Injury Prevention Through Strength Training: How and Why
No matter your lifestyle, ankle twists and back injuries can happen. One of the best ways to prevent them is to strengthen the supporting muscles that protect joints and ligaments. Scroll on for the basics of creating an injury-resistant body.
Before You Start
It’s tempting to jump right into pumping iron, but without the right technique and prep-work, you’ll end up throwing out your back in the first day of strength training. Here are a few things you’ll want to think about before starting:
Posture and Technique
Strengthening your leg muscles can defend against knee injury, but if you are doing weighted or unweighted exercises like squats or deadlifts with incorrect posture, you can injure your body before you even realize it. Best practices to follow include:
- Whenever possible, do not lock your knees. When you lock your knees, it takes weight off your muscles and puts it on the joints. This damages the joints over time, and detracts from the workout you’re giving your muscles.
- When squatting, never let your knees pass your toes, and turn out your knees to prevent injury and imbalance.
- Lift correctly: to prevent back injury, don’t lean over to pick up even slightly heavy items. Squatting down might take an extra second, but can save you days of pain.
- Don’t try to lift more than you can handle. If your muscles are buckling and dropping the weight into your joints and bones, decrease the weight.
Back Injury Prevention
A huge part of preventing back injury is strengthening the core, glute, and back muscles.
Because so many jobs involve sitting at a desk for long periods of time, we end up with inactive glute muscles, that cause the back to bow in and carry the bodies weight incorrectly. Some exercises to combat this are:
- Donkey Kicks
- Walking Lunges
Lining the spine with strong muscles is an important protective measure. These muscles support our entire body and prevent throwing out the lower back. Try some of these exercises the build back support:
- Weighted or unweighted hip lifts
- Reverse Flys
Knee Injury Prevention
Knee injuries are increasingly common, and can become a lifelong issue if not prevented. In addition to exercising properly (correct posture and technique), strengthening the surrounding muscles can take pressure off the knee joint and make you less prone to knee injury and pain. Some exercises to add to your routine are:
- The Stepmill, or just taking the stairs when you can
- Lying leg raises
- Standing straight leg raises
For a deeper explanation of the reasons behind knee pain and more exercises, read this article.
Ankle Injury Prevention
From mild to severe, perhaps the most common joint injury is the ankle. Rolls, sprains, and even breaks happen every day. Building strength around the ankle can make these injuries less likely, and help you recover faster when they do happen.
This article has some excellent resistance training exercises to strengthen the ankle.
A sedentary lifestyle can cause not only tissue injury from falls or lifting weight, but painful, chronic injuries such as chronic back and neck pain. If you spend a lot of time at a desk, having bad posture and inactivity can leave you with constant pain. Beyond this, muscle atrophy and lack of muscle tissue in the body can make you vulnerable to ligament pulls, and sprains. To avoid this:
- Walk when you can and take the stairs
- Don’t forget to stretch before and after doing a physically straining activity
- Try exercises to improve balance
Building your body to protect itself from injury is a daily, conscious choice, and with the right information and 20 minutes a day it’s more than possible.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.