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Preventing Common Bodybuilding Injuries

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Fitness
Bodybuilders, as other athletes, must be prepared for injury when participating in their sport. To ignore the possibility of injury is to invite disaster that can interfere with your routine, cause you to miss training or even end a career.

What can you do to avoid injury? How should you handle occasional injuries so that you can get back in top form as soon as possible? Here are some points for beginners AND experienced bodybuilders to keep in mind.

PREVENTION COMES FIRST

Any bodybuilder, whether training daily or occasionally, is likely to experience injury from their training. However, there are important steps you should take to prevent injury and reduce the occurrence of strains, sprains and more severe injuries.

WARMING UP AND STRETCHING

Every session, every time. No matter what routine or exercise you are about to engage in, your muscles need to be prepped beforehand.

Warming up by using a bike, treadmill or quick repetitions with a light weight, will get blood circulating in the muscles and make them more pliable. Stretching them to their fullest degree and holding for 30 seconds will also encourage flexibility. Flexibility and pliability are very important in preventing muscle injury and improving the muscle's ability to respond to the exercise.

Stretching after your routine will also improve recovery time, thus reducing soreness after a session.

PROPER TECHNIQUE

Proper technique is crucial when bodybuilding. Physical laws (including the law of gravity) limit what your body is capable of lifting and the range of motion any muscle can reach. Bouncing or jerking motions and improper grip can cause the weight to pull your muscles and overextend their range, resulting in injuries. Injury can range from minor strains to more severe sprains or ripping that can prevent you from training for an extended time.

Having a trainer show you proper technique is important, as is knowing your boundaries for the amount of weight you can safely work with. You may decide to use wraps on your joints or back to help distribute the weight more evenly, which will also reduce the chance of injury.

If you are training with very heavy weights there are some exercises that should only be performed with reliable spotters on hand. Whether you are spotting for a friend or asking for their assistance to spot you, be sure that the spotter is focused and quick to help or you could face extreme injuries.

PAY ATTENTION AND BE READY

Distraction and fatigue can quickly ruin your progress and put you out of commission (and away from the gym) by causing an accident.

Lifting heavy weights requires concentration and attention to your performance. Chatting with friends or watching other people is distracting and can cause you to lose form and drop weights, pulling and tearing muscles. A dropped weight may also fall on you or a neighbor, causing serious, long term injury.

Over training when your body is not in optimum condition can also cause you to lose grip or push your body beyond its ability to handle the weight. Not eating, lack of sleep, training too often, using too much weight or training without proper preparation or safety can ruin all your hard work, so always train prepared and in good condition for the best results.

If you do experience injury, treat it right away. Minor injuries may just need a day of rest, compression and ice to reduce swelling. Severe injuries should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible or healing time will be longer. Take care of injuries properly to avoid more damage and to start training again as soon as possible.