We’ve all heard someone say that deadlifts are bad for your back. Which is funny because they are actually one of the exercises used for low back pain rehab. This is just one of the many exercises labeled as a “bad exercise”. Also see upright rows, knee extension, or any “knee over toe” exercise. The same thing goes for running, it’s not bad for your knees (honestly it can be good for your knees).
None of these exercises are bad. Now that’s not to say that any of these exercises are mandatory. There could be some other exercises that you could use to achieve the same goal, but the point I am trying to make is that if you love to deadlift, you should be able to do it without hurting yourself. That is if you have the proper guidance.
Most exercise related injuries are because of one thing:
Stress is not always a bad thing. Lifting weights puts stress on our muscles. The cool thing about the human body is that it adapts to stress. The whole point of weightlifting is for the body to say “hey if we increase the size of this muscle, we can lift this weight easier.”
However, our body can only handle a certain amount of stress before it becomes too much. If you quickly increase the workload of an exercise, then you could be overloading the muscle and not allow it to adapt. Hence, you get a strain or sprain.
We can also look at things that affect your recovery from stress. Like getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night or eating enough to support your caloric expenditure. But there is enough to talk about that can be another blog post.
How Important is Form?
The answer may surprise you. It’s actually not as important as you may think. For example, some people create a fear around deadlifting with a rounded back. As long as the rounding is not excessive or the back does not move much while performing the lift, most people will be perfectly fine to lift this way. If you deadlift this way and work up in weight over time, your body can adapt and get stronger.
Some people will be sensitive to a rounded back posture, but others may be sensitive to whatever someone determined to be “good form.” It’s not a black and white thing. There can be some variation from person to person and you just have to find out what works best for the individual.
In general there is no such thing as a bad exercise. The human body can adapt to stress as long as it is not a sudden change and you ease into something. Start with the basic recommendations for form in an exercise and make slight adjustments as needed.
If you are having pain while exercising and are spinning your wheels trying to fix it, then it’s time to reach out to us! Click the link below to claim a Free Discovery Visit and we can talk about what is going, what you have tried, and what your goals are.
Knee pain can plague your workouts. Whether you are a runner, weightlifter, or athlete, there’s a strong chance that you have dealt with some achey knees at some point. It is a very common issue and it’s also very avoidable.
A lot of times people have limited mobility, which causes excess stress on the knees. Try these simple mobility exercises to work on reducing your knee pain.
1. Couch Stretch
Try this couch stretch for 1-2 minutes on each side and try to work your torso to be more vertical without hyper-extending your low back.
2. Knee Gapping
This knee gapping technique can help to take pressure off your joint.
3. Contract Relax Hamstring Stretch
This is a twist on a typical hamstring stretch. Drive the leg into the doorway or rig for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this about 5 times and try to inch closer to the wall each time.
Don’t continue to struggle with knee pain. At Limitless Performance Physical Therapy, we offer free consultations to help you make the best possible decision about how to eliminate knee pain for good and get back to the things you love, pain free. Click the link below to claim your free consultation now!
We only progress as well as we recover. You can put the work into your training and still not make progress if you aren’t accounting for factors that aid recovery. It’s also important to know the right things to do for proper recovery that will help you make gains and reduce your risk of injury.
Things like foam rolling, stretching, and getting a massage are too heavily weighted when people talk about recovery. Don’t get me wrong, they are all good things to include, but foam rolling your quads for 15 minutes isn’t going to magically heal your knee that’s beat up because your leg day volume is too high.
1. Load Management
The conversation about recovery starts with what your workload looks like in the gym. Are you maxing out every other week? Are you doing way too many sets in a week? Are you doing a lot of other types of training alongside your main workouts?
You have to push the limits a bit to make progress, but you also need to know when to back off. Training should be cyclical, with an increase in intensity and volume over time, followed by a week with a big drop in volume. This, in other words, is a deload week. After that, start a little higher than your previous starting point and work your way back up again.
2. Take Rest Days
This goes along with load management, but I thought it was important enough to include it as its own point. We see too many people on the internet brag about how they haven’t taken a rest day in “X months”. That’s a sure fire way to get burnt out and injured.
Your rest days will help you refresh and hit your next training session with more intensity. Many people make great progress on 3 or 4 day splits.
This is probably the most widely recommended by people that actually know a thing or two about recovery, but that’s exactly why it needs to be on this list. Lack of sleep will hinder recovery and leave you feeling gassed. Also, when we are asleep is when our muscles recover the most. Get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night and let your body do it’s work.
One of the most important things is to make sure you are eating enough protein to support muscle growth and recovery. Also, your nutritional needs and stage of training will coincide. If you are looking to lose weight, then your calories will need to be lower along with your training volume. This will help preserve muscle without getting injured.
If you are looking to gain muscle mass, then your calories will need to be higher along with increasing your training volume. Remember what we mentioned above about cycling your volume though.
There is a lot more information that goes into nutrition for performance, but that is kind of out of our scope of practice. If you want more specific information about nutrition, then find a registered dietician or nutritionist.
Obviously things like stretching and massage are not useless. Depending on your sport, you need to have a certain amount of range of motion that you can tap into. But haphazardly stretching your hamstrings or back muscles are not going to prevent injuries and, in some cases, it can actually leave you more at risk for injury.
If you have a history of getting injured or feel like you're stuck, then give us a call at (607) 425-3369 or send us an email at email@example.com.
In the meantime, try incorporating these tips into your daily life and share this with your training buddies!
So you have been dealing with a nagging pain. You decide that you should just take a couple weeks off from running or working out and let it heal. Maybe even your physician prescribed the rest. While proper rest and recovery is important, it is likely not the solution to your problem.
