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Muscle Fitness Hacks - Injury Prevention

New to working out or not familiar with the details? We can empower you with the basic information you need to kickstart your fitness journey. 

The first thing to do is to optimise your training plan by including the following injury prevention tips:

Eccentric training

Eccentric loading focuses on the lengthening phase of a muscle contraction by performing that movement for a longer duration and in a very controlled manner. It helps to strengthen the muscles involved. It has also been shown to effectively improve muscle imbalances and aid in recovery from tendon injuries.


This type of training is recommended when you’re using your joints in workouts - especially if you partake in high impact sports. The most likely joints to be affected by tendinitis, such as your ankles, knees and shoulders, should be your starting point.


Remember to target a few joints per session depending on your exercise frequency. Here is how you can breakdown the sessions:

1. Workout your upper body 
Shoulder joint

The shoulder exercises to focus on should target the muscles involved in the internal and external rotation of the shoulder. Have one elbow at a 90-degree angle, with your forearm parallel to the floor. Keeping your elbow parallel to the floor, slowly move your arm inwards towards your body and then outwards & away from the body to the furthest comfortable point. You may use resistance bands or cable machines with low loads.

 

Rear delt flyes with resistance band

Hold the resistance bands in front of you with your arms parallel to the floor. Keeping your arms extended outwards, pull the band apart until both of your arms are on either side of your body (creating a T-shape with your arms & upper body). This workout targets the upper back and shoulder muscles, especially your rear deltoids and the posterior of your shoulder muscles.

You can do this repeatedly to make sure you tire the muscles. 

 

2. Workout the elbow joint

Bicep curl

Bicep curls and triceps extensions

Perform a bicep curl by starting with your arms straight, running parallel to your body. Lift the weights up at a normal duration, but when you lower the weights back down do it much more slowly and for a longer duration. Triceps extension involves controlling the force at which you return to the starting position. This arm exercise targets the biceps brachii as well as the brachioradialis and brachialis muscles.


Remember that form is very important - so avoid moving your elbows and upper arms throughout the movement. Aim to maintain a steady arm.

 

3. Workout your lower body                                         
Calf raises

Standing from a flat-footed position, go up onto your toes at a normal tempo (which is about a second), then slowly lower your heels back down to the ground in a controlled manner - do this until your heels touch the ground.

Other than their positive impact on joint health, calf raises give you that muscle stiffness in your calves that most of us love to feel after a leg day. The workout also helps strengthen your calf muscles, makes them leaner and stabilises your feet and ankle joints.

Calf raise

Squats or lunges

Squats are a strength training exercise that work out different areas of your upper and lower body and muscles. These movements may be performed entirely in a slow tempo by controlling both the downward phase as well as the upward phase.

You can execute it by standing with the feet shoulder-width apart and the toes pointing slightly outward. The arms should be straight out in front of you or at the back of your neck.

You push the hips backwards by bending the knees, ensuring that you keep the back straight and the torso upright.

The movement is similar to sitting back in a chair. Once the knees reach a 90-degree angle or lower, push back up through the feet to straighten the legs. Try to ensure that your knees never move past or over your ankle joints.

Ensure that you do variations of these squats or lunges to get maximum benefits, and you
should increase the number of sets as you get stronger.


We recommend that you at least do:
8 reps
3 sets
60 seconds rest

Squat – 2

The workouts strengthen your joints to ensure you’re able to perform other activities that you do daily, like walking, getting up the stairs, bending and running without injury, amongst others. Good form is key to avoiding injury. You can also include weights if you're stronger, this helps increase the intensity of the workout.


4. Warm-Up

Warm-up involves preparing for physical exercise by performing movements for a short duration before the main exercise with the aim of getting those muscles firing.

The different types of warm-ups are:

Dynamic warm-ups, which involve moving the muscles with the aim of increasing the temperature of your muscles and increasing your range of motion in preparation for the exercise to be performed.

  • A warm-up that is resistance focused will be simulating the exercise movement using lightweight to activate the muscles to be stimulated. If the session is cardiovascular training focused, low-intensity cardio may be applied in your warm-up to gradually increase the intensity.

Flexibility

  • Static stretches involve holding your muscle in a stretch position for an extended period of time around 15-30 seconds, this type of stretch is preferred after a workout, but at times when stiffness still persists, it can be applied prior to a dynamic stretch.

  • When performing explosive movements such as plyometrics, these should be first on your exercise list after warming up, then you can focus on strength training. These movements require optimal performance from the muscles.

  • Doing strength training first can cause muscle fatigue by the time you do plyometrics, which can affect your performance and your technique - increasing the risk of injury. The same applies to explosive movements such as sprinting.

 

5. Technique, posture and form

Ensure that you are performing the correct technique for your exercises to avoid injury while getting the most out of your workouts. This will mean that the muscles you are engaging are reaping the benefits from your session and you can avoid potential joint injuries due to incorrect exercise execution.

If you train in a gym with mirrors, that is why they are there. Please use them for looking at your form and not admiring yourself only! In the tech age, you can even take a video to analyse your
technique if you are uncertain in instances where visual feedback from mirrors is not readily
available.

Exercise progression must be done in a gradual manner such that you do not compromise on your form by overloading on weights as opposed to what you can tolerate. Many injuries may result from wanting to increase your target loads at a rapid rate, aim to increase sets first before aiming to increase the load.

If you are using free weights you may need to be spotted, do not be shy to ask for assistance.

A low training frequency may be recommended when starting out. This will minimise the chances of injury as you build up a tolerance for a greater weekly training volume and will allow the muscle groups to recover in the initial stages of your training. Shorter duration workouts are also recommended. The goal is to get up to speed while doing the bare minimum.


Strengthening lower back (core work)

Strengthening the lower back muscles is an essential part of preventing that back pain that normally prevents us from doing functional duties such as picking up goods from the lower shelf while shopping. As we feel the effects of ageing on our muscles or as a result of a sedentary lifestyle, our lower back may start aching. Every exercise program should aim to target the abdominal area, the erector spinae muscles as well as the gluteal muscles to reinforce your lower back muscles.

Plank

Strengthening will also need to be matched with the flexibility of the spine to improve the range of motion of the spine.

Focus on abdominal exercises such as planks or abdominal crunches, when doing these exercises aim to engage the abdominal muscles for as long as possible whilst in motion and release when your back is on the floor when doing crunches. Do glute bridges to work on the gluteus muscles.

Aim for 8-10 reps
3-5 sets
30-60 seconds rest


Basics - Flexibility and agility

Flexibility looks at the range of motion for a specific joint. This is affected by the muscles, tendons and ligaments connected to that joint. Flexibility can be improved upon by undergoing stretching routines or yoga practice. Key areas to focus on are the major muscle groups, calves, hamstrings, quads, back, shoulders and lower back.

Agility is the ability to move fast and easily allowing a seamless change in direction. Agility drills need to be done while you are still at optimal energy levels, therefore having them as the last part of your session would not be recommended. Agility is needed in most sports. Resistance running can be done with changes in direction to progress agility drills.


We recommend that you schedule your workout plans around your DNAfit results so that you're working with your genes instead of against them. Doing this will enable you to optimise your training so you can see more results. However, if you have yet to take one of our genetic tests, why wait. We have product options that accommodate different people depending on affordability and needs.

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