26 Tips for Injury Prevention During Exercise


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The Secrets to Injury Prevention Exercise is the best medicine, but you have to find the correct dose! Just like drug prescription, if the doctor prescribes too little, the patient will not get the physiological benefit the doctor is trying to achieve. If the doctor prescribes too much, the patient can suffer devastating side-effects and even death. Exercise prescriptions must be carefully crafted to achieve maximum benefit while minimizing risks. The IFPA Personal Training Systems have been painstakingly developed to provide personal trainers with the principles and guidelines to maximize safety and effectiveness. The first two Phases of the IFPA Personal Training System are designed to provide you with all the information you need on the client, to build the best possible Exercise Prescriptions. And best is defined here as the optimum levels of safety and effectiveness. Remember: Phase One, the Client Consulting & Assessment Phase is not only designed to help you convince everyone you talk to, into starting and maintaining an Exercise Program, it is also critically important to ensuring you discover everything you need to know to develop the ideal fitness program for each and every client. This is achieved by developing a clear understanding of precisely what each of your clients wants to achieve and when. Phase Two: The Fitness Testing Phase has been developed so you can determine precisely how fit…or NOT…each of your clients are in overall fitness and each sub-category of fitness within the 12 IFPA Components of Fitness. You then learned in Phase Three: The Exercise Prescription Phase, to prescribe the precise: Frequency, Intensity, Time (Volume & duration of exercise) & Type of exercise your client needed to achieve their goal. Phase Three is where the inordinately high degree of injuries are occurring. While we are seeing relatively low incidents of injury among IFPA Certified Personal Trainers, we are seeing far, FAR, too many injuries occurring among other trainers. To prevent any further damage to clients and the reputation of both personal training and fitness industries, I implore you to share this. Please post it to social media, put it on your web sites, and anywhere else you think it will do benefit to others. 26 Guidelines for Injury Prevention: 1) Frequency: Most beginners, people who have not trained for many months, people over 30 (and the older your clients get, the gentler you must be), the overweight and the deconditioned, must begin with only 2 or 3 days a week of frequency for the following components of fitness: Strength, Speed, Power, Anaerobic Endurance, Symmetry (assuming strength based protocols in use to correct asymmetrical development). Frequency can be more than 3 days for Aerobic Endurance, Agility, Balance, Coordination and Flexibility. Body Composition and Biochemical Balance must be a focus everyday. Many injuries occur because of too much frequency, too early in the program. 2) Intensity: Always error on the conservative side. For the High Intensity Components of Fitness; Strength, Speed, Power, Anaerobic Endurance and Symmetry (Strength Component) you do NOT start the client at the highest intensity they can achieve. You must train them starting around 80% of maximum and build slowly (See Gradual Progressive Overload GPO Principle). Slowly is defined as increases of approximately 5-10% per WEEK! Many injuries occur because of too much and too high of Intensity, too early in the program. 3) Time (or Volume/Duration or exercises). The beginners’ first workouts must start at low intensity sets: i.e. 15 Repetitions, NOT TO FAILURE and only one set to start. The 15 Rep Set will be set so your client could actually perform 18-20 Reps, but you stop them at 15. The second workout can increase the weight (intensity) slightly, but still not to failure. The client should have gained a little strength without muscular soreness. At the new weight (intensity) the client could do 16-17, but again you stop them at 15. By the third session if they have not experienced any pain, you can do a true 15 Repetition Maximum (RM) Set. At 15RM, the client will not be able to perform a 16th Rep with good form and technique. 