Now that we have covered some “what not to do’s” (Part 1) lets get constructive in what we can do to reduce the risk or injuries when strength/ weight training. These principles aim to reduce the risk of overload and provide a structure to training that is achievable. These should be discussed with a trainer or professional – dependent on assessment and capability, goals and individual history.
The debate around “proper lifting technique” is heavily covered. Technique for the same exercise slightly varies due to peoples’ anatomical differences, strength differences and injury history so make sure the technique is correct for you! (achieved through feedback from a trained professional).
Structuring the week:
- Breaking up the load on the body and allowing time for muscle fibres to heal and replenish is vital.
- Modify the exercise ranges to ½ range if there is pain so that all exercise is pain free and achievable. Then investigating why certain ranges are aggravating e.g. full squats vs half squats.
- Choosing different exercises that work the same muscle group e.g. glute bridges or cable hip extensions to not irritate any injuries and add variety.
Eating and sleeping
Poor sleep is a prominent risk factor for injury. Ensure you are getting the recommended 7-9 hours a night and consider managing load periods around when you are more or less busy at work and anticipate getting better sleep as this correlate best with strength improvements.
Incorporating single leg or arm work is important when training for strength – as we can have a more dominant or historically “stronger” side that we rely on more heavily when completing double leg or machine exercises.
When including single leg exercises consider the change of weight and the control of the exercise.
The most important take home is – make sure your program has been designed and structured for YOU. Speak to your physio who knows your activity and injury history and can tailor your program to those needs. Whether you are considering getting into strength training or keen to continue strength work whilst recovering from injury there are many benefits from strength training and it doesn’t have to get you injured!