by Zeke Okely – physiotherapist

A physiotherapist’s guide to injury prevention

The gym is a fantastic place to enhance your fitness levels, build strength, and improve your overall health and well-being. It is important to approach gym workouts with the right approach to minimise the risk of injury. As a physiotherapist, I have witnessed numerous cases where people push themselves too hard or perform exercises with incorrect form, leading to various injuries. In this article, I will share valuable insights and tips to help you exercise safely at the gym, ensuring a productive and injury-free workout session.

1. Warm-up and Stretching:
Before diving into any workout routine, it is crucial to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the upcoming challenges. Engage in 5-10 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking, cycling, or jogging. Follow this with dynamic stretching exercises that target the major muscle groups involved in your workout. Dynamic stretching helps improve flexibility, mobility, and range of motion.

2. Use correct technique:
Performing exercises with correct form is vital to prevent injuries and maximize the benefits of your workout. Incorrect form not only diminishes the effectiveness of the exercise but also places unnecessary stress on joints and muscles. Seek guidance from a qualified professional to learn the proper technique for each exercise you plan to include in your routine. It is a good idea to start with lighter weights to focus on form before progressing to heavier loads.

3. Gradual Progression:
One of the common mistakes that gym-goers make is trying to achieve too much too soon. Gradual progression is key to avoiding overexertion and injury. Increase the intensity, duration, or weight gradually, allowing your body to adapt and strengthen over time. Rushing into heavy weights or high-intensity workouts before building a solid foundation can lead to injury.

4. Incorporate Variety:
Repetitive stress on specific muscles and joints can lead to overuse injuries. To prevent this, incorporate a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups and movement patterns. Include cardiovascular exercises, resistance training, and flexibility exercises in your routine. Additionally, mix up your workout by trying different machines, free weights, or functional training equipment. This diversity will not only reduce the risk of injury but also keep your workouts engaging and exciting.

5. Rest and Recovery:
Allowing adequate rest and recovery time is crucial for preventing overuse injuries and promoting muscle growth. Make sure to incorporate rest days into your training schedule. During rest days, engage in low-impact activities like gentle stretching, yoga, or foam rolling to aid in muscle recovery. Listen to your body and give it the time it needs to repair and rejuvenate.

6. Pay Attention to Warning Signs:
It is essential to pay attention to any warning signs your body may present. Persistent pain, discomfort, swelling, or restricted range of motion should not be ignored. These are signals that something may be wrong. If you experience any such symptoms, consult with a physiotherapist to assess and address the issue promptly.

By following these guidelines, you can minimize the risk of injury, ensure a safe and productive workout session, and achieve your goals!

If you would like to know more, or make an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists, call us on (08) 6389 2947 or click here to book online.

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