3 Guaranteed Ways to Decrease Your Injury Risk
First and foremost warm-ups ARE proven to decrease your risk of injury during physical activity.
Even better, warm-ups don’t have to be some super complex hour long routine to be effective.
A proper warm-up is any lower intensity exercise that gradually builds up to higher intensity exercise. This means if you had heavy barbell squats for the day your warm-up could simply be a singular movement…squats!! Yes, if you warmed up doing simply bodyweight squats, then moved to the empty barbell, and slowly added load over time you’d be decreasing your risk of injury all the same as if you had done 30 different “pre-hab” exercises before training.
ALWAYS warm-up, but don’t be afraid to keep it simple.
2. Practice Load Management
Despite what influencers will try and convince you of, we know embarrassingly little about injury mechanisms through research.
What we DO have a clear indication of is that injury risk is correlated to training load. Basically, sudden and intense spikes in your training load can increase your risk of injury.
Because we know this for certain it’s important to practice in programming what is called “load management”. This essentially boils down to consistent, moderate training, with moderate jumps in training load. No sudden spikes in intensity, no weeks off from training only to go all out again, just consistent manageable training.
You’re looking to place “just enough” stress on your body that you get your desire training adaptation (I.E stronger muscles, bigger muscles, jumping higher, sprinting faster, etc.). More is not always better.
3. Technique (But NOT What You Think)
This is the very first recommendation you’ll hear from everyone and anyone whenever the topic of injury comes up.
You hurt yourself because of your bad technique, you wouldn’t be in pain if you had better technique, just looking at your form is painful…etc., etc.
This is misinformed. There is no such thing as “perfect technique” or “safe technique” that is applicable to all lifters. I.E you could have 3 different lifters squatting 3 different ways and they all could be squatting effectively and safely but with wildly different form.
That being said your technique should be CONSISTENT from rep to rep. As in your first rep should look the very same form wise to your last rep. It’s when we start to deviate from the movement pattern our body is used to with heavy load that we start to increase our injury risk.
Don’t focus so much on your form reaching a level of “perfection” that doesn’t actually exist so much as you focus on consistent repeatable efforts every time you train.