While it’s impossible to prevent every injury, research shows that strength training can help individuals reduce the incidence and severity of injury. Here are a few tips that can improve your odds of making your body injury-proof.
Fuel Your Workout
Strength training requires energy. Everyone’s different but, as a general rule, you should eat a balanced, light meal or snack 30-90 minutes prior to working out. Aim for a carbohydrate to protein ratio of about 3:1.
At Athletic Performance Training Center, we prefer a dynamic warm-up (no stretching) to prepare for our workouts. Using light-to-moderate weight, try doing kettlebell swings or a barbell (or dumbbell) complex. Body-weight exercises — like burpees — will work, too. You can also do a lighter warm-up set prior to any exercise in your regimen.
Do It Right
Don’t cheat by only pushing or pulling half-way, and don’t get so enamored with the amount of weight you lift that you sacrifice proper technique in the process. Lift and lower the weight (or your body) through the entire, intended range-of-motion.
Push and Pull
Agonist-antagonist paired sets help to ensure that you’re developing muscular balance and joint stability, in addition to strength, by exercising opposing muscle groups (for example, the bench press and row).
Post-workout stretching helps to relax and elongate muscles. Stretching also facilitates oxygenation and nutrient uptake in muscle cells.
Foam Roll (pictured)
If you’ve never tried a foam roll massage, it’s a must. The foam roll uses your body weight and position to deliver a deep-tissue massage. They’re available, inexpensively, and most come with an instructional DVD.
Post-workout nutrition should be consumed within 30 minutes of your workout. Your body needs carbs to replenish muscle glycogen stores (think of glycogen as stored energy) and protein (preferably whey) to rebuild muscle. 16-18 ounces of chocolate milk is a great choice.
It’s the rest days between workouts that help your muscles grow bigger and stronger. Allow a rest day between training days. Rest (including adequate sleep) is essential to the recovery/regeneration process.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!