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How To Avoid Injury When Strength Training

Nov 12, 2022
weights and shoe

So, you’re interested in getting strong... EXCELLENT! When we think about strength training often the mind wonders and pictures tango tanned, lycra coated individuals, lifting, and shifting heavy weights with their bulging muscles glistening in sweat. This “vision” tends to put most people off giving it a go, believing wrongly it isn’t for them.

Strength training is SO much more than just for building biceps or buns of steel, as I outlined in last week’s blog.


As you age, strength training is the crucial thing that counteracts the natural loss of muscle mass. It effectively reverses the effects of aging!!!

Pause on that thought.


"But where to start?" I hear you cry! Many of you have big fears of hurting yourself when starting something new, so play it safe by either not doing anything OR doing the wrong thing.

Well, it all starts with QUALITY.

Not just in your instruction from fab health and fitness professionals. It’s crucial to get the following right and move with quality:



I see all the time, in local gyms and exercise classes, people rushing, sometimes competitively, to get through their exercises. Perhaps they are trying to get it over with, but the fact of the matter is they haven’t mastered the basic movement patterns or technique, THEN they use too much resistance or load. Consequently, their risk of injury increases massively, and they don’t achieve the full benefits of exercising or training. Perhaps that was you during lockdown with Joe Wicks? We know many of you launched head long into training and then hurt yourself several weeks or months in. Your technique was a bit “off” and you didn’t start from the right baseline. Just launched straight in.


The quality of your movement and technique is everything if you want to stay safe AND get the right benefits of strength training.

Perfecting a movement can take time, but, in the long run, it’s going to ensure you ultimately have better strength, fitness, less injury, and more understanding of what works for your body. So, master the basics and stop rushing!


Move Through the Full Range of Movement

Whether using body weight, resistance bands, or weights, be sure you can move through the full range of motion of the movement. This makes sure you strengthen your muscles over their full length. Think press ups. If you can’t get down to the floor when bending your elbows, make it easier by standing up and doing a wall press up. If you get your muscles stronger over the full range of movement first, you will then be able to progress to the higher load equivalent and stand a chance of doing it properly!


Not wanting to repeat myself, the better your technique, the better your results, and the less likely you are to hurt yourself. Ultimately if you are doing a huge quantity of rubbish movements over part of the range, you are waaaaaaaaaaay more likely to injure yourself or get no benefit from the exercise at all.


Slow It Down!

Unlike HIIT or interval training, a fast pace doesn’t mean fast results. If you're moving super-fast, it is more likely you won’t be fully loading the target muscles properly. By slowing down any movement and really mastering the technique, you will need to do far fewer repetitions to get stronger. Less really is more with strength training, and don’t be afraid to use lighter weights whilst you are learning. You will be far less likely to hurt yourself whilst you build up so base level strength in your body.


Just Ask!

If you aren’t sure if you arere doing a particular exercise properly, ask someone! Fitness and health professional love to help and coach you through movements. It’s what they do! They love nothing more than to see you progressing, feeling better and stronger. Don’t deny us that joy! We’d way rather you ask then go hurt yourself and be put off this essential form of exercise.


Breathing is Good for You

You might be tempted to hold your breath while working against a resistance but please don’t. As with day-to-day life, breathing is essential and the right type of breathing has enormous health benefits. The best technique is to try breathing out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower the weight. Be sure to check out some of our previous blogs all about breathing and its importance!


How to Avoid Over-Training

This is when you do too many repetitions and the quantity of training outweighs the quality. Perhaps something you can’t even believe is possible when you are yet to start but it is something to bear in mind!

If things start feeling easier, instead of just doing more repetitions (or reps as we like to call them), make the exercise harder and keep the reps low. For example, you’ve mastered your sit to stand or squat; instead of progressing to doing 50 more reps and overloading your poor knees, add a small load to it by carrying a heavy book or a bag. But keep the reps low again and slow it down.


You Still Need Rest Time

Having recovery time between sessions is key to getting you progressing to achieve those goals. It’s the common area many people forget about. Your body needs rest to recover. Whether it’s enough sleep, quality nutrition and food choices, or even just life balance and managing stress. If you are part of our Vigour Health Club programme you will know all about our 4 pillars which cover this stuff.


Your muscles and body need rest and recovery to allow them to repair, grow, get stronger, and all the other clever physiology stuff that goes on under our skin! If you are doing lots of training, you probably aren’t giving your body the chance to catch up and guess what could be round the corner… an injury.


There Is No One Size Fit’s All with Strength Training

Everyone is wonderfully unique and different. We all have different lifestyles, schedules, bodies, injury histories, needs, and, most importantly we all enjoy different things. This must be considered when looking at quality vs quantity training. Yes, sometimes you NEED to do things you don’t want to. But you should find training enjoyable, worthwhile, and unique to your current demands, life stage and season. Think about what your own goal is, and what weaknesses you have that are preventing you from getting there.


Also consider when you respond best to exercise. Your weekly juggling act is different to others so figure out what time of day makes you feel best. As for how many times a week to strength train, that is easy. The research states twice a week, making it easier for you to do quality sessions.


Progressive Overload

Put simply, without pressing things to continually overload your body, nothing changes. You won’t change.

You see, your body loves to maintain and stay where it is. Its comfortable there and requires little or no effort. However, if you want the benefits and results Vic talked about last week, you’ve got to challenge yourself. You need to slowly, over time, make exercises harder.

It’s no good staying doing the same exercise with the same resistance in the same way. You mastered that and got the benefits months ago. You need to progress things by overloading your muscles, triggering the body to adapt and cope with the load by building more muscle. Without the stress placed on it, it won’t have to adapt, you won’t progress or feel the real benefits.


If you follow the same programme for months on end, never changing the movement, resistance or reps, you will stop seeing positive results and you hit a plateau. This underdoes all your hard work, because your body has adapted to the stress you once placed upon it and now no longer has a new, and more significant stress, to challenge it to develop further. Bottom line you need to keep progressing and changing things to get and keep the benefits.


You can get progressive overload in several ways. Here are some examples:

- lift heavier weights or use a higher resistance band for the same number of reps

- lift the same weight for more reps, increasing overall volume

- lift the same weight and volume over a greater range of motion



There you have it. It’s all about quality not quantity! When starting your strength training, be sure to keep it simple, master those basic movements and gradually progress. Take your time if you want the best long-term benefits without risk of injury.


As always, if you have any questions or would like some guidance on how to start doing this essential type of exercise, please give us a call or email to book a FREE Discovery Visit. We really do want you to feel amazing and strength-based exercise will give you that by the gallon! [email protected] or 01548 852355.

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