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Training hard and avoiding injury – how do they do it?

Ask any professional athlete or recreational lifter what their main concerns are when it comes to training, and they’ll almost certainly mention injuries.

Training hard and avoiding injury – how do they do it?

Whether it’s preparing for elite competition or just keeping fit, most people who take part in exercise want to work as hard as possible in order to see the best results, however this comes with the risk of causing an injury to yourself.

Take NFL players, for example. They need to push their bodies to extremes in order to perform at the highest level, but it’s also essential they avoid injuries where possible. Given the nature of the sport, injuries are quite common.

Anyone who is used to betting during the playoffs will know that many players try to ensure they are at their best for the most important games, including those in the postseason. So, they take measures to mitigate the risk of injury while also training hard.

One of the most effective ways to prevent injuries while training is to ensure correct form when performing exercises. This is particularly important during resistance training, when the body is lifting weights.

Every exercise needs to be performed in a certain way, with the relevant parts of the body moving through safe ranges of motion. Practice makes perfect; if you are new to an exercise, perform it with a light weight and focus on mastering your form.

If possible, have an expert watch you and correct any mistakes, or watch yourself performing the movement in a mirror.

Linked to this is another method of avoiding injury; staying focused during training. If you train often, it can become easier to let your mind wander and let your body go through the motions, and this is when injuries can occur.

Your form could falter or, even worse, you could drop or mishandle a weight and cause damage to your body. When training, even without weights, your mind should always be on the task at hand.

For any sort of training, it is essential that you warm up properly to ensure your muscles are more pliable and elasticated, meaning they are better prepared for exercise. Cold muscles are much stiffer and will not perform movements as naturally, which can lead to injury.

You should aim to spend roughly 10 minutes performing dynamic bodyweight movements that engage the muscles you’ll be using in your workout. The warm-up should elevate your heart rate and get blood flowing to your muscles.

Likewise, it’s important to stretch muscles before you train them. Elongating the muscle relaxes it and loosens it up, making it sufficiently prepared for exercise and lowering the risk of injury.
This can be particularly pertinent when it comes to forms of endurance training that are high impact, such as running. This can cause strains on your joints and muscles, and they need to be properly warm before you get going to avoid injury.

Straps and appropriate footwear can also help to lower the risk of injury when taking part in activities like running and cycling as they offer support and cushioning.

Training hard is naturally going to lead to improvements in performance and overall body composition, but this can be a slippery slope toward overtraining, which can lead to injuries.

By constantly working your body and muscles, you are depleting energy stores and limiting the muscles’ ability to perform movements safely and effectively. Plus, your body needs time to rest in between workouts in order for the benefits of that training to be felt.

Depending on your goals, 3-4 workouts per week should be enough, with rest days spread out evenly. Generally, workouts should last for a maximum of one hour.

Similarly, you should avoid pushing your body too hard. Trying to lift weights or run distances that you’ve never even come close to before can be a quick way of causing a nasty injury. Instead, progression should be gradual and closely managed.

The same applies to endurance training; never try to dramatically push your boundaries all in one go. It’s much safer to make incremental improvements to things like running time or distance and you’ll see more progress in the long run, as you’re less likely to be sidelined through injury.

There are, unfortunately, many different ways you can injure yourself by training, but there are also preventative steps you can take to protect your body and lower the risk of doing it harm.

From warming up properly to allowing your body time to rest, these are methods used by professional athletes and everyday people to keep their training on track and avoid injuries.

 

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