Exercise Injury Prevention Thread
We all know exercise is key to staying in shape. Other than motivation/will-power issues, I've come to realize that the biggest issue plaguing everyone is injuries, especially amongst people who weightlift.

Personally, I started lifting at age 16 when I joined my highschool's football team, became hardcore by age 17, and was putting up (relatively) big numbers by 18 (365 backsquat, 425 deadlift, 275 bench, power clean 225 for reps).

Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Throughout my weightlifting (& exercise) career in the last decade+ I've injured basically every part of body: shin splints, sprained hamstrings, hip joint pain from glute:hamstring muscular imbalance, tweaked my lower back, aches in my right scapular area, pulled tricep, wrist pain and those are just the ones I'm remembering off the top of my head.

Over time, I started lifting less and less, and added restrictions for myself such as switching from barbells to dumbbells, not going for 1-rep maxes and not keeping a detailed journal of what I lifted each workout (which obviously encourages you to try to beat your personal bests). In fact, for a good period while I was traveling I stopped lifting entirely and just did bodyweight work. From the quotes below, it seems this is a common thing:

(06-15-2019, 11:38 PM)dapper Wrote: I hurt my shoulders and lower back a few times. Now I do bodyweight exercises, a lot of walking and taking the stairs multiple times per day at work in addition to my physical therapy.
Via: https://www.swooptheworld.com/forum/show...1#pid10581

(05-29-2019, 07:24 PM)CrashBangWallop Wrote: I used to be considerably bigger and more muscular than I am now. Strength training.

A few years back now I stopped lifting weights really as my body was just falling apart at 33/34.

These days I exclusively train Muay Thai but I'm beginning to get too many injuries for that too. Quite depressing really, but anyway.
Via: https://www.swooptheworld.com/forum/show...92#pid8792

(05-30-2019, 03:37 PM)zatara Wrote: The biggest fitness hacks I've learnt along the way have, sadly, involved coping with the effects of aging. Before 27 or so I never once injured myself working out (injuries picked up in rugby not withstanding). After that little niggles started appearing here and there, with the odd more major injury. I've had to gradually make changes to help minimize those since
Via: https://www.swooptheworld.com/forum/show...07#pid9007

With that said, typing this here today my body feels outstanding. Over the last few years of taking it easy I no longer have any nagging aches and pains... But, I'm also in very "average" shape currently (recently had my bodyfat measured at just over 20%) and am motivated to spend the rest of 2019 getting super fit again (in the past, I've been near-shredded twice in my life with visible abs so I've seen firsthand how big an impact it has on game results).

I am 100% positive I'll achieve my results, as long as I stay injury free (consistency & dieting are not problems for me). While I have a few personal beliefs on how to stay bulletproof which I'll share below in a follow up post to kick off this thread, I want to hear from everyone else their own beliefs/rules/tips/tricks/advice on how to stay injury free. When it comes to the human body, I am a big believer that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. Something that works great for me might not work for you. But if enough people contribute on this thread, I think everybody will find something that can really help them out.

My top 3 tips:

1.) Moving every joint in your body through its full range of motion every single day, without exception

2.) Myofascial release on your "trouble spots"

3.) Removing your ego from lifting, listening to your body's most subtle signs

Details on #1: "Moving every joint in your body through its full range of motion every single day, without exception"

For #1, I originally learned about this concept from Pete Egoscue's books:

"Pain Free"

"The Egoscue Method"

Amazon shows I bought these books back in 2015 and it's made a big difference since then. As somebody who has a sedentary job (computer work at home), I could easily go an entire day without leaving the house, either sitting at a desk, laying on the couch, etc.

I've come to believe that doing that is *toxic* for your body and just leads to all sorts of ill effects. While I no longer use any of Egoscue's specific movements, I am a huge believer that you must, must, must move every single joint in your body through it's entire range of motion daily to stay healthy and mobile.

If you have any chronic pain that you aren't sure the cause/fix of, doing this is my #1 tip for how to resolve it. Just keep it up for a few months and let your body heal itself.

