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Matt Wilmoth


September 7, 2023

How to not get hurt trying to get fit.

How to not get injured at the gym

One of the reasons people quit exercise or don’t start is a fear of injury.  Too many people give up on running or lifting because they got hurt. There is absolutely no way to guarantee there won’t be problems. There is a risk anytime you get up off the couch. You can easily step in a hole on a run. But if we follow this list we should mitigate most of the training related issues.

Most of the injuries that happen from exercise are what are called over training injuries. Muscle, bone and tendon issues. Thing like tendonitis and stress fractures fall into this category. We aren’t talking traumatic injuries like sprained ankles and ACL tears. These are injuries that develop slowly over time. This means that these injuries have to do with what we do on a regular basis and changing a few things can help a lot.

Food and recovery

Over training injuries are missed named. The number one risk factor for what are known as over training injuries is low levels of food intake. While people blame bad technique or too much volume it usually comes down to under recovery.

The research says it and my experience would agree. If you want to avoid issues you need to make sure you not only eat enough but eat well. By doing this you will not only have the energy for your body to recover but your immune system will function correctly. If your immune systems works your body will repair itself but if its off your repair is off and we see an increased risk for over training injuries.

Progressive overload

The key to results is to do more. More weight, more miles, more sets.

In order for the body to adapt we need to give it a stimulus to adapt to. In order to keep it safe we need to control the increase in the stimulus. Taking small 5 lbs jumps on a back squat is a great idea. Putting 50 lbs on from one session to the next , not so much.

This is even more true when it comes to running. At the beginning most coaches recommend adding 400m a week and even among experienced runners a jump in volume of more than 10 percent is huge.

As a general rule when it comes to strength training don’t add more than 5-10 percent in volume or load a week. Same is true of running volume. This slow steady progression will help you see results and stay injury free.

Control the intensity

High intensity is a short cut to results when its used correctly. Most people get this and think if some is good more must be better. It’s not. Most top endurance athletes do most of their training at low intensity. Levels that most casual fitness enthusiasts would consider what that intensity too easy.

And it is easy. They do it for a reason. It is too hard to recover from moderate to high intensity sessions if they are too long or you do them too often. In fact going over 60- 90 minutes of moderate to high intensity work a week can result in not only an increased risk of injury but also a lot of potential health issues.

The rule of thumb here is to keep moderate to high intensity to 60 minutes a week if you are new to exercise and 90 minutes if you have been training for years. This includes everything from CrossFit to running to boot camp. It all adds up.

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