Exercise is suppose to be good for us all! SO it can really put a damper on things when you get hurt while… working out! I’ve had this happen quite a few times and more often then not, it’s because I think I am superwoman and do too much too soon. Oops…
Anywho… this is a great guest post from my friend Pat. Enjoy!
Avoiding Common Strength Training Injuries For Women
Strength training, whether you are at the gym or at home, is important to any workout. Running a marathon, training for softball, playing tennis or simply wanting to look more toned are all reasons for strength training. Strength training tends to have a bad rap – people think of bulging biceps when they hear the term. Yet on the contrary, most women don’t develop those kinds of muscles because of the level of estrogen coursing through their bodies.
Unfortunately, there are a few common strength training injuries that afflict women. These injuries can keep you off the playing field or out of the gym for days, weeks or even months. This is valuable time spent away from something you love. Yet, these injuries do not just occur in women, but also afflict experienced athletes.
People generally experience these injuries because they have gotten careless and are no longer taking the appropriate precautions. However, by learning how to switch up your routine, add reps and slowly increase a workout, you will be able to prevent many of these injuries from happening.
Muscle strains are very common, and oftentimes, a person doesn’t feel them while they’re at the gym. They feel
them the next day, when just the thought of getting out of bed hurts. Muscle strains can occur anywhere there’s a muscle, such as the arms, legs, back and neck. The way to avoid a muscle strain is by doing a proper warm up and to get your muscles ready for exercise. For instance, if you go right from your job to the gym where you begin with weights, your body hasn’t gotten a chance to get accustomed to the activity.
The muscles aren’t warmed up and as a result, they’ll strain instead of stretch. It’s also important not to overdo things. Follow the correct number of repetitions and sets as recommended. If you think you’re ready for more, increase your routine by only 2-3 repetitions, not 10-12. The same goes for sets.
Almost every athlete has experienced a shin splint at least once in her life. (Taylor butting in: I’ve had shin splints so bad they ended up as fractures… don’t ignore them!). It’s a sharp pain in the shin of their leg, sometimes to the point a person cannot even walk. There are many things that cause this, including overexertion, moving from different workouts within a set too quickly and trying to push too much weight (including squats and leg press).
The good news is, there are many things that can be done to prevent shin splints. The first is getting a good pair of sneakers. Many sneakers are designed for certain sports. As such, ones that have a good shock absorbent platform will be much better than just a plain pair of tennis shoes. Also, gradually increasing your workout is important, so whether you are going from flat ground to an incline on the treadmill or suddenly deciding to go from lifting 100 pounds to 200, you should plan on making the transition in several steps.
Lumbar Pain (Back Pain)
Lumbar pain is best described as either a shooting pain or soft, constant pain in the lower back. It can hurt to stand, sit or lay down when you’ve got lumbar pain. Sometimes it feels like as long as you’re able to curl into a fetal position and stay there, you’ll be fine. Luckily, lumbar pain is completely preventable, just like many of the other injuries women suffer during strength training.
Stretching, again, is a big part of avoiding lumbar pain. It’s also important to make sure that your workouts are balanced. If your workout is focused completely on your back and deltoids, these muscles will become very sore. However creating a balanced workout where a set works your quads, glutes, deltoids and back will ensure that your back doesn’t take too much of a beating.
The amount of weight you are using can be a huge factor in lumbar pain as well. If you are experiencing back pain after every workout, it’s time to decrease the amount you are lifting.
Bone bruising is a trauma to the bone, and is usually caused by a fall or when an object strikes the bone. It can be very painful and is quite common during strength training in women. Lifting heavier weights than your body is used to can also cause bone bruises. There are many things that can cause bone bruising, but ultimately, avoiding situations where you could fall or where objects could fall onto you will ensure that you don’t experience this kind of bruising.
For example, using a machine as opposed to free weights can help prevent bone bruises because there’s less chance of dropping weights onto your body. However, if you must use free weights, ask for a spotter. That way there will be someone there to help you if anything goes wrong. It’s also important to wrap your ankles and wrists to provide a little extra support and stability. Finally, be careful not to overexert yourself, as this can cause careless mistakes. These careless mistakes usually result in a person getting severely hurt. Listen to your body and it will keep you safe.
Finally, rushing during repetitions can cause injury as well. Therefore it’s important to pause before going to the next activity within the set, as you can pull muscles if you are trying to hurry through your routine. Make sure every repetition is completed before doing the next one.
Also, in between sets, you should rest a few minutes before starting a new cycle. Take a few drinks of water, catch your breath and do some breathing exercises before you go to the next set. Listen to your body. If you feel out of breath or your muscles are starting to burn, slow it down. Overexerting yourself isn’t healthy and your muscles will suffer.
Regardless of the level of athlete that you are, mistakes can easily happen. However simply finding a trainer at the gym for assistance (or even a fellow athlete) makes it easy to avoid sustaining many of these injuries. There’s nothing worse than not being able to workout because of an injury, so when it’s time to amp up your routine, use caution.
Patricia Walling is a blogger for Medical Billing and Coding. She self-identifies as a perpetual student of medicine, and can be found most of the time researching anything related to the field. She lives in Washington, and as a result of the long winter there is itching for the sun to return so she can run outside and play!