One of the top priorities for people who like to lift weights and train hard is preventing injury. And this makes sense for a few reasons!
First, injuries just straight up suck. There’s nothing fun about dealing with a rotator cuff injury, low back pain, knee pain, or any other injury that commonly plagues lifters.
Not only does the injury physically hurt, but it stops you from being able to do the things that you love doing.
Second, the less you get injured, the more time you can dedicate to training, which means that you’ll see better progress over time!
Unfortunately, injuries aren’t 100% preventable, and they are often just a part of the process of being a dedicated lifter or athlete.
That being said, there are things that you can do to help reduce your risk of injury, and we’re going to cover the 3 arguably most important things that you CAN do!
Use A Form Of Autoregulation
Autoregulation is a fancy term that basically means you change the intensity (ie how much weight you’re lifting) and volume (ie how many sets/reps you’re doing) to match your capabilities on that day.
This is REALLY important because your level of performance is going to change day to day based upon many things, such as sleep, nutrition, life stress etc. We call this your readiness.
If your readiness is low for that day for any reason (you were up all night with your newborn baby, you’ve been really stressed at work over a big deadline, you had a big fight with your spouse etc) and you try to go into the gym and hit a PR performance, that effort might be more than you can handle on that day, leading to an increased risk of injury.
For most of our clients, the way that we use autoregulation in their programming is through RPE or RIR. RPE stands for rating of perceived effort/exertion and RIR stands for reps in reserve. These are each 1-10 scales that allow us to say how hard a set of an exercise should be, and for our clients to rate how hard the set actually was.
By using these sorts of scales, we can make sure that the amount of work you’re doing in a training session is the right amount of work for you for that day, and therefore help you prevent injury!
Manage Outside Life Stressors
Like we touched upon in the first tip, all of your life stressors will play a part in your ability to lift and train effectively.
Because of this, it’s important to not only put a lot of effort into your training, but also in managing these other stressors.
That could mean limiting screen time around bed to ensure that you’re getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night.
That could mean meal prepping on the weekends to make sure that you have high quality nutrition throughout the week instead of winging it and getting fast food multiple times per week.
Or that could mean starting some sort of mindfulness practice like meditation or leisurely strolls outside where you disconnect from the stressors of life for a little bit.
The key is that you identify other areas of your life that have an impact on your training, and come up with a plan to improve upon those areas!
Think Of Training As A Marathon
When it comes to lifting and training, it really is much more of a marathon than a sprint. Most of your focus should be on being consistent over the long-term, and not as hyper focused on short term progress (if you’re competing in a powerlifting, weightlifting, or strongman meet on a specific date, obviously this changes a bit!).
When you start thinking of training as a marathon and not a sprint, you’re much less likely to get wrapped up in day to day performance and push yourself beyond what you can handle in the short term, and get injured.
Realizing that you still probably have decades of training ahead of you can help you take a step back and train in a more intelligent way, and ultimately lead to less injury risk and just overall better progress.
If you’re looking for a plan to help you get back into lifting after dealing with an injury, or just develop a training plan to improve your performance and avoid injury, fill out our contact form below and we’ll schedule a free phone consultation!