You don't want to get this wrong!
Injuries prevent a challenge and frustration to many of us, be you a weekend warrior or professional athlete. Injuries can be seriously disruptive to progression in either your chosen sport or your training.
But is there anything we can do to reduce our injury risk as a whole? Understanding the reasons why most injuries occur is key and then steps can be taken to reduce these risk factors.
Here's 3 simple steps to reduce your injury risks:
1. Get Strong
Being strong is one of the biggest prevention strategies for reducing injury. If your strength levels are high, you will be able to withstand external forces and joints will not be forced into compromising positions.
Being strong allows your muscles to deal with high levels of force without breaking down.
Build your strength in all areas and ensure all muscle groups are trained to be as strong as possible!
2. Improve Your Overall Athleticism
Being athletic is something we should all be aiming for. A strong, athletic physique is adaptable to whichever environment it is placed in. Athleticism can be defined as the physical qualities that are characteristic of athletes; when we think of professional athletes in most sports we conjure up a picture of someone strong, coordinated and who moves well.
Improve your athleticism by challenging yourself with bodyweight movement challenges such as crawling, hopping, jumping and skipping. Try some basic gymnastic moves to train yourself to control your body in all different positions. This type of training challenges the body in all different planes of movement, moving away from the saggital plane dominant gym moves, such as squats.
3. Get Enough Rest
Most injuries in sport occur in the later stages of the game. This has been analysed thoroughly in research with scientists aiming to understand the significance of this fact.
As fatigue sets in, reaction times become later and movements become slower, even if this is only minor and not visible to the naked eye. These differences in muscle contraction speeds can only be milliseconds, yet is often enough for a player to not get out of the way of a hit or for a joint to be out of position as a player turns.
Similarly from a training point of view, most injuries occur when you are under fatigue. Injuries in the gym or during recreational activities most commonly are seen towards the end of sessions.
So listen to your body, notice when you are getting tired and don't blindly push through training sessions just to get to the end. Ensure the end of your sessions don't require too much technical thought and you aren't putting your body into positions where mistakes could lead to injury.