While the risk of injury decreases when you are fit and healthy, the risk of a workout-related injury increases if you exercise improperly. This can include working out without a proper warm-up, adding too much or too quickly (frequency, intensity or time), or exercising with improper technique or wearing inadequate workout gear such as your shoes.

If you are suffering from a workout-related injury, you don’t have to put your workout goals on hold. Here are 3 of the most common workout injuries and how you can both work around them and manage them safely and effectively.  Please note: it is also important that you consult with a health professional when you have an injury.

Back Injuries

Potential causes:  A sudden movement involving twisting of the spine (typically when the truck/torso is flexed), poor posture and chronic muscle imbalances can all lead to an injury of the back. 

What to do:

  • Lift weights in correct, neutral spine posture
  • Maintain an abdominal ‘brace’ during lifting and during any movements that involve bending/extending and twisting
  • Perform regular strengthening and stretching exercises for your core muscles. Take a Core or CX Worx class to complement your cardio and strength training
  • Decrease the amount of weight you lift and the number of repetitions until your back pain/injury resolves
  • Practice correct posture in standing and sitting throughout your day and reduce sitting time

What not to do:

  • Trunk flexion first thing in the morning
  • Exercises, or working in a range of motion that cause pain

Shoulder Injuries:

Potential causes: Repetitive stress from overloading muscles with excessive weight in an overhead and/or lateral arm exercises.

What to do:

  • Focus on correct head and shoulder alignment - shoulders down and away from the ears
  • Perform pulling exercises (such as cable rows, pulldowns, bent over rows) with under-hand grip (palms up)
  • Warm up shoulders and spine with pain-free range of motion exercises and stretch correctly

What not to do:

  • Overhead press, upright row, triceps dips, lateral raises or lat pulldowns behind the head, until pain-free
  • Exercise with rounded shoulders and back
  • Repetitive overhead work, especially with rounded posture
  • Exercises that cause shoulder pain

Knee Injuries

Potential Causes:  Knee injuries, such as Patellar Femoral syndrome (pain or clicking behind the kneecap), may be a result of muscle imbalance, muscle tightness, poor exercise technique or posture; or gait issues.  

What to do:

  • Stretch the tight muscles - usually IT band, quadriceps and glutes. Use a foam roller or take a BodyFlow or Yoga Class 
  • Strengthen the weak muscles - usually gluteal muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings. Single leg squats (partial range), split squats, hip bridging and side planks are all beneficial exercises to try
  • Ensure the knee remains aligned correctly over the center of the foot during impact
  • Exercise on an elliptical machine or treadmill with a partial incline to strengthen the hip and leg muscles
  • Wear proper footwear with compression and arch support

What not to do:

  • High impact activities such as jumping, plyometrics and running on uneven surfaces
  • All leg machine training
  • Heavy loads and low repetitions