite some time.

Make sure you’re not overloading or over-extending your knees in any movement, stretch regularly and keep an eye on those early warning signals.

Photo by  Nathaniel Yeo  on  Unsplash

Photo by Nathaniel Yeo on Unsplash

Shoulder impingement

Very common among weightlifters, but equally present in other upper-body dominant sports, shoulder impingement can set you several months back in terms of progress.

General symptoms include weakness, pain and stiffness.  

But it’s best to react as soon as you notice your movement is limited.

Shoulder mobility is attained through a proper routine with stretches, warmups before you load your shoulder, and of course, always ensuring correct form when training.

Active release with foam-rolling can help as well.

Aspirin can be useful for the pain under medical supervision, but mobility exercises are your best bet.

Lumbar strain

This one is a no-brainer: the pain you get from overloading or extending your lumbar spine beyond your healthy threshold is typically caused by a muscle or ligament tear in your lower back, or even a herniated disc.

We’ve all seen those scared-cat deadlifts that lead to this issue, so you must always keep your spine neutral and your core braced.

Include proper warm-ups and mobility work, and do isolated core exercises to make sure that your back won’t bend under load.

Using supplementation such as glucosamine can also keep your joints, cartilage and vertebrae healthy and strong.

Hamstring sprain

Hamstrings are also very prone to injuries such as tears.  

These can span from mild to severe and cause you plenty of discomfort.

You can easily “pull” a hamstring when performing a loaded explosive movement, or even endurance-focused exercises when you overestimate your current ability.

Do yourself a favor and always warm up and stretch before and after your training.

And of course, stop as soon as you feel an uncomfortable tightness to prevent a full-scale injury.

Pec tear

Those who love the bench press are the most frequent victims of the pec tear, an injury of your chest muscles or tendons.

This one is as common as it is excruciating.

You’ll immediately know you’ve torn your pectorals because it will turn dark blue or black.

This will seem repetitive, but we cannot stress this enough – proper form, plenty of warm-up and avoiding overloading the barbell are the only preventative measures that will keep your chest safe from pec tears.

Ankle sprain

If you like to hit the pavement or those hardcore mountain trails, you should be extremely careful to avoid spraining your ankle.

It’s not only extremely painful, but can also put you to bed rest for months on end, including occasional rehab sessions which will be slow.

Solid running shoes are a great way to prevent this.

A warm-up routine to match your training and caution are all you need for safe running.

For even further prevention, an ankle brace is also a great option.

Shin splints

This is another one most prevalent among runners.

The sharp pain in your shin caused by muscular inflammation when you put weight on that leg will instantly let you know you have the famous shin splints.

Choosing a softer terrain, as well as moderately increasing your training intensity will keep this injury at bay.

But you should also make sure that other explosive movements in your routine are performed only when you’re up to the task.

Tennis elbow

Not at all reserved for tennis athletes, and in fact very common among weightlifters, the tennis elbow is the result of inflamed muscles in the forearm and your elbow.

It often presents few to no symptoms at all, making it misleadingly mild, but in fact very debilitating.

Strengthening your forearm muscles might not seem like a big deal.

But if your training requires a strong grip, then it makes all the more sense to power up your arms to prevent injury.

That also includes regular forearm stretches and warmups to prepare you for the heavy lifts.

Photo by  Abigail Keenan  on  Unsplash

A final word

Though a lot of these injuries happen from exercise, they are common in everyday life, too.

Making sure to take care of your body through stretching and mobility is a great way to prevent many of them from happening.

And these warnings aren’t supposed to make exercise sound bad.

Smart weight training and cardio keep you strong and organs functioning well.

After a solid warm-up, of course.  :)



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