Best Injury Prevention Exercises
Best Injury Prevention Exercises
So often when we start going to the gym the attention is only put on the exercises we are going to perform. It’s understandable, you have a goal in mind, you want to get to it!
The trouble with that though is we are all guilty of not taking the necessary steps to avoid injury. Proper mobility and flexibility should be essential components of any exercise routine.
By doing just a few simple injury prevention exercises, you set yourself up for more long term success. How? Because nothing sets goals back faster than an injury in the gym.
We’ve compiled four injury prevention exercises for you to work into your routine. Each exercise works to stabilize key muscle movers, including your core, lower back, and other injury prone areas.
A quick note: Injury prevention exercises are just like stretches, meaning that our muscles respond best once warmed up. So do an easy 10-minute walk or something similar before you begin.
The Bird Dog
Since you will be on your knees for this exercise, it is best to perform it on an exercise mat. It’s also ideal to perform it in front of a mirror so that you can check your alignment.
- Begin on all fours. Your knees should be under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
- Maintain a straight back, engage your core muscles, and draw your shoulder blades together.
- Slowly raise your right arm and left leg, keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor.
- Lengthen the back of your neck by tucking your chin into your chest to gaze down at the floor.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your arm and leg back down to the starting position.
- Repeat the motion with your left arm and right leg, also holding the position for a few seconds.
- Return to the starting position. This is one round.
- Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Yes, that plank. This tried and true exercise can help bulletproof your body from injury by strengthening all your core muscles, which you need for practically every movement you make during exercise and day-to-day living. But the plank is often performed wrong, so let’s make sure you’re doing it right to gain its benefits.
How to Plank
- Using an exercise mat, place your forearms on the floor, so your elbows are right under your shoulders.
- Put one leg straight back, serving as a “kickstand” for your body, and then extend the other leg back next to it. Your weight should now be supported by your forearms and toes, the rest of the body should be elevated.
- Look at the space between your hands and press your forearms firmly into the ground; this engages your shoulders.
- Now, squeeze your butt. This makes the glutes the heaviest muscles in the body, meaning you’re now supporting their weight as you plank, enhancing the effect of the exercise.
- If you’re able to perform the plank in front of a mirror, you should see that your back is staying flat and that your hips are not drooping or sticking up like a hill. Try to keep your body as flat as possible (aka, like a plank board). Keep your entire core engaged!
- Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute. That is one repetition. Repeat for 3 sets.
The Forward Lunge
To perform the forward lunge as an injury prevention exercise, simply kneel on one knee. Place the other leg in front of you at a right angle (aka knee over ankle). Lean forward until you begin to feel a stretch in the inner thigh. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs. This is one repetition. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
The Side Lunge
Starting with feet shoulder-width apart, step your left leg out as far as is comfortable, bend at the knee, and lean toward that knee until you feel a stretch. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat the movement for the right leg. This is one repetition. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Injury Prevention Keeps You Safer and Stronger
Integrate these exercises into your daily workout routine, either before or after, to begin protecting your body against injury. After you’ve mastered these exercises, research more, and challenge yourself!
Remember, mobility training is just as important as any other training you’re doing in the gym.