How to avoid injuries - Part 2

Once you've had a lot of experience with a particular exercise but haven't included it in your program for a few months, take a few weeks to refamiliarize yourself with it before you train it hard.


Apply training discipline

It's easier to use correct technique and controlled rep speed at the start of a set than during the final few reps when the required effort is higher. Hold correct technique and controlled rep speed even on the final “can just squeeze this out” rep. Never break correct technique to force out another rep. Perform correct reps only, or end the set.

If possible, train with a partner who can scrutinize your technique and rep speed, and, by oral cues, help you to keep your technique and rep speed correct.


Use a safe range of motion

Use the maximum safe range of motion for you for each exercise. For selectorized equipment, you may be able to manually delimit the range of motion, if required. Remove the pin from the weight stack, then grip the cable that's attached to the guide rod that runs through the weight stack, and lift it. The top weight plate will rise alone, revealing the guide rod. Expose two holes on the rod, for example, and then use the pin to select the required weight. The gap between the first and second weight plates indicates the reduction in range of motion — two to three inches in this illustration. Fine-tune the reduction to what's required to produce the maximum safe range of motion for you. Make a note in your training logbook of the setting.


Maintain symmetrical lifting

Other than for one-side-at-a-time exercises such as the one-legged calf raise, and the L-fly, focus on symmetrical technique, to apply symmetrical stress to your body.

Don't let the bar slope to one side during barbell work. Keep it parallel with the floor at all times. Both hands must move in unison. For example, in barbell pressing, one hand should neither be above nor in front of the other.

A critical factor behind symmetrical lifting, is symmetrical hand and foot positioning. If one hand is placed further from the center of the bar than the other, or if one foot is positioned differently to the other, you won't be symmetrically positioned, and thus will be set up for asymmetrical lifting.

Load barbells carefully. If you loaded one end of the bar with more weight than the other, you'll lift asymmetrically. A substantial weight difference will be noticeable during the first rep of a set, whereupon the bar should be set down or racked, and the loading corrected.

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