Everyone seems to be getting hurt nowadays. Whether it’s your friend who threw out his back aiming for a deadlift PR or your friend who injured his shoulder during CrossFit, the pursuit of greater strength, bigger muscles, and high performance has led to a long list of injuries.
Consequently, there’s a major division within the fitness industry dedicated to “corrective exercise“. The aim here is to teach you how to use foam rollers, core training, mobility warm-ups, and other techniques to rebuild your body. However, we think preventing injuries is the best approach.
Here’s a quick guide on building muscle strength without getting injured.
Ensure Your Lower Back Stays Straight
Your lumbar spine is not capable of bending. It would be best if you learned how to keep your lower back straight, not excessively arched or rounded over) on any press, deadlift, or squat. Otherwise, you can experience excruciating pain in your lower back.
The most significant challenge in keeping your back flat comes from the fact that you cannot see it while lifting. Thus, you are not able to fix it yourself there and then. You should get a training partner or coach to provide you with the required feedback.
If this isn’t possible, you should film yourself. This way, you can view the recording later to check if your lower back was straight during the set. You can also take notes to perfect your form the next time you hit the gym.
Learn the Difference between Pain and Soreness
Delayed-onset muscle soreness is a great sign that you have sufficiently worked your muscles. However, keep in mind that it is quite different from the pain you feel after an injury.
Pain in your lower back, along with a tingling sensation or numbness that might extend all the way down your legs, isn’t normal. A pinching or dull feeling in your shoulder when you bench-press is generally an indicator of a rotator cuff issue. You should also pay attention to any kind of irritation you experience inside a joint, as opposed to the surrounding muscles.
Sadly, the fear of breaking momentum while working out makes many people try to work through the pain when the right thing to do is work through the pain. Make sure to always have modifications or alternatives for your favourite exercises. For instance, if you aren’t able to do back squats, try front squats or the legs press.
Similarly, if you find bench-pressing with a bar painful, you should try to press with dumbbells. There are several methods to keep training hard while preventing injury.
Start Slowly and Increase Gradually
When starting out, it’s common for individuals to throw themselves into training at an intensity that’s not just unsustainable but also harmful. Start with a moderate level of exercise of almost 20 minutes thrice every week and swiftly build upon this baseline week on week.
You can also identify your baseline intensity level by using a system known as the perceived exertion scale. This system gauges your physiological response to exercise.
Some will look for additional support to increase muscle strength through a variety of SARMS, including RAD-140 and LGD-4033 products. If you are considering whether you should be buying RAD-140 or LGD-4033 in Australia, here is a quick guide.
Press and Pull
You might love to do bench-press. While we won’t stop you from doing so, we would suggest that in order to prevent shoulder injury, you need to allow your upper back muscles and rear delts to keep pace in terms of strength. In any particular training week, you should chin-up or row as much weight as you bench press.
This means if you weigh 180 lbs. and bench 205 lbs. for three sets of 10, you have to do three sets of 10 reps on chin-ups along with 25 extra pounds around your waist. Nevertheless, this is only an example – set up the sets, reps, and weights however you want to make it attainable but strive for balance.
You could use the same approach for triceps and biceps exercises and hamstring and quad lifts.
Warm-Up Before Starting
A large number of people tend to jump right into weight training without stretching or getting their muscles warmed up. Even if you’re in great shape, your tendons and muscles will be tight when you reach the gym.
If you fail to warm up properly, you risk injury if you mistakenly twist or overextend a joint the wrong way. A proper warm-up goes a long way to preventing muscle injury and requires nothing more than a little walking, stretching, or working the muscles with resistance bands or extremely low weights.
Fuel Your Body
When you’re going to build muscle strength, make sure you don’t go on an empty stomach. While you don’t want to exercise right after a large meal, eating the right foods two hours before working out can ensure you have sufficient fuel for a workout. The same goes for hydration.
You might aim to drink 16 ounces of water two hours before starting your workout and keep sipping throughout to replenish the lost fluids.
Invest in a Personal Trainer
If you don’t know how to start building muscle strength, invest in a personal trainer who can help you start safely and create a fitness plan based on your muscle-building goals. An experienced and qualified trainer can help you avoid many bad habits that impact even the best weightlifters.
This way, you can focus on form instead of weights to attain the best outcomes. A couple of hour-long sessions might be all that you need.
Building muscle strength can lead to injury, regardless of your fitness level or experience. However, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting hurt by following the tips listed above.
If you do sustain an injury in the pursuit of building muscles, follow the RICE technique to prevent your injury from worsening:
- R: Rest your injury.
- I: Ice the injury to prevent inflammation, swelling, and bleeding.
- C: Apply a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
- E: Elevate the injury, if possible, to control swelling.