Details on #2: "Myofascial release on your trouble spots"

While #1 is the foundation of keeping your body injury-free, #2 is tailored to your specific life, daily activities and exercise routine. For those who don't know, "myofascial release" is a fancy word for foam rolling along w/ using related implements to essentially massage your own body like a sports massage therapist would (but for free instead of the $60+ per hour that most qualified therapists would charge).

While I don't know the latest on the science behind myofascial release, from my personal experience I am 100% confident that it works. If I have a nagging ache in my body, invevitably there is a spot on my body that I can roll/massage (which might not be the spot that actually hurts) and then in the coming days that ache/pain will go away (along w/ rolling on the particular spot becoming much less uncomfortable, signifying that the myofascia in that area has now relaxed).

In future posts, I will go over the various "moves" I use to roll basically every body part in my body.

Details on #3: "Removing your ego from lifting, listening to your body's most subtle signs"

This one was the most recent revelation for me --- that for most of my lifting career I was driven by my ego to put up as big numbers as possible and that I ignored the signs my body was giving me. As I mentioned, I used to keep a journal with all my sets, reps and exercises. Obviously I was obsessed with trying to beat my numbers over time. While this does lead to results, it also leads to injury (for most people). Now, I am focused on the process of lifting rather than the results. If I feel I've given my body a good workout, then I've met my goal. If the numbers naturally go up over time, that's great, but if not, it's fine.

As for listening to your body --- the absolute worst for this for me was participating in high-level team sports (I was a Division 1 college walk-on in my sport). This forced me to follow the coach's training regimen (6 days a week of lifting), regardless of how my body felt. While this worked great for the olympians I was training with (my school had many), it absolutely wrecked my body. I regularly trained through pain and it only got worse over time.

Now, I never train through pain. If I have any sort of ache or pain I replace my workout with a day of light cardio and foam rolling. This way, when minor issues come up they get taken care of immediately rather than growing into something much more severe.
Never weightlifted in my life, even when playing high school football, and can't think of a good reason for any healthy person other than professional athletes to weightlift, and them only to a very limited extent (mainly to build explosive leg power, preferably using a machine for safety, though single rep deadlift with grip assist, dropping weight at the top, also does this). Bodyweight is fine for laymen and even most athletes. Boxers and wrestlers seldom weightlift and look at their physiques. 10 minutes calisthenics and muscle focused yoga poses (handstand and upward facing bow aka back bridge are muscle focused, for example), 10 minutes stretching yoga poses. That's plenty if you do it daily. Work yourself into shape, then just do the same routine every morning for the rest of your life to stay in shape. Very simple.

Getting to 12% body fat has nothing to do with exercise. Just stop eating so much.
(07-28-2019, 02:46 PM)shemp Wrote: That's plenty if you do it daily. Work yourself into shape, then just do the same routine every morning for the rest of your life to stay in shape. Very simple.

Getting to 12% body fat has nothing to do with exercise. Just stop eating so much.

I understand your POV, but frankly, you cannot build shit working out with bodyweight at home or doing yoga poses. All the vegan lifters IG stars or calisthenics fitness gurus are hitting the gym heavily and drowning in juice.

This is the best approach for normal folks who want to add a bit of fitness to their lives, get healthier etc. And I agree -- for most people this will actually work better -- weightlifting and serious approach to gym strains your body a lot, and even at 23 I am already feeling it and I'm changing my approach to more of a fitness one rather than sacrificing my joints for extra few kilos PR.

Great post from RoadTo100. I'm currently on a similar level to his PRs from when he was 18 y/o and I'm taking a similar approach. Less exercises taxing out my body, less squats and deadlifts at close to my PR level, and less ego.
I think you'd be able to look decent just doing BW stuff such as pushups, dips, pull ups etc. but you'd have to modify the standard versions to make them harder but why not just go the gym, it's worth the time investment.
>>frankly, you cannot build shit working out with bodyweight at home or doing yoga poses.

You don't need to "build shit". The lean muscular tennis player / middle weight boxer body is plenty good enough for most people, and calisthenics/yoga will give you that. What most guys really need is to stay lean and avoid injury, which the OP is failing at (20% body fat!). And no, no need for enhanced pushups/pullups. Regular versions are fine for most purposes. You'll realize I'm right when you get older and can't remember why the fuck you ever cared about dead lift PRs, especially when most women never cared. (And fuck anyone, vegan or carnivore, juiced or natty, on Instagram, BTW.)

