How to avoid injuries - Part 6

Then when you're back in the gym, reduce your training volume or intensity, and build it back over several workouts, to permit your body to adapt. If you get wiped out again, and provided the components of recuperation are in order, there's something amiss with your training program, and you need to modify it — abbreviate it.


Take heed of a sore back

If you regularly experience a sore back during or after training, investigate the cause, and rectify it. A sore back is a warning that a back injury may be nigh unless corrective action is taken. A back injury is among the most debilitating of injuries.


Increase resistance in small increments

Small increases in exercise weights permit gradual, progressive resistance, in manageable doses. This is easy to do with free-weights provided you have fractional plates. These small plates weigh less than the 1.25 kilos or 2.5 pounds that are commonly the smallest plates in most gyms. Fractional plates are typically quarter, half, and one-pound discs (and 100, 250, and 500 grams). Progressing from, say, 100 pounds to 110 in one jump, when 100 pounds was the most you could handle for 8 reps, is excessive. The 110 pounds — a 10% increase in resistance — would cause a substantial drop in reps and, in many cases, lead to a deterioration of exercise technique. Even an increase to 105 pounds may be excessive. An increase to 101 pounds may, however, be barely perceptible. Then the following week you may be able to increase to 102 pounds, and so on.

With weight-stack machines, incremental progressive resistance can be difficult to achieve, because the weight jumps between stacks are usually excessive — typically 10 to 15 pounds per unit on the stack. The solution is to attach small increments to the weight stack, provided the design of the weight stack permits it. Push the weight selector pin through a small weight plate and then into the weight stack. Alternatively, attach magnetic weight plates to the weight stack.

For example, let's say the weight stack units are 12 pounds, 24, 36, 48, and so on. Once you've mastered 36 pounds, to move immediately to 48 pounds is too much — an increase of a third, which isn't incremental, progressive resistance. But attach two pounds to the 36-pound level, and you have an incremental increase to 38 pounds. Master that, and then move to 40 pounds, and so on. The precise increments will be determined by the available little plates.

Get your own set of fractional plates if where you train doesn't have them.

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