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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.
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
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.
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.