How to Remain Free of Injury
Written by Dave Thomas
As much as I hate the bravado of injury ambivalence in some circles, what bothers me equally is the opposing notion that if you get injured then your training must be dangerous and awful and you’re a horrible person and should probably have Ramsey’s dogs sicked on you because you programmed deadlifts for someone who sits at a desk.
Most people sit at desks. That doesn’t disqualify you from challenging movement. It just means you need to be more mindful of your body, and we as coaches and professionals need to understand that.
The reality is that productive, challenging training lies somewhere in between high risk and zero risk. You can’t have a program that drives adaptation and have it come completely free of injury risk. That’s not how things work. Just as overdoing running can produce shin splints and stress fractures, playing in Rec soccer can lead to hamstring pulls, and anything else that asks that you try hard. But, if you are mindful of your body, give it recovery, and don’t try to change the world in one workout, you’ll be fine and enjoy lifelong progress.
Here are three things to consider.
#1: Ease Into Things
There is a reason that we offer and at times force new folks to perform certain progressions. It’s not the kids table, it’s just a better option for you as you get started. Taking that a step further, it’s also very important that you develop at lighter weight when learning all of the major movements. This is so that we can allow all of the smaller, stabilizing muscles to develop.
When we dive right into heavy weight, we often bypass that important step.
Let me explain with a video that’s six years old, no hair on my face, and no grey hair.
#2: Listen To Your Body
You know those days when you look at the website and see a big movement? And you get pumped up to come in and move some weight around. You’re all jacked up driving to the gym, you can’t get to the barbell fast enough, only when you pick up that warm-up set and you think to yourself.
“Damn, that was HEAVY.”
Right then and there you have an important training opportunity. You can either listen to your body and adjust your approach, or, you can be stubborn and tell yourself you should be lifting more than this because you know you can.
You don’t have to change the world with every single workout, it’s about allowing the power of compounded daily gains run their course, not making massive leaps every time you workout or lift.
When you’re super sore, take a day off. Take two days off. There’s no reason to beat your body into a pulp.
#3: Get Stronger
The best way to prevent injury is to develop a stronger, more resilient body. Once you have your foundation established, focus on challenging your weights in all movement choices. Remember, you don’t have to be hitting one rep PRs and ringing the bell to train for strength. You just need progressively heavier weight every few times you lift.
That’s it. Not rocket science, but sometimes some good common sense reminders are good for us all.