The most common reason a person exercises is to build muscle in order to become leaner and stronger, but we often forget that the primary area we should focus on is health and prevention. A proper exercise routine is capable of preventing injuries that may pop up along the way because of various reasons such as age or everyday activities. Warming up and stretching help a lot, but try these top exercises to avoid injury as much as possible.
Injury prone areas on the body
Typically, the areas on your body that become prone to injury more than others are your back, shoulders, and knees. Your back is primarily at risk because it is often used to lift items from the ground, but the correct method for lifting is to bend at the hips and the knees and use your legs instead of back. Then your shoulders and knees become used frequently because of their high ranges of motion ̶ the knees being the most frequently injured joint on the body.
Preventive back exercises
Back raises – this exercise is often performed to strengthen what is known as your erector spinae muscle group, which are muscles and tendons that run alongside of your spine. They support your torso with your abdominal muscles, so both should get equal attention. The stronger your erector spinae is, the less likely you are to injure your back.
Straight-leg deadlifts – also known as “stiffed-leg deadlifts”. The exercise is performed while your knees are slightly bent, and you bend at the hips while your legs are straight to lift the barbell or dumbbells from the ground. Targeted muscle groups are your back and hamstrings, but you still get a full body workout because it is a compound lift – meaning it exercises multiple muscle groups.
Preventive shoulder exercises
Shoulder press – the other name you might have heard for this is the military press. The exercise is performed by pressing dumbbells or a barbell over your head, but resistance cables can be used as well. The intent is to help your shoulders strengthen through range of motion. Never lock out your elbows or extend your arms too high because serious injury can occur.
Front and lateral raises – both exercises together target your entire shoulder muscle. They allow your shoulders to strengthen while also creating enough range of motion to basically teach your body to be accustomed to that type of movement. Lateral means you are lifting the weight directly from your sides until parallel with the floor, while front raises start from the front of your body and are lifted to chest level.
Preventive knee exercises
Squats – another compound lift that is known to be the Holy Grail for leg training. Performing this exercise will strengthen your knees while also keeping the muscles around the joint strong as well. Remember, keep your back straight, chest out, and bend at the hips to lower the weight down. Then, as you lift the weight back up, you drive your hips forward and stop before your knees are locked. Locking your knees can cause serious injury over time.
Leg extensions – your quadriceps (the large upper leg muscles on the front side) are responsible for a lot of the motions your knees go through. Thus, the reason for them needing to be strong and placed under their own range of motion. This exercise is great for those who have not suffered severe knee pains, but if you have faced this pain, keep the weights light in order to get used to this muscle-strengthening exercise.
The bottom line
You simply need to strengthen your back, knees, and shoulders in order to keep injury from knocking at your door. The exercises provided give a bit of insight into what you must do, but keep in mind that lower weight settings are advised if you are new to fitness training. Seek medical consultation if you have had any serious injuries in the past.