People often get stuck in this rest/injury cycle. Where they get hurt, rest, come back, get hurt, rest, come back, etc. Spinning their wheels and stalling their progress.
It’s not that rest is inherently bad. Resting will help the irritated tissues heal and reduce the pain and symptoms. This is seen as the solution to the problem. “I feel better, so everything must be good, right?” Not really.
Ask yourself this, why did you get hurt in the first place? There are a lot of factors that could answer this question. This could be poor nutrition, poor sleep, and even improper rest time. If any of these are not addressed properly, then our recovery could be sub-optimal and lead to overuse injuries. But the main factor I want to focus on is finding the root cause of the problem.
If you are a runner with foot pain, is the foot the real cause of the problem? Probably not. We would look further up the chain. Some things we would asses are:
If all you do to heal an injury is rest, the root cause never gets addressed. As soon as you jump back into training, the cycle of pain and injury begins again.
Don’t get stuck spinning your wheels when you have goals that you want to achieve, group runs to participate in, or need that stress relief after work. Break the cycle by giving us a call at (607) 425-3369 or clicking the link below to request a Free Discovery Visit!
What is a Discovery Visit? It is a free 20 minute visit with a sports injury specialist where we sit down and talk about what you have been struggling with. At the end of the visit we let you know exactly what is going on and how we can help you fix it. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, then click the link below to quest one of these limited sessions!
The gym is a place to get stronger and better yourself. Lifting weights is actually very safe contrary to what some people may say. While it does carry a lower risk of injury than most sports, there is still some risk involved. But if you avoid making these 5 mistakes, you can mitigate the risk of injury even more!
1. Skipping a Warm Up
A proper warm up will accomplish a few things: loosen up the joints and muscles, get the heart rate up, and prepare the nervous system for whatever movements you will perform for the day.
Your warm up does not need to be 30 minutes, but it should be around 10 minutes of a few specific movements. Choose from some mobility work, stability exercises, and a few lower sets of whatever your first movement is.
A good example of why you should warm up is if you plan to squat and immediately get under the bar with limited hip rotation, then your knees will not be able to get in a good alignment. This could not only put extra stress on certain muscles or joints. It will also make the lift harder and limit your potential to build muscle or strength.
2. Improper Footwear
In general, we do not want to wear running shoes to lift weights because a lot of them are built to cushion impact. When doing exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts it is important to have a stable foot. Shoes with a flatter base and minimal cushioning are better (converse, vans, etc).
Runners can obviously wear running shoes. Crossfitters may want to look into cross training shoes that have a blend of stability and cushioning.
Making sure that your shoes fit properly is also important. This will prevent blisters and allow you to maintain proper function of the foot. Your local running store or shoe store should be able to help you get the best shoe and fit for you.
3. No Pain, No Gain Mentality
Pain is a signal from our body that we need to slow down. Doing too much is one of the biggest factors in overuse injuries sustained when working out. Not taking days off will also be a detriment to your progress because it will result in a buildup of fatigue and decreased performance.
Take active rest days where you do some kind of activity, but not your normal workout. Hiking, biking, swimming, or yoga are all good options.
4. Not Ramping Up
Ramping up the intensity and volume of your training properly is what will help your body adapt and get stronger. Doing too much, too quickly will not allow your muscles to adapt fast enough. This, again, can lead to overuse issues.
A good rule of thumb is to slowly increase one factor (i.e. sets, reps, time) at a time by 10-20% a week. When running, you will want to shoot for the lower end for increasing mileage.
5. Ignoring an Injury
Do not ignore an injury because it will likely only get worse if you keep pushing through it. Making the recovery process much longer than if you were to just take care of it right away.
With that being said, staying active is important. When working with us we always give options for our clients to exercise around the pain without aggravating it.
There you have it, 5 common mistakes that people make in the gym and some tips to fix them. If you are dealing with an injury that is preventing you from making progress, then give us a call at (607) 425-3369 or click the link below to request a Free Discovery Visit. At this visit we will sit down and talk about how long you have been struggling, what does/doesn’t help, and lay out a plan to fix it!
Let me know if this sounds familiar. You’re out for a run at the park and you’re coming up behind a couple that are walking down the sidewalk. They don’t hear you coming, so you avoid them by running into the grass to go around them. WHAM! You step into a hole and roll your ankle pretty bad. It swells up immediately. You limp home and what do you do?
You do what every doctor and your mother always told you to do: RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Well what if I told you that was wrong? Crazy, I know. But, hear me out. There may be a time and a place for RICE, but it isn’t for something like an ankle sprain and especially not for an injury that has been bothering you for months.
I just want to focus on the first two pieces of RICE, rest and ice, and explain why movement is a better option.
Why Not Rest?
The last thing we want to do is rest. We want to maintain good blood flow because it promotes the natural healing process. The body has a complicated cascade of events in place that trigger and take care of something like this. We just need to assist it by maintaining good blood flow.
Movement also provides compression (not to say that things like compression socks aren’t helpful). The muscles surround the veins, so when the muscle contracts it squeezes the blood vessel and pushes fluid back up to the heart to eventually re-circle throughout the body. In short, it reduces swelling in the area of injury.
Movement can mask the pain signals. Your brain chooses which signals to process and bring to the front of your mind. Have you ever had an injury that is basically non-existent or barely noticeable during the day, but as soon as you lay down in bed for the night it feels like someone cranked up the dial on your pain. Well it’s likely because you aren’t moving anymore, so your brain does not have the signal from all of your muscles and joints to mask the pain signals like it did while you were walking around and going about your day.
Why Not Ice?
Ice is very counter-intuitive to