Go to the gym and weightlift because you enjoy those activities, not because of some delusional belief that you need to get big, especially when this delusional belief causes injuries and results in 20% body fat like with the OP.
It's been about a month since my OP --- still sticking w/ the routine, though I did get 1 minor injury which I'll detail below.

Thanks for the responses Shemp, Teddy & Sidney.

Interesting debate on whether weight lifting is necessary at all. I think a generational divide is at play here (Shemp you're 50+, if I recall?).

Regarding the divide, I think Arnold Schwarzenegger was the turning point for weight lifting popularity in America, being the first top-level bodybuilder to have a successful movie career. So basically if you were young & influencible in the 80s or later you were more and more likely to be inspired by the action movie badasses with hulking muscles than generations prior (whose action stars were instead just lean & mean).

Regardless, today in 2019 weightlifting is ubiquitous (over 38,000 weight lifting gyms in the USA) and many guys do lift successfully.

On the debate about if lifting worthwhile, there's this famous thread on the RVF on that exact subject:


So for me --- the benefits are clear, and my goal is just reducing the costs (e.g. injuries) as much as possible.

As for my recent injury a couple weeks back, it was truly laughable. Of all things, I strained a muscle in my neck/upper back while ON THE ELLIPTICAL warming up. I had been going pretty hard the week prior (risk #1), and during my warmup was lazily letting my head hang forward (risk #2), then all of sudden felt a strain and weird feeling in the area.

End result was a super stiff & uncomfortable neck for the next 24 hours, much better the 2nd day, and unnoticeable by day 6 (I halted all exercise during that time).

My analysis of the situation:

Risk #1: Was worn out physically and mentally from being in the gym ~6 of the last 7 days prior to the injury

Risk #2: Due to #1 and a lack of focus, I allowed myself to have terrible form (after all, I'd never been injured on a cardio machine before so I wasn't at all vigilant like I would be during a lifting set)

The other "theme" I'd point out here is that an elliptical machine is "unnatural" (that movement wouldn't ever occur outside of a gym). In general, I tend to avoid machines and stick to free weights due to the theme, so now I apply that to cardio and opt for the treadmill over the elliptical.

Anyone else have any recent injuries to share? Or for the thread's original topic, tips to prevent injuries?
One good rule of thumb I've learned: putting an overhead load on an internally rotated shoulder is the most popular recipe for rotator cuff damage.

(Think of sticking your arms out with the thumbs pointing in/at each other and how it requires you to rotate your upper arm, toward you if viewed from the top. That's the internal rotation, and it reduces the amount of space inside your shoulder capsule.)

Modifying your grip to open the shoulder capsule is a "shoulder-safer" form of most exercises. Widening your grip, retracting your shoulder blade, using a hammer grip can all prevent damage. This is well-known for dumbbell or football bar bench presses, but people pay less attention to it doing the shoulder press, lateral raise, upright row, fly movements, etc.
I actually switched from lifting weights to body weight exercises about a year ago, as a result of traveling too often to commit to a gym.

I also messed up my lower back a month before that by doing butt-to-ground squats with a bit of weight. Bad form likely had a hand in that.

I'm not as big as when I lifted weights. But, as I approach 40, I also realize that I have to balance fitness with not getting injured.

Currently doing Convict Conditioning, and still weighing my food on a kitchen scale using recipes generated from EatThisMuch.com.
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Add me to the list of people who injured their shoulder by not putting into a safe position while lifting, in my case, lifting my body doing pullups. I'm not expert enough to describe "safe position". Retraction and external rotation are probably correct terms, but YouTube videos are best at showing what to do and not to do. CalisthenicMovement is particularly good: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4mXX2bvlTd...dex=4&t=0s
Wow, so much I was doing wrong about pullups. In particular, you should NOT wrap your thumb around the bar because this causes wrist flexion and deviation that will put torquing stress on the elbow. Probably why I injured my left elbow in addition to the shoulder injury noted above.


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