COMMON INJURIES IN THE GYM
FOOT AND ANKLE
Cause: “People spend their days in front of their computer with rounded shoulders. When your shoulders are rounded and you stand up, your weight falls to the front of your foot. Take that misplaced center of gravity and put it into running shoes, which naturally tip you forward with a heel higher than the toe, and your feet and ankles start to bear the brunt of any impact.
Prevention: “You should look for a running shoe that isn’t too high in the heel, or try a walking shoe, cross trainer or tennis shoe. By helping spread the impact to the whole foot, you’ll prevent problems like plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, anterior compartment syndrome (a compression in the front of the ankle), lateral compression syndrome (a compression at the side of the ankle) and bunions.
Cause: That damn desk job again, unfortunately. “We don’t use our hip muscles during the day. Then we decide to go kickbox or do bootcamp. The result is injury to the . . . knee? “If our feet aren’t stable, due to improper footwear, and our hip muscles aren’t strong, the knee gets all the stress, who says that leg extensions, curls, and presses don’t help resolve the problem because they don’t strengthen the muscles of the feet and hips.
Prevention: “A better exercise would be lunges. With a lunge your hip and ankle are bending together, stabilizing and strengthening the knee. To get even more benefit, do lunges both forwards and backwards, then side to side (also known as “step and squats”)
Cause: Three strikes and your day job is officially in the dog house in terms of your physical health. “If someone is rounded throughout the day in their upper back, and then they go to the gym and do an overhead shoulder lift standing, their upper back cannot extend properly. They straighten and arch upward from their lower back, which has a nervous breakdown [anything from soreness to more permanent injury] because it’s getting all the stress.
Prevention: Remember to stretch and strengthen your upper back to compensate for all that hunching you do at the office. I suggests super-setting in straight-armed wall squats in with the rest of your lifting regimen. “Sit against a wall. Flatten your lower back into the wall, by tilting your pelvis under you. Straighten your arms in front of you, and try to raise arms up to your ears, without letting a gap form behind your lower back. And whenever you can, exercise standing up—really, you’ve sat enough at the office, right? “Standing helps you engage bigger muscles in your body.
Cause: If you haven’t been convinced to hang up your mouse and pick up a hard hat, this just might do it. That carpal tunnel you’re complaining about 9-5 could contribute to a gym injury after-hours. “Your arms have to internally rotate when you type, which puts pressure on the shoulders. “Then you go to the gym and do chest press, shoulder press, pushups, all also with your arms rotated in. The outcome? Supraspinatus tendonitis, an overuse injury of the rotator cuff.
Prevention: You need to externally rotate your arms to balance your shoulders, and a great way to do that is by rowing with cables. “Grab the cables in front of you and pull the arms back, rotating your palms away from you and behind you.
Cause: The other four areas being out of whack lead to a misalignment in your neck, says Price. “If you sit with rounded shoulders, your neck follows your upper back, but then your eyes need to look at the screen, so you arch your neck and you get pain,” says Price. As if work wasn’t a pain in the neck enough, you get to the gym and that poor posture follows you all the way to the bench press, where the real trouble starts, when you’re lying on the bench but your back isn’t flush with the pad. “A lack of mobility and extension in your upper back will put stress on your lower back and neck.
Prevention: Clearly, when doing the bench press, make sure your lower back and neck are supported properly. Then, avoid putting additional stress on your neck with exercises that cause you to raise your arms over your head, especially if you’ve just put in a 12-hour day. Finally, strengthen your mid and upper back—and improve your posture—by doing reverse shrugs. “Sit at the lat pull down. Grab the bar in front of you and do straight arm pull downs. Pull down just the shoulder blades—not the arms—and go just slightly in front of you for three to four inches. You’ll feel it in your lower traps—which, once strong, will help you maintain your posture—and health—whether you’re at the office or at the gym.
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