T Nation

Staying Strong, Injury Free.

What are some things you guys have learned from experience, or elsewise that have kept you injury free, or is good for an easy few pounds on your lifts. Here is mine:

-A frozen pizza is ~1000 calories and 60+ grams of protein. eat it frequently. I ate a whole pizza every day all summer.

-bottom partial DB overheads, greatly improved my strength off my chest. Straining against the bell even when you stall out in how high you take that rep is what did it IMO.

-1 board presses for shoulder health. I do my board pressing paused on the boards. Ordinarilly this would absolutely destroy my shoulders with a regular flat bench (tendonitis acting up?). But I’ve never had as bad of DOMS in my pressing muscles. Front delts and upper pecs especially. Any barbell bench pressing I do for assistance will be with boards.

-chains. You are limited in the weight you can use by the bottom portion of the lift in many excercizes. Use chains to make the whole lift difficult, and to mimic the strength curve while using gear.

machine work for powerlifters. My elbows hurt like a MFer, so I dropped dumbell rear delt flys for machine rear delt flys. wala, elbows feel better even though they aren’t fully recovered. I sometimes do RE work in the smith too. Fact is even though powerlifting isn’t about being huge. Gaining weight will make your total bigger. Hypertrophy work is great.

slow reps for powerlifters: same idea, injury rehab.
(thanks to whoever pmed me this, I really appreciate it)

Injury prevention:

WARM UP thoroughly. Get your blood moving, do some mobility work, stretch, foam roll, use the lacrosse ball, everything. I started doing total body warmups for every session, even if it’s only a bench day. I have had a lot less joint pain and muscle “tweaks” since.

Cycle your tricep work. If I do heavy tricep work for too many weeks in a row my elbows will flare up something fierce. Now I do heavy extensions/lockouts/dips for 3 weeks and then back off with cable/band pushdowns. This has kept my elbows fresh.

Always respect the weight. I’ve seen guys get injured because they got sloppy on a warmup set. I’ve had this happen to me, when I tweaked my pec on my last bench warmup set because I rushed my warmup and my concentration wasn’t there, so my technique was off. Always treat every set with respect, no matter the weight. Even if you’re only using the bar, do every rep perfectly for practice.


Second Zep with the machine work note. Machines can be very useful for certain things. I like the Smith for Military presses, CG bench work, and inclines. I love Hammer Strength back machines. And the leg press has its uses for training the legs while deloading the spine.

Working your calves can help your squat. I found this out recently. Building my calves up has helped my stability and with walking weights out of the racks. I don’t really know why, but it has. I think this would not apply if you were a super-wide stance, mono-lift only squatter though.

Mobilty exercises are not just stretching, I need both.

When young stretching (not before or after training) but in the evening helped me prevent small niggles, and helped my sleep’

Now older, pre hab is more important than re hab.

I can never be too strong in my lower back, and hammie tightness is my backs worse enemy.

Strength in my decent in the squat, is more important to prevent knee pain than strength on the ascent.

Overhead pressing, was very important to healthy shoulders when I benched, but then I tried very heavy front shoulder raises barbell, hands on top of bar, shredded my shoulder tendons (west coast sydrome - who would have known.)

Ok since i’m 21 and my body is somewhat in shambles at the moment, I’ll add things that I either don’t do or should do that contributed to this haha:

-Don’t ignore / work through injuries or weak points. They’ll come back to get ya at some point.

-Booze is not the best restorative practice or way to deal with injuries.

I echo x10 the words on foam rolling etc., as well as the cycling tricep exercises.

Flameout is awesome for the small nagging joint pains.

Although i’ve just started doing them, Dante’s shoulder dislocates are great for prehab/rehab/regaining range of motion in the shoulder.

Shoulder Health:

  1. Don’t do dips.

  2. Don’t do DE Bench Presses

  3. Don’t do heavy squats and heavy bench presses on consecutive days. Give your shoulders a chance to recover a little.

  4. Overhead work helps my shoulders stay healthy. This is not true for everyone but may be true for you.

Miscellaneous Health:

  1. No need to go overboard with a dynamic mobility warm up, but do some kind of brief movement based warmup, at least before lower body lifting. Stretching, at least by itself, is not helpful. Stretching cold is worse than doing nothing.

  2. Put your ego on the shelf and stay covered and warm. Long sleeve t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, etc. are good. Keep your joints warm.

  3. Don’t do things you are not prepared for. I knew several people years ago who jumped on the HIIT bandwagon and went out to their local high school track to run sprints. These guys hadn’t run a dead sprint in 5 years, and more than one pulled a hammy on the first go. Always establish a base before you attempt a demanding physical task.

The same would apply to attempting a maximum single in the squat when you haven’t been lifting heavy recently. Much safer to take a few weeks to work from fives, to triples, and then a big single. You will also get a better result.

Miscellaneous Strength Tips:

  1. Pause squats are one of the hardest and most rewarding things you can do in the gym. They help me cement my squat technique, build stability in the hole and strength coming out of it. They work everything a regular squat works, only better. Obviously you cannot load as much…start with around 50 lbs. less than your squat for the same number of reps. Do them beltless. Got this from Rick Gaugler.

  2. The best deadlift assistance lift I ever did was high rep kettlebell swings. I’m trying now to simulate the feeling with pull-throughs…I don’t know if they will accomplish the same thing. If we had kettlebells I’d be using them.

  3. Use the ab wheel. Pause at full extension. Best ab exercise in my opinion.

  4. If you are having trouble getting tight in your upper back when you squat, try a thumbless grip. Since I switched a few months ago, things have been going much better. You must still focus on squeezing the bar.

That’s all I got for now…

the only on-going injury issue I’ve dealt with so far has been a shoulder issue . I read a bunch from these parts on shoulder problems and implemented the following…

1…bit narrower bench grip
2…more rows
4…light shoulder raises
5…dumb-bell pressing almost every week
6…eliminated up-right rows

not sure which played the biggest role/s , but the shoulder issue is 99% resolved .

had a lesser tricep/elbow tendonitis issue . again from info obtained mostly here I learned about glucosamine and eliminated …
1…tricep pushdowns/cable
3…extension based tricep iso-movements

problem solved . I have occasionally worked these back in , but I take it easy on these movements . I miss dips .

currently dealing with a rather severe Plantar Fasciatis flare up . not directly lifting related , but weight gain could be the trigger . not sure how this chapter will end ; corto shots aint gonna happen , and surgery aint gonna happen unless necessary for gainful employment .

a frozen pizza is 1000 calories with 60 grams protein ?

wow , I gotta hit that after next ME squat .

[quote]Ramo wrote:

  1. Don’t do things you are not prepared for. I knew several people years ago who jumped on the HIIT bandwagon and went out to their local high school track to run sprints. These guys hadn’t run a dead sprint in 5 years, and more than one pulled a hammy on the first go. Always establish a base before you attempt a demanding physical task.

That would be me. I figured I would train in the morning and do some cardio shit in the evening to start off the new year. I went to the playing fields and started jogging around and then breaking into full out sprints. It was great blast for a while… then by 3rd set of 40ydsx5 mr. hamstring says fuck off. My coach was NOT happy today.