Sometimes, I find it easiest to write a blog post about my own experiences. It makes me write about not only the practical side of the topic but also how it effects other things such as your motivation, results and many others.
I have been wanting to write for a while about injury prevention. It’s a topic I have written about before and this will probably not be the last one either.
Injury prevention is something I find extremely important, both as an athlete and as a trainer. Safety is always my number one priority when training clients. Sometimes this gets tricky because a trainer has to push the client to get most out of the session and get the results they want. However, it needs to be done in a safe way. After all, if you get injured, you will be out for days, week, months or in some cases even years! Whatever you were doing at that point in time, was probably not worth this kind of injury.
When I train my clients, whether it’s a private session or group class, I always tell them that form should be their main focus. If they do cheat but it does not affect their safety or risk of injury, I will let them finish and then tell them what to change next time they do the exercise or drill. If it does affect their safety, I will pause the exercise right away and correct immediately.
As for myself from a personal standpoint, I have been very fortunate (and careful) to have a healthy body without any main restrictions or injuries. I have been training hard since I was seven, trained with adults at the age of 12 and did competitive martial arts and bike racing, as well as countless hours of sports in college as a part of my sports education. Anyone who knows me, will tell you I don’t hold back when training either, I give it my all and work my hardest. Through all of this, I have been able to avoid any main injuries that affected me long term (I had a lower back issue at one point but recovered from that). Many and most people I have ever met who trained at my intensity (not clients), have had serious injuries. I believe the main reasons to preventing injuries for myself are:
- I know my body well and know where my limits are.
- Even if I push through my limits, I take calculated risks.
- REST is extremely important, know when to take a break.
- I fuel my body right, nutrition is so vital.
- I take responsible supplements (vitamins, Omegas, and some others such as the following one)
- Glucosamin, Chondroitin and MSM have been very important supplements (comes in one) for me to protect my joints. The difference for me is remarkable.
- I don’t live like a crazy man or do many unhealthy things such as going out, eating or drinking too many bad things.
- I listen to my body.
- Stretch a lot, tight muscles are prone to injuries.
- Personal one: I love massages! They help you recover and stay loose.
- Follow the normal guidelines (warm up well, follow the game rules etc.)
When training clients or groups, I try to share some of these tips with them. It is fully understandable that everyone has their own life and wants to do their own thing. Some things might not even work for someone. However, from my experience, these little and very simple pointers make a huge difference and have kept my joints, ligaments and other parts safe.
Use your common sense and listen to your body. Train HARD but also take care of yourself to prevent injuries!
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.