Truth be told, we ALL have had some sort of injury. Whether it be a twinge in the lower back, achy knees, or tendinitis we all have experienced a bit of joint pain (even with an awesome workout program!). Injuries can not only be painful they can also hinder our mobility. Luckily there are simple things you can do to reduce injuries and improve your mobility.
Here are 4 simple little tricks you can do TODAY to improve mobility and reduce injuries:
Dynamic Warm up:
We all know it’s important to stretch before working out but how you warm up is equally important. There are a two distinct ways to warm up: static or dynamic. Static warm ups are ones in which you are stationary like pedaling on a stationary bike. Dynamic warm ups are ones which involve several joints and muscle groups and require your body to actually move. A good example is skipping or an inline lunge. Dynamic stretches have been found to reduce the incidence of injuries as they “warm up” the joint and muscles which will be used in the workout. They are also more effective in that they are more taxing on our energy systems and typically more challenging than the typical static 10 minutes on bike or treadmill. To reduce the incidence of injuries and improve mobility, best to start off every one of your workouts with a dynamic warm up … even if it’s a couple of “warm up” sets before you start your lifting.
Often forgotten even by trainers, stretching after workouts is crucial to mobility, flexibility, joint health and injury prevention. Take the time and learn some static stretches for each muscle group and spend 5 to 20 minutes stretching! Another good option is to schedule yoga sessions after your workouts where you are intentionally focusing on mobility and range of motion.
Another forgotten tip! Foam rolling is useful before AND after workouts! Foam rolling releases muscle fascia and allows for greater mobility during workouts. It also reduces inflammation caused by weightlifting (which translate into less DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness!) It’s recommended that you foam roll about 20 minutes every day even if you are not working out. Please also take note that foam rolling and stretching are VERY different. Stretching involves you actively trying to move muscle through (and past) a range of motion around a joint. Foam rolling on the other hand directly targets the muscle and is used to release the tension in the muscle and around the joints. Thus, ensure you are doing BOTH!
Breathing and focus:
We are all guilty of this…. Get to gym and lift like crazy without paying much attention to form, breathing and tempo. A big part of being good lifter and in order to build an aesthetic body is to actually FOCUS on muscle being worked and the exercise. Instead of rushing through reps to just get them done, slow down your tempo (for example 3 up, 4 down), take deep breathes, engage your core and FOCUS! It takes a second for your mind to connect to the muscle and recruit fire power to elicit more muscle fibres to work. So give your body a few seconds! You are much less likely to get injured if you are concentrating on every lift and working out mindfully.
Use the top 4 listed little tricks on your workouts and see what a difference it makes. Many of these tricks are used in this program which take a holistic approach to health. Check it out here!