Best Exercises for Injury prevention
Whether you train for athletic performance or general health and fitness, injuries are a huge burden on your progress and can cause serious misery and performance plateaus. Today, we’re going to take you through the best exercises for preventing injuries, focusing on the three most common places injuries occur: the knees, hips, and shoulders.
Knee exercises to keep you active and healthy
The knees are prone to injury because they are constantly in use and can be damaged through improper exercise technique or hip posture. Knee exercises should focus on balance between the muscles at the front (quadriceps) and back of the leg (the hamstrings). Remember, when performing knee exercises, it is essential to keep the knees and the toes aligned and avoid the knees “caving in” as this will exaggerate injuries.
Single-legged exercises such as lunges, Bulgarian split squats, and the aptly-named “death march” are all great choices for strengthening the muscles around the knee and preventing injury. Hamstring curls and single-legged leg presses can add to this, and between these exercises you have plenty of options for strengthening the muscles. Remember to keep your knee behind your toes while performing squats, lunges etc..
Hip movements for your next leg workout
The hips are complicated, and during your day-to-day life you probably put them in positions that contribute to serious injury. Sitting and other daily activities can put the hips in a compromised position, compress the spine, and cause pain in the lower back and hips themselves. Exercises through the hips focus on reducing tightness, as well as strengthening weak muscles.
Kosack squats are a great example of this: they improve the strength of the legs and hips, while also providing a great stretch and forcing you to use muscles you might be overlooking in your everyday life. Similarly, the
Back extensions are a great, time-proven exercise for improving the strength of the back, glutes, and hamstrings. This exercise is a staple in the development of back strength for Russian Olympic Weightlifters: if it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for you! This exercise requires you to round over at the bottom, and extend at the top, providing decompression and strengthening to the muscles of the hips and back that are most likely to become injured.
Key exercises for a balanced shoulder workout
In the field of sports and exercise, shoulders are one of the most common sites for injury, mostly due to their huge range of motion in 3 dimensions. This means that they need extra care: shoulder “prehab” exercises are some of the most common injury prevention techniques in any gym. Focus on loosening the front delts and chest, whilst strengthening the rear delts and practicing full range of motion under control. This is the keyword: control is the number one thing to think about during your shoulder workouts.
The Face pull is a great example of this – using a cable machine, the tension is constant throughout the movement and retraction of the shoulder blades provides great balance against all the pushing movements (like bench press) and poor, desk-bound posture. Reverse flyes perform a similar function, forcing the opposite movement from what you might normally perform in the gym, and developing the forgotten muscles of the rear delts and upper back. Lu raises (or full range shoulder raises) are a tough but effective way to improve strength and balance throughout the whole range of motion of the shoulders.
Bonus: the best core exercise to prevent injury
Core exercises, in combination with hip exercises, contribute to the development of a healthy and stable spine. Lower back pain affects as many as 80% of people throughout their lives, so core work is a key way to keep healthy.
Sit ups aren’t going to cut it: you need an exercise that stabilises the core and trains it in the way that you use it in your day-to-day activities. The http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_tPfoEByvA8-point plank is the best exercise for core strength, and will force you to develop overall stability and control – something that is very rare, and involved in taking stress off of the lower back. Mountain climbers, V-ups, and planks are all great core strengthening moves.