4) Type: For Strength Training, a personal trainer should opt to start their clients on Machines, at least for the first two weeks for the reasons discussed in the IFPA Personal Training Manual. Since most beginners will initiate their exercise program with Strength Training & this is by nature High Intensity, here are some additional guidelines to follow: 5) The High Intensity Components of Fitness utilize both the ATP-CP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate & Creatine Phosphate and the Lactic Acid Energy Systems. Both of these systems can cause high levels of fatigue in your Neurophysiology Systems. This fatigue will cause lose of muscular motor control causing severe decreases in form and technique which can lead to injury. At the moment the client’s form and technique breaks-down that is Concentric failure. Unless the client has been training consistently for a while and intends to use advanced training programs like the “Cheat”, “Stripping,” “Eccentric,” “Forced Reps” or other High Intensity type training programs, the program stops at loss of form. 6) High Intensity training can cause a hot burning pain in the muscle belly of a targeted muscle. Advanced trainees must achieve this high level of intensity and pain to achieve hypertrophy goals. There can be NO PAIN allowed in a joint, tendon, ligament, bone or any other locale away from the muscle belly. This pain is indicative of damage. 7) Learn to listen to your body. By the time your body feels pain, the injury is already significant. Damage to your body’s tissues occurs well-below your bodies ability to perceive pain. The moment something “doesn’t feel right,” STOP! Don’t be mislead by some of the popular bodybuilding magazines preaching: “No Pain, No Gain.” A drug using bodybuilder can recover faster due to his drug use, though permanent injuries have taken many out of the game…or out of life! Drugs kill! Don’t do drugs! 8) If joint pain (or any non-muscle belly pain) persists for more than a few days, see your doctor. 9) Tenderness at a specific point: If it hurts badly when you push at a specific point (especially if it is a bone or joint or non-muscle belly point) and there is no corresponding pain on the opposite side, you may have a problem that needs medical attention. Far too many people are unaware that they have osteoporosis and strength training at too high an intensity can cause serious damage. If your client is out-of-shape and older…error on the conservative side. 10) Swelling is symptomatic of injury. Follow the PRICE (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) Procedures you learned in the IFPA Personal Training Manual and seek medical attention. 11) Reduced “Range of Motion” (ROM). Your Fitness Testing can determine your clients’ ROM. If the client complains of a suddenly restricted ROM, injury may have occurred. One exception to this is after overly aggressive flexibility sessions or violating the IFPA stretching rules, can cause the muscle to decrease ROM as a protection mechanism to prevent injury. 12) Comparative weakness: compare to the opposite side, is there loss of strength? 13) Numbness and tingling following exercise can indicate a serious problem. It will present as if you feel asleep on your arm with no ready explanation for the sensation – see your doctor. 14) Drop in Performance: In a well-designed program, performance increases. When performance drops, you are heading for injury. 15) Know your signs and symptoms for Overtraining: Increases in RHR (log your Resting Heart Rate each morning before rising), decrease in motivation, energy, performance, appetite, moodiness, agitation, anxiety, inability to get restful sleep, waking-up groggy! 16) If it hurts…Don’t use it! 17) PRICE: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. 18) Don’t live on pain-pills or anti-inflammatory medicine. Listen to your body and determine the cause of your pain. Solve the cause, don’t mask it with drugs. 19) Exercise Regularly: Occasional exercise is not as beneficial as regular exercise. 20) Deconditioning occurs faster than conditioning. You lose your fitness more than twice as fast as the time it takes to gain it. Staying consistently healthy and pain free is the true secret to long term gains. 21) If you don’t use it…You lose it! This is true of all 12 Components of Fitness and the underlying physiological systems. You do not need the physical conditioning of a World-Class Athlete to stay healthy, but you must maintain a healthy level of fitness to prevent chronic disease, disabilities and dysfunctions. 22) Always Warm-Up before exercising. 23) Do not stretch before completing your Warm-Up. 24) Always Cool Down after exercising. 25) Stay hydrated before, during & after exercising. 26) Eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. This requires non-processed foods. Your diet should consist of fresh (or frozen) fruits and vegetables, lean meats and eggs (preferably grass-fed, drug free & hormone free, free-range beef, chicken & turkey). Wild-caught, smaller – cold-water fish like salmon, trout, orange roughy, barramundi, etc. Avoid or limit any processed foods.  

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