Virtually everyone who exercises will have aches and pains as a result. The symptoms range from joint stiffness in the morning to sore muscles a day or two after a workout, to an injury that cannot be ignored. Following some positive training principles can help you to avoid injury.
Positive Training Principles
- Progression is perhaps the most important concept to minimize the chance of an injury. The body adapts to things it does regularly and allows gradual improvements in performance.
- Individuals get into trouble when they change their program to either do more or train at a higher intensity, or are attempting to come back after a layoff. Utilizing a 10-percent rule minimizes the chance of injury.
- There should be no more than a 10-percent increase in the amount of training time, amount of distance covered, amount of weight lifted, or number of repetitions performed in your activity.
- Specificity deals with the type of activity included in a workout. Every exercise is unique and there is not a great deal of crossover effect from one activity to another.
- It is risky to assume that one type of exercise adapts you for all others.
- From an injury prevention perspective, you should change your workout routine gradually.
- Overload is the stimulus required for a positive training effect.
- For example, consider weight training, which requires you to push or pull a given weight as you work to make a muscle stronger. If the weight is too easy for you to move, the muscle will not be “overloaded” – that is, it won’t be working at a greater than normal level – so there won’t be a positive training effect.
- Recovery means providing your body the time and environment it needs to adapt to the demands you have placed upon it, decreasing the likelihood of injury.
- Recovery can take the form of an easy workout or a well-deserved day off.
- You can also aid your body’s recovery by cross-training, which keeps your training interesting by adding variety to your workout routine.
- Consistency means staying on track and ensuring that the exercise activity is performed properly.
If you’d like to learn more about injury prevention, we invite you to read our recent Healthy Habits article on 6 Tips for Avoiding Exercise Injuries
(About our guest authors: Veronica Nelson, MBA, CSCS, USAW, HKC, TSAC-F, is Director of Semper Fit Physical Fitness & Aquatics Programs. Lauren King, MS, RD, CSSD, serves as Semper Fit’s Registered Dietitian and Program Manager.)