September 8

Building Bodies Without Injury

Woman Drinking Glass of Water --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Woman Drinking Glass of Water — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Body builders place themselves under tremendous strain. Pushing muscles to failure and challenging them to go further are part of the program, but there are ways to do this right and ways to do it wrong. Consider the following simple ideas for avoiding injury as you start or continue a body building regimen.

Drink Plenty of Water

You hear it a lot from doctors and dentists. Personal trainers harp on about drinking water too. It is essential to hydrate muscles in order to protect them. Muscles function better when they are hydrated and are less likely to succumb to injury: simple.

Warm Up

Cold muscles are likely to suffer strain or serious injury if you launch into tough routines right away. Warm muscles are more flexible. Think of muscles like chewing gum: you could snap a stick of it before it goes into your mouth and is made pliable. Your muscles could snap if you don’t get your blood flowing to supply them with oxygen before executing a move.

Stretch

Stretch muscles after a workout. Focus on the muscle groups you have stressed, elongating just to the point where you can feel them. Go beyond that and you could cause injury: you should not feel pain. Hold the stretch: don’t bounce in it or snap in and out. Give each area a chance to cool down slowly so that you won’t feel pain (or feel less pain) later. You might want to complement body building with yoga as a means of avoiding injury.

Breathe Fully and Slowly

Do you hold your breath during a tough move or when you stretch? It’s common to do that during a rep and to exhale when releasing, but you should breathe all the way through. Oxygen-deprived cells are more likely to suffer: they need oxygen for maintenance and repair.

Eat Well

Food, water, and breathing are also essential to preventing mishaps caused by dizziness and clumsiness. When you don’t supply any of these three, including calories from protein, you are at risk of falling over in the middle of a rep, potentially while holding a heavy weight. Whey shakes are excellent sources of energy for body builders.

Choose the Right Weight

Build up slowly to the weight you hope to lift one day. No one is born with the ability to heft what will eventually be his or her top weight. Lifting a weight beyond your abilities could put you out of commission for weeks, months, or even cause permanent damage.

Protect your Back

Muscles in your back and abdomen are known as your core. Hold this tight while executing a move whether you are twisting or bending. Do not allow your back to arch but tuck your pelvis under. This will feel like a thrusting motion except you hold the posture.