Injuries are nothing new to me. I’ve had soft tissue damage, broken bones, concussions, dislocations, strains, pulls, and even splinters! No, I didn’t get them all from P90X, but I’ve had my fair share of workout related injuries. Some of these were accidents, but others could have been avoided.
There’s nothing that’s going to derail your workout plan and completely demotivate you like suffering an injury while working out. All of that hard work you’ve been putting in and all of the calories you’ve been watching are put on hold and as you spend time going to the doctor, performing rehabilitation moves, resting, and waiting. Oh the waiting. So many of these injuries, particularly chronic injuries can take a very long time to recover from. Follow these tips to keep you away from the physical therapist and continuing to push play!
Warm Up Properly
Sure, you could just jump right into a workout without doing a warm up and many times you’ll suffer no ill effects. Pulling this off a few times will lead you believe that you can save time by skipping the warm up portions altogether. Wrong! You’ve gotten lucky.
- A warm muscle is more flexible and pliable when warm than when cool. T
- The increased blood flow through your whole body will make it easier for your blood to get the needed glucose and oxygen from your blood that you’re going to need during the workout.
- Taking that time to warm up with allow you to get into the right mindset to work out effectively. Get excited while you’re hopping around!
Try these techniques for warming up:
- Start your warm-up early. If you know you’re going to be working out as soon as you get home from, pick up the speed on the walk to the car. Take the stairs up to your apartment. Jog out to get the mail. You don’t have to do all of your warm up standing in front of the TV!
- Always start by getting your heart rate up. You need that blood to flow. That blood is delivering oxygen to your muscles giving you energy. Raising your body temperature as a whole will make your entire body more flexible. Being more flexible will make your body more forgiving to mistakes. Whether it’s jumping jacks, climbing stairs, walking, elliptical, whatever, just get your heart rate and breathing up until you start to sweat a little.
- Stretch, but not too much. Static stretching is a small workout in itself. Those long stretches will cause tiny tears in your muscles that need to be rebuilt. So if you’re to get the maximum effort from your workout, don’t overdo the initial stretching. The warm ups that are on the video are generally sufficient to get the kinks out. And that’s the goal. You should really be focusing on stretching the muscles that are particularly tight.
- Warm up like you work out. If you’re about to do heavy curls, do 10 curls with just a can of soup. If you’re about to do pull ups, pull down on a stretch band a few times. If you’re about to lift a heavy barbell, do a set without any weight on the barbell. The idea is to perform the motion without the strain. This will get your body prepare to perform that particular move and will let you know if you’re particular tight during that move.
- Massage yourself. A massage is a great way to get stretched out. Reach up and rub your neck and shoulders. Run the heels of your palms down your thighs. Squeeze your arms and dig into those triceps. Use a foam roller and roll that soreness away.
- Talk yourself up. Take this time to focus on what you’re about to do. What are your goals. Why are you putting yourself through this? Look at your “before” photos. Think about the summer time. What was your weakness last time? Hop up and down! Bring it!
If it hurts, stop!
I’m not talking about a BURN. Burn is good! Burn is muscles getting worked! Ouch is bad! Ouch pain would be an acute pain that may make you want to drop the weight. Ouch pain is not expected. Ouch pain is not what we mean when we say it “hurts so good”.
You’re going to be doing a lot of moves that you’ve probably never done before. You’re going to be hitting muscles that you didn’t know you had. Some of these muscles may not like what you’re doing to them. Some of these ligaments may not be used to being strained. If you have to ask yourself “What was that?” or “Should that be hurting when I move like this” right after the workout, lay off that move! Find an modification to that exercise that works the same muscle group, but without the pain.
It’s hard to imagine how much it sucks to be injured when you’re perfectly healthy and hopping around feeling invincible. Once you do get injured, that’s all you can think of. You’re reminded of it every day. It will often take months for something like a rotator cuff of back injury to feel normal again. It’s really really not worth it. If it means you have to skip a day. Fine, do it! A couple of days longer to reach your goals is going to pay off big time in the long run.
Acute vs Chronic
An acute injury is going to be one of those Ouch moments when you pulled something and know it or when you dropped a weight on your toe. A chronic pain will come up when you’ve repeated a move so frequently or with poor form or both and it starts to hurt. Tendinitis would be a chronic pain.
There are many moves that need to be done correctly in order to prevent chronic pain. Some of them will even start to hurt you if you’re doing them right. All you can do here is to change up the move so that it doesn’t hurt.
For me, push-ups with my hands flat on the floor cause me pain. They didn’t at first, but after a month of P90X, I couldn’t even do 1 without pain. The solution was to get a set of push-up stands. I immediately had no more pain while doing push-ups.
My forearms would start to ache last year doing close grip pull-ups. I can tell that my arms and wrists aren’t in a natural position while doing them. Maybe it’s the shape of my frame or maybe I’m not flexible enough. Whatever the reason, it hurts more an more each weeks. The solution? Don’t do them! I switched to doing neutral grip pull-ups in their place and the pain is gone.
I’ve developed wrist issues from doing a lot of curls with heavy weights. It was particular painful when holding the dumbbells palm straight up. The solution? Don’t hold them straight up all the time! I’ll do at least half of the routine with my wrist slanted in a more natural position. I also bought a more sturdy pair of gloves with a wrist strap that I could tighten. Problem solved; Still getting results.
Maintain good form
I know, you heard it all the time. Quality over quantity. It’s true. It keeps you healthy. When you’re slinging around weights you’re both cheating yourself by using momentum and putting strain on the wrong parts of your body. Take it from me, once you’ve experienced an injury, form will feel much more important to you.
Workout in front of a mirror. How can you know if you’re doing it like they’re doing it on TV unless you can see yourself. Getting a cheap full length mirror from Home Depot has worked wonders for me. I can make sure my yoga poses are correct. I can turn sideways during a curl and watch that I’m extending my arms and not cheating. I get to see all of my beautiful new muscles in action!
Do the ab and core workouts!
Ab Ripper X is often skipped by folks who are so worn out from the day’s routine that they either forget or just don’t feel like doing more. Well your core is what’s keeping your back safe. The muscles that support your lumbar spine act as a girdle keeping everything in place. Having a strong core helps in nearly every other exercise you’re doing, even while running. If you see people swinging their arms a lot when they run, it’s because their core is weak and the swinging arms keeps them in balance. When you’re bending over to pick up a pair of 50’s for something like shoulder presses, your core is what’s keeping your back from giving out while getting them up.
Just do it!
Keep these simple concepts in mind each day while you’re doing P90X and you’ll make it through safe and ripped!
What do you do to prevent injury while workout out? Leave a comment below!