T Nation

Top Tips For Injury Prevention

I know that some people are more prone to injuries and I may have had bad form or did too many pressing exercises to have caused the shoulder injury I got a couple years ago, but now after a 2 year hiatus I’m wanting to get back into lifting but am kind of afraid of getting injured again - especially since it took so long to recover from the shoulder injury I had.

I was always good about stretching, doing mobility work, and foam rolling but I’m beginning to think that they really don’t do much when it comes to injury prevention.

So just curious as to what is considered the best tips to avoid injury and recover post workout?

Keep in the back of your head that you’re gonna be lifting for the next couple of decades, and then act like it:

I think that alone should help to keep your ego relatively in check and keep your eye on long-term progress. Whether it’s slow and steady or in sporadic bursts doesn’t matter that much in the big picture.

Also, never forget that this whole thing is trial and error. If an exercise, technique, or principle doesn’t fit for you, drop it. That means being okay with not doing back squats or barbell deadlifts if they’re not for you, and being okay with doing stuff that might not be right for others.

Recovery is handled by nutrition, first and foremost. Daily diet, as well as immediately surrounding training, will have a huge impact on recovery.

Rest (including but not limited to “sleep”) would be the second-most important factor, because activity/training and rest are two sides of the same coin. The volume, intensity, and frequency of your training will dictate the rest required.


Pick 2 or 3 of your best, most effective rehab moves and do those before your workout, as a nice warm up. Get the little BS muscles going so your body moves right when you lift.

Rotate your grips and hand positions so you don’t beat up your shoulders. Like if you’re going to Incline Bench, use a low incline and a barbell one week. And a slightly higher incline with neutral grip dumbbells the next week. Then you can go back to the low incline barbell, and add a little weight or a rep or 2. And the DBs on the different incline with a neutral grip…

Make a plan where you start out just a little easy for a week or two. Then progress, pushing things for 6-8 weeks. After that, back off a little and chill out for a week or two. Slow down and take a minute to train easy and recover Before an injury stops you. Then when you’re fresh ramp it up again.

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  • Don’t do exercises that leave you feeling beat up, unless they really, really matter to you
  • Avoid large spikes or drops in your weekly volume week-to-week
  • Don’t be stupid
  • Accept that setbacks are inevitable, and learn how to problem-solve accordingly
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  1. Control your weights. No momentum.
  2. If you can’t lift a weight with proper form, then its too heavy
  3. Use a spotter when trying new PRs. Especially with dumbbells, a lateral movement under weight can easily injure your shoulders.
  4. As @FlatsFarmer said, use neutral grip for to protect shoulders, this includes chins.
  5. Increase your reps and reduce your weight.
  6. Remember, there is a difference between pain and discomfort caused by lactic acid. If it is painful stop immediately.

Do you have any suggestions for rehab moves?

If I’m doing upper body I like something to stretch my pecs, biceps and lats. Something mild, like a doorway pec stretch, 1 arm at a time, so I can ease into the stretched position.

Then a move to fire up my lower traps and shoulder blades. Like a Band No Money or a Band Face pull. Or some light rear delt raises with dumbbells.

Sometimes my elbows get sore and I do some Band Tricep Pushdowns to get my triceps going and my elbows warmed up.

For lower body I like to stretch my glutes by doing some kind of knee hugged to my chest move. And stretch my hip flexors with a Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch.

If my hips are achy I’ll do a glute movement like Clamshells(or reverse clamshells) or Band Monster Walks. And a hip flexor move like Seated Psoas Raises or Standing Knee Raises to warm up the front of my hip.

For knees, a hamstring curl move and a short, easy step up kind of move for quads.

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I’ll add: Do plenty, even a slight excess of warm up sets for first excercise of the workout/muscle group
I like the ‘overwarmup’(below) for big move of the day…

Really nail you sleep 5+ days a week: turn off the youtubez and get to bed very early. Make a mental or even written record of foods that make you drowsy and foods that keep you up or restless. Look at bedroom setup, room temperature, top quality mattress if have some coin etc etc

I have to mention focus. When I look at all my injuries, most of them were my fault because I wasn’t focused on what the hell I was doing.
As simple as when I was doing incline DBs and got side-tracked by someone in the gym for a good 15 minutes. I started back by going right to the 90s for the first set and partially tore my bicep tendon putting them in place.

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This is a cool thread. I saw someone write “do 80% of what you think you could do” and I think that’s awesome advice when coming back from an injury or dealing with a move that’s a little risky.