People begin exercise routines with diverse goals in mind, from building muscle to improving athletic performance or losing excess fat. Often overlooked, however, is the potential for a workout routine to help train up areas that you have previously injured to avoid any future injuries. There are quite a few different ways to go about this, but in this article we will be mainly focusing on people who lift weights and partake in other resistance workouts that can cause serious injury.
For in-depth advice, your best bet is to consult with a fitness trainer. Consulting with a personal trainer is the only way to get specific advice tailored to your body and needs, so we will only go over some basic general advice in this series of articles. We will go about this by doing several different things, including reteaching proper form, teaching proper stretching techniques, as well as doing supplementary exercises to strengthen supporting muscles. These supporting muscles will be the focus of part one.
Strengthening Lower Body Support Muscles
When it comes to strengthening support muscles, the most important thing you can do is to start by identifying any problem areas in which you have previously had injury. For example, if you have had hamstring injuries or knee injuries, this is often caused by over-training your hamstrings in relations to your glutes or quadriceps and vice versa.
The first step will be to not overdo any exercises with weights. It’s best to start out with bodyweight workouts like lunges, static wall squats, and burpees. If you have gym equipment available, you can also add in some leg machines into your workouts. This will do more than just train your hamstrings, but will also train the muscles that hold up the major muscle groups and provide additional support to your joints.
Strengthening Shoulder Support Muscles
Another very common injury that people find themselves struggling with is shoulder injuries, often gained during overhead press. This is common for several reasons, which we will be going over later in the article. In addition to the major muscle groups like the trapezius, the shoulders also consist of several muscles that support them. Included in these are the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor muscles, which support the scapula in connecting to the humerus, which supports joints. Training these supporting muscles will do more than just prevent damage to the muscle itself; it will also protect the joints and ligaments that keep the muscle connected to your body’s overall skeleture.
Some of the exercises for the shoulder support muscles also tie in with some other supporting exercises. Dumbbell lateral raises and dumbbell side raises both have this effect. They also support the trapezius muscles, and the pectoral muscles, alongside the shoulder and the triceps.
The Importance of a Balanced Routine
When you do heavy, compound lifts without proper forms or exercise routines—like overhead press, bench press, squats, dead lifts and others with Olympic barbells like cleans—you will ultimately over-train one specific area of your muscles. This over-reliance on one area will cause you to neglect the supporting muscles that carry the weight your body has to maintain when you are physically picking up large objects. Depending on the area and the extent of previous injuries and recent workout experience, you may also need to start out with no weight bodyweight exercises or even pool exercises.
In our next article, we will continue the series on avoiding future sport and lifting injuries by covering the basics of recommended stretches, proper recovery efforts between exercises, and the importance of proper form.