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I’m sure you’ve been injured before.
Felt a few niggles from training? It’s natural
Here are some ways to avoid injuries, train with them and still progress towards your goal.
Obviously, no one wants to get injured in any given sport and I’m sure most of you train safely; however, injuries are inevitable when you strain your muscles week in and week out.
I have hurt myself through simply not listening to my body and taking things a bit too far.
But I have found that it’s these injuries that have forced me to take a step back and figure out better ways of training and looking after myself. They have also reminded me that I am not invincible!

Warm Up Upper Body

I have found that very few gym goers warm up properly before an exercise, if they warm up at all. This is more common in the old school bodybuilding gyms where they used to stress jumping straight in to the workout and getting it done. Most well educated gym goers nowadays realise that this is an almost surefire road to injury. My advice is to incorporate pre-and post-workout stretches into your routine from the off set. With weight training in particular, it’s important for a thorough warm up.

This is not just about jumping on the treadmill for 5minutes to get your heart rate up (though a bit of cardio is helpful). To prepare my muscles for an intense workout, I always warm up with 1 to2 light sets of 18 to 20 reps that are50 percent of my 10-rep max.

This helps loosen up the surrounding tendons and ligaments as well as push plenty of blood through my muscles to prep them for the working sets to follow.

It stretches out the muscle fascia, thereby reducing the risk of injury from a heavier load.
It’s also a great way to get that mind-to-muscle connection and really focus on what it is you are trying to achieve in your working sets. Stretch bands are excellent for creating a controlled tension and maximising flexibility and range of motion in the specific area you’re working on.

I spend more time warming up my shoulders since they are a very common injury area for bodybuilders, particularly the rotator cuff. I will grab some very light dumbbells and go through a few small rotational movements to warm up this area, then performa few very low-weight sets of pressing movements.

I do some stretch band, PVC pipe work, and foam rolling post workout.
Here are a few examples of pre-and post-workout stretches.
If you’re unsure of these stretches, they are easily found and demonstrated on the internet.
PRE* With PVC pipe front pass over, side pass over each way, reverse opener and tricep opener.* With stretch bands front opener, rear opener, lat opener, and band tricep overhead.

POST* Foam roller lats for a minimum of 2 minutes.* Use a kettle bell to roll out delts and chest whilst laying on a workout bench with arm hanging off side (very effective for stretching pectoral major and minor).* Use a lacrosse ball for more specific pressure pointing around the delts, infraspinatus and upper ribs, chest area and lower back.

Lower Body

It is also important to budget a good warm up for the legs since they are the biggest muscle group in the body and will; therefore, take more time loosen up. I like to use box and band mobility drills to warm up the joints in the legs.
PRE* Lunges straight with one leg up on the box, then alternate.

*Lunge on the box with knee forced out under a controlled force with foot and ankle facing forward, then alternate legs.* Finish with a box pigeon position to open up the hips and allow more movement and flexibility in the legs.
*Band mobility stretches also open up the hip.* Lying hamstring stretch under tension, couch stretch, and weighted ankle/squat mobility.When I move onto my leg training session, I start with 2 to 3 sets of light leg extensions, aiming for 18 to20 reps. This gets plenty of blood flowing and warms up the tendons around my knee joints.
I follow this with 15 to20 deep squats with just the bar to get my body used to the movement.

POST* With foam roller, roll each quad out for a minimum of 3 minutes.* Use the bar in the rack to barbell floss your hamstring (because the barbell is smaller than the foam roller, you will be able to apply more pressure and be more specific in pressure point releasing).*

Use the foam roller for your calves and shins.


We can now look at how best to train to prevent injuries as well as training around existing ones. I am on a typical 5 to 6 day a week bodybuilding split, but my training varies depending on if I’m prepping for a show, in an offseason, or if I’m doing heavy weight for a low amount of reps or a lighter weight for higher reps to increase my calorie expenditure, etc.

Over years of training, I have found that constantly hammering my body with heavy and sometimes even silly amounts of weight (“ego lifting”) as well as just a simple lack of knowledge has led to some serious niggles.

The key to sculpting and maximising growth is to vary the tempo, volume, weight, and variations of your workouts (examples include supersets, drop sets, and time under tension training). I’ve learned to listen to my body. I visit my physio once a week for a full body deep tissue massage. It frees any tension in my muscles and sets me up nicely for the next week of training. We also workout a program to improve or eradicate injuries and strengthen my weak points whilst continuing to train. This includes controlled resistance stretch band moves to increase the strength and mobility of my joints.
I vary my workouts from week to week—particularly when it comes to rep ranges.

One week I will do 6 to 8 reps at my maximum weight keeping form with long rest periods.
The next week will involve more high intensity volume with a rep range of about 12 to15 with minimal rest in between sets. I have found that incorporating higher reps into my routine allows my tendons and ligaments to recover from heavy loads.
I always make sure to incorporate at least 1 rest day a week.

However; again, depending on where I’m at in my training cycle, I may incorporate up to 2 rest days a week if I am looking to recover and put on more size. But, most importantly, rest days are one more way to give your muscles the break they need and, hopefully, as appreciation, they will remain injury free!

Week One:
Aiming for 6-8 reps on each exercise performed with 90 to 120 second rest periods (maximum weight keeping form)
Monday-Back and triceps
Tuesday-Chest and biceps
Wednesday-Quads and calves
Thursday-shoulders and abs
Friday-Biceps and triceps
Saturday-REST DAY
Sunday-Hamstrings and calves.

Week Two:
Aiming for 12-15 reps on each exercise with 60 to 90 second rest periods(so weight will be lowered compared to week one) Monday-Back and triceps
Tuesday-Chest and biceps
Wednesday-Quads and calves
Thursday-shoulders and abs
Friday-Biceps and triceps
Saturday-REST DAY
Sunday-Hamstrings and calves

Week Three:
Aiming for 18-20 reps on each exercise with 30 to 60 second rest periods (light weight more intensity with minimal rest time for recovery) Monday-Back and triceps Tuesday-Chest and biceps Wednesday-Quads and calves Thursday-shoulders and abs Friday-Biceps and triceps Saturday-REST DAY Sunday-Hamstrings and calves.

I hope you found this email useful and if you are currently injured maybe you can use it to continue growing closer to your goals whilst allowing your injuries to recover.

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