People risk getting hurt because they get distracted easily, Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. “They have their phones all the time and hot women walk by,” he adds. “The result is they are not paying attention to what they’re doing.”
But even the most disciplined and advanced-level gym-goers can be injured if they don’t follow certain fitness precautions. One of them is a warmup session of about 20 minutes. Research shows that doing a few balance, quickness and strength drills before you get immersed in a tough workout can significantly reduce the risk of injury, sometimes by half. “You need to promote blood flow before you exercise,” McLean adds.
The most common mistakes McLean sees at the gym are people not properly preparing for squats and bench presses. “What I tell my clients is to set up like you’re about to lift your heaviest weight,” he adds. “Lock the technique in first and go from there. It’s very important.”
Stretching is also vital to avoid injuries but doing so past their limits tears them and can lead to serious damage. “Stretching over a period of time can cause a strain,” McLean says, “making you more susceptible to joint injuries.” That’s why you should never stretch beyond the point of discomfort. “If you feel pain, stop,” he adds. “If it starts to hurt at a certain point, call it a day or shorten the range of motion.” There is no such thing as “no pain, no gain,” he adds.