Gym based injuries make up majority of the cliental we as Osteopaths see day in day out. However, injuries that result from gym training can often be avoided with some good advice! So whether you’re a seasoned gym goer or a freshman in the gym world, here are the 10 most common mistakes gym junkies can make.
1. Going Too Hard Too Fast
If you’ve decided now is the time to get into the gym and start your fitness journey, the absolute worst thing you can do is go in too hard too fast! For example, if the last time you worked out in the gym was three months ago, likelihood is your body won’t be able to lift the weights you used to, so start off lighter and build on your resistance. Or if you want to start running with your friends but you haven’t run for a while, ease your way into running with some interval training to allow your body to adapt and avoid injuries.
This is one for the seasoned gym goers, or the trending functional fit crew (think F45 or CrossFit), overtraining is not a good thing. Your body needs adequate rest time, that means managing your time between sessions. Whether you’re trying to put on muscle or trying to lose weight, overtraining will push your body into a state of stress leading to the bodies repair system to break down which can lead to injury. Try to space out your training sessions with morning and night sessions next to allow for more recovery time, and never forget the importance of a rest day!
3. Poor Technique
Poor technique is something as Osteopaths we see often, particularly with the big three lifts: Dead Lift, Back Squat and Bench Press. Technique is EVERYTHING! If your technique is off, your body will wear the cost, whether it be your back, your knees or your shoulders, something will give over time. If you think your technique is causing you problems in the gym, book in for an assessment with one of our Osteopaths for a technique overhaul.
4. Being Afraid to Ask for Help
As mentioned above, technique is the most important component in any fitness routine, however often technique errors can be avoided if you simply ask for help. Trainers in the gym are there to help you, if you’re unsure how to use something or how to perform the movement, ask someone how! By doing this you can improve your training and preserve your body in the long run.
5. Jumping straight to Jumping
With the increasing trend in functional fitness classes and the in-your-face fitness fanatics you see on Instagram, things like the box jump and plyometric exercises have become part of the weekly routine for gym goers. Let’s face it, they look pretty cool, and we all want to look cool when we train. The reality is, something like the box jump requires a combination of strength, explosive power and control, it is complicated. Common mistakes for the general population is going from zero to jumping hero. You must earn the right to jump, just as you can’t hike mount Everest after walking one small hill, so take your time with your training and build yourself up to the jumps, this way you’ll avoid injury.
6. Training Through an Injury
No pain, No gain? Not always the case. If you have sharp, intense pain when training in the gym, this is your body telling you something is in danger. It either means you already have an injury or there’s an injury on the verge. Seek the help of a health practitioner to diagnose the injury and work on ways to train around it. For active rehabilitation of your injury, you can book in for an assessment with one of our Osteopaths.
7. Forgetting to Warm Up
Active warm ups and movement preparation are the key to good training and avoiding injury. Forgetting a warm up leaves you open to injury. Warm up doesn’t mean run on the treadmill for 30 minutes before doing an upper body session, try spending 10 minutes on activating the area you are about to work on, use resistance bands and cables to get the blood pumping to the areas you need and get your body moving!
8. Avoiding a Cool Down
More forgotten than the warm up is the cool down and recovery phase. Often the body will pull up sore and stiff after a session in the gym if you don’t take some time after your workout for recovery. Try using a foam roller post session to release some of the built up tension. Don’t forget the simple static stretches to help reset the length of your muscles. Show your body some love and avoid the body aches.
9. Under Eating
Particularly common with people trying to lose weight, nutrition is the key to proper recovery. Your body needs to be fuelled with nutritious food, if you’re unsure about your dietary needs for your training demands, consult with a Dietician or Naturopath.
10. Lack of Sleep
Sleep is probably the most underrated recovery tool. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not recovering. Prioritise your rest, allocate more relaxing time to allow for optimal recovery.
So there you have it, the top 10 most common mistakes gym junkies can make. Remember your fitness journey is an individual one, enjoy it, feel great and don’t let injuries ruin your gym mojo!