T Nation

Avoiding injuries

It would be helpfull to many if guys over 5 years experience would contribute and tell us what they do to keep their joints healthy.
Many articles focus on getting real big, real strong, doing it real fast.
To be honest a big change takes years and a bad shoulder, knee, elbow etc… slows down our progress.

From what i read using 12 + reps is a plus also a slower tempo.
What i hope to get is stuff like use higher reps 30 or 50% of the time, tempo x for y% of the time, etc…
Thanks a bunch.

Wendler’s 531 program is great for staying healthy.

Staying injury free is the most important part of training IMO.

I’m almost 44 and have built up many nagging injuries over the years. My advice for anyone who has cranky joints and looking to prevent injuries would be not to train with exercises which are known to cause problems. Exercises such as upright rows, skull crushers, bench dips, heavy leg extensions, behind the neck press etc…

Also I would advise them to switch exercises around every 8 weeks. Doesn’t have to be all exercises but anything that is hard on joints needs to be switched out occasionally. Triceps exercises for example can be murder on elbows if not changed regularly.

Another example is bench press. It’s a great exercise for developing upper body strength however for a lot of people if you continue to do it for too long without a change you can develop shoulder problems.

I also would advise periodisation. So this means changing rep ranges hence intensity over the course of a training block. Low reps aren’t necessarily going to cause an injury but if you never change the intensity then it can become hard on the joints.

Warm down, and stretch thoroughly and hard postworkout for a solid 10+ mins. I focus a lot on hamstrings pecs and triceps.

Also for my first couple of excercises I ramp slowly up in weight, starting very light. This basically means I might do 10 warm up sets before I’m hitting my top weight.

I also visit a chiro and get some ART once a month

Hi, The main reason for injuries because of lack of attention to complex exercises and not properly followed its execution.You should always adjust the periods of rest and stress, proper execution of procedures for the muscles with appropriate loads and technique.

My biggest failings have been 1) not listening to my body, and 2) not following a structured program.

If you combine the two you wind up with someone who is always pushing his limits, suppressing pain and ultimately injuring himself.

When younger I could afford to play with injury because my recovery was relatively quick. As I got older my injuries became more frequent and they grew more severe.

When I was younger my program basically consisted of adding an arbitrary amount of weight whenever I could. There was no structure, no periodization, no protocol for what I should do if I failed a lift. If I had a good day and peaked for a lift I didn’t understand why I couldn’t repeat that performance next week and would struggle against it. I basically trained at or above my maximum all the time, which is bound to produce injuries.

Now that I’m older and I have access to way better information via the internet I find reputable programs and follow them. They provide me with a sensible progression, limits, and what I should do when I eventually peak and regress.

Train both smarter and harder, preferably in that order.

sort your posture out and stop doing what hurts.

stop lifting with shitty form

Also, do some kind of mobility drills and activation work as part of your warm up

The concepts of “tissue quality” (foam rolling, using “the stick”/tennis balls/lacrosse balls, etc.) and “movement quality” (mobility, flexibility, exercise technique, etc.) will do more to help avoid injuries than simply using slower tempos and/or using higher reps, both of which would seriously impact how much strength and muscle you’d be building anyhow.

Also, on the nutrition side, other than the obvious need for ample protein, an anti-inflammatory diet (fish oils and other healthy fats, fruits vegetables, etc.) can go a long way, especially in an older lifter.

Use good form. Don’t do stupid shit.

Elbow and knee sleeves might not look cool, but they’ll keep your joints warm. Use 'em!