With weight training, your body needs to working at it’s peak in order for you to have the results you want. Joint injuries are the most common injury in bodybuilding. When you have a joint injury, lifting heavy seems almost impossible.
Joint pain can cause set backs in one’s goals. The best way to prevent injuries is to know how they are caused.
~ Not leaving your ego at the door. What I mean by this, is that some people walk into the weight room thinking they need to lift as heavy as the person next to them. I see it everyday in my gym. It happens with men and women. If you are lifting TOO heavy for your body, chances are your technique/form is off too. Once that happens, it is only a matter of time before an injury occurs. I am not saying don’t lift heavy. I am saying that if the load starts to compromise your form, you need to lighten it up till your body is ready.
~ Lack of proper nutrition. Nutrition is the basis of keeping healthy and reaching your goals. Some tend to shortcut their diet, thinking they can reach their goals just through training. If you are not fueling your body with the proper amount micronutrients and macronutrients, such as Carbs/Fiber, Fats, and Protein, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. As well as, delaying your progress and risking injury. Work as hard in the kitchen as you do in the gym.
~ Muscle strength increasing faster than joint strength. I am Pro nitric oxide boosters and creatine. I utilize both in my training. Both are known to increase muscle strength. This is a GREAT thing. Keeping that in mind, it is also important to know that even though your muscle strength has increased quickly, your joint strength has not. Be sensible when training. I have a system when I decide to I move up in weight, once I can max my reps on my heaviest set, I will add 5-10 lbs. When I know I can PR a lift. I make sure it is on my last set and I do minimal reps. Working up to heavier lifts is important, because you have trained your joints along with your muscles, so they can handle the weight.
~ Lack of proper rest/recovery. Listen to your body. It will tell you what you need. Make sure you are getting a full night’s sleep. Your body spends itself mending and recovering while you rest. Sleep is essential in not only having better progress, but in reducing injury. So is having rest days. Some only take one a week, I prefer two. I take the weekends off. Saturday I am usually sore and by Sunday I am fully recovered and ready to start my week of training again. Not everyone likes two days in a row, so do what feels best to you.
Now that we know how injuries occur, let’s talk about how to prevent them. Setting up training guidelines will help keep you injury free.
~ The right training routine. Personally I switch up my routine depending where I am as far as off season and prep. During off season I utilize more sets with low reps 3-5 per set, longer rest between sets. During my prep I will do less sets with higher reps 10-15 reps per set, less rest between sets. I typically never train longer than 60 mins. My leg day does tend to run a bit longer, but I believe that going too much over that is overkill.
~ Proper execution/technique. Like I said before, leave your ego at the door. If you are jerking your body to lift a weight, lower the weight. For example a common issue I see with the basic dumbbell curl. I see individuals jerking their arms and bodies trying to get the weight up. The movement should be fluid, smooth, and controlled. If it isn’t you are at risk of a wrist injury, or worse. Another example is bench press. Many tend to hyper-extend their wrists, or they don’t keep their shoulder blades together, or don’t keep their elbows in tight to the body. All put you at risk for wrist, elbow, or shoulder injury. If you do lift without a coach or trainer, take the time to research the proper form of each lift.
~ Sufficient calories, especially when dieting. Make sure you are eating enough to fuel your body. This is mainly to those who are in a calorie deficit. Not sure where the magic number 1200 calories came from, but for most, that is too low. There are many calculators online to find out what is a healthy deficit for you. We are all on a learning curve, so be sure to do your research. I had a reader last year talk to me about TDEE or Total Daily Energy Expenditure. I didn’t know what this meant or how it affected my calories. I researched and learned. There is nothing wrong with learning. It is part of the process. I personally use the calculator on IIFYM.com , but like I stated, there are many online calculators to help you figure it all out.
Supplementation is a huge part of keeping your joints protected. They are essential to insure your body will operate at maximum efficiency.
~ MicroNutrients. When you lack in micronutrients, your body suffers as a whole. Keeping your body fueled with premium fuel is important to your function. Vitamins and minerals convert in your body to promote muscle building, fat loss, high energy levels, as well as controlling all of the vial functions of the brain. Without them, your body will not run properly. Which can affect not only your joint health, but your overall health. Multi-Vitamins are perfect for making sure you are covering all of your micro-nutrient bases. My personal choice is Saturn Supplement’s One Source. It’s the absolute strongest Vitamin & Mineral Pack on the market. You cannot always be sure of getting all the nutrients you need from food, and Saturn’s One-Source Pack is designed to enrich your body with a complete dietary supplement-perfect for everyday taking. Each Freshness-Assured packet provides the best that natural vitamins and minerals have to offer. I love them, because they are grab and go, no sorting necessary.
~ Amino Acids. They have many amazing effects on our bodies and our health. Certain ones, boost more benefits for your cartilage, muscle tissue, and prevent from joint damage. For example, Methionine, Arginine, and Alanine. Aminos are important for everyone! I use Saturn Supplement’s Amino Pump 50000 I have used several other brands in the past. I have been using Saturn’s formula for two years now and can definitely say I could see and feel a difference in quality from other brands. Saturn’s Amino Pump 50000 is an easy-to-digest soluble concentrated amino-protein formula enriched with a powerful ratio of BCAA’s, Nitric Oxide and a full spectrum of Pharma-Engineered predigested amino acids that can be quickly and efficiently utilized by the body. The ultimate way to build solid muscle is to have a constant intake of powerful, pumping amino acids, and that’s exactly what Amino Pump 50000 does for you. Each serving provides your body with an impressive nitrogen retention source of amino acid protein which helps you to achieve maximum muscle growth and protein synthesis while improving the time of muscle tissue recuperation. Amino Pump 50000 may be mixed with water or your favorite protein shake or juice. Saturn’s Amino Pump 50000 can help you enhance the overall muscle protein needed for building a healthy and muscular physique.
~ Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM Reduce inflammation, reduce muscle spasms, enhance blood flow, maintain fluid and flexibility in the joints, develop and renew cartilage, and supports muscles and tendons in the body. Saturn Supplement’s Joint Matrix has all 3 plus extra ingredients such as, L-Hisidine. This is another amino that decreases inflammation and prevents muscle aches, pains, and injuries. Saturn’s Joint Matrix is the ultimate in joint and ligament nutritional support in an easy to swallow single tablet form. This advanced formula provides your body with virtually every important joint and ligament aid known to date. This special formula is formulated in a natural base containing several micro-nutrients and vitamins.Maximum Support Formula to help rebuild, regenerate and maintain collagen and fluids in joints and cartilage. Made with Shark Cartilage, Green Lipped Sea Mussel and Boron for added nutritional support to joints and ligaments!
Training is beneficial to your health in so many ways. Keeping your body functioning properly while you train is essential to reaching your goals, whether they be fat loss, muscle growth, toning, or all of the above. Train Strong, Train Smart, and Train Hard!!!
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References: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-chondroitin_glucosamine_and_methylsulfonylmethane/article_em.htm http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/md88.htm http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/fit-5-joint-pain-weakness