4 Gym Mistakes That’ll Get You Injured & How To Avoid Them (Part I)
The back clench…the limp walk…the cracking neck…the above-parallel squat, the droopy shoulder – on any given day you can walk into a gym and spot people with some of these obvious injuries.
Let’s face it: if you are in the gym 3 or more days a week and you are putting in even a medium effort, chances are you’ll eventually tweak something at the very least. It happens to the best of us, but many injuries are avoidable if we pay attention to the details.
Let’s look at some mistakes we make in the gym that get us injured and then figure out how best to fix them:
1. Going in Cold
The ‘do’s and don’ts’ of exercising can be a confusing field to navigate at the best of times. And the debate as to whether or not you need to stretch before lifting may be one of the most confusing debates out there. Despite that, be assured that going in cold will get you hurt.
The Fix: Ease yourself into your routine. Even if you choose to have a warm-up routine prior to working out, make sure you start each exercise with a light weight. Get your muscles and your body used to the movement you’re about to execute and take 3-4 sets before you work up to your 3 rep max.
2. Not Being Hydrated BEFORE You Get to the Gym
You see it all the time in the gym: someone walking around with a 3L milk jug full of water, hoping to stay hydrated once s/he starts sweating. Expecting to reach your daily recommended water intake when you’re already in the gym will get you hurt.
The Fix: the best way to get (and remain) hydrated is to drink water all throughout the day. Science says that it takes about 45-minutes for 600mL of water to take you from mildly dehydrated to hydrated.
3. Lifting With Your Ego
Gyms are full of mirrors for a reason: to check yourself before you wreck yourself. But there are still so many people awkwardly shoulder pressing, bench pressing and squatting 6 reps when they can barely rep 3.
The Fix: Everybody wants to be stronger. That’s why people go to the gym in the first place. So If you insist on lifting “above your weight class” – to steal a term from fighting – please, PLEASE, get yourself a spotter. The gym is surprisingly full of nice people and they would enjoy helping you reach your goals.
4. Taking Lifting Tips From the ‘Big Guy’ Next to You
S/he may look good. S/he may be big. S/he may have been lifting for years. But s/he is NOT who you need to be mimicking for results. That’s just asking for an injury.
The Fix: First things first: someone else’s good or bad form is not your good or bad form. Moreover, your body isn’t their body. For every person that is your exact height, weight and strength, there will be just as many people who squat a little wider or narrower and bench with a big back arch or no back arch. The best lifting tips are going to come from that ‘big guy’ watching you and then telling you what s/he sees.