Muscle Injuries


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How to Protect Your Muscles Against Injury

injury free weight training

Whether you are a pro or semi-pro weightlifter, you model for a living or you simply spend hours a week getting your body into tip-top shape, protecting your muscles against injury is key. Strains and tears can take weeks or even months to heal, so prevention should be as much of a priority as is getting to the gym on time.

Don't Overtrain

You know you've been overtraining when you suffer from persistent muscle soreness, you are getting injured more often, you feel unmotivated, your resting heart rate is elevated, you feel under the weather, or getting to the gym is just about the last thing that appeals. You may even find that you are thirsty, or that you frequently fall ill. Another almost paradoxical effect of overtraining is that your body goes in the opposite direction of growth; it stops changing despite all the work you are putting in. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to introduce rest days or weeks into your routine, reduce the length of your workout or the number of reps, or stop exercising for a few days until you are no longer in pain, and you feel motivated again.

Exercise in a Safe Gym and Hone Your Technique

Are there uneven surfaces at your gym? Are machines and bars well oiled and fully functioning? Faulty equipment can force you into a position that will result in injury. Technique is equally important. While you are in the pectoral fly machine, for instance, make sure you upper back is straight or you could end up stressing your frontal shoulder muscles too much. Faulty technique can also lead to falls - for instance, on the assisted pull-up machine, which has a moveable platform that can shift up and down.

If you are new to training, it pays to invest in a personal trainer for the first few sessions, to make sure you know all the ins and outs of equipment adjustment - including using the right amount of weight, adjusting pins when necessary, etc. Remember that falls and tears can be very painful, and can lead to long-term pain that require time and extra medical expenses to treat. Sometimes, lengthy medical interventions are required, such as surgery and rehabilitation to repair torn muscles and associated pain.

Warm Up and Stretch

Don't be in such a hurry to complete your workout, that you neglect to stretch and warm up; when you start lifting heavier weights, your muscles are at a risk of being strained or torn if you have not done the preliminary work. One common result of failing to warm up is patellar tendonitis, also known as "jumper's knee", despite the fact that many athletes develop this condition without jumping at all. Therapy usually consists of stretching and strengthening exercises, but in some cases, corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma injection and even surgery are recommended.

Muscles strains are common among bodybuilders; pushing yourself to achieve new goals is important, yet it is vital to be on the lookout for signs of overtraining, to rest when our motivation levels or progress is down, and to seek professional help when pain lasts beyond a few days. Paradoxically, muscles sometimes need to rest in order to grow - and more can be achieved by doing less.


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Disclaimer: This information is for entertainment purposes only. We strongly recommend that you consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. MuscleNet.com is not a licensed medical care provider. The reader should understand that participating in any exercise program can result in physical injury and agrees to do so at his own risk. The findings and opinions of authors expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of MuscleNet.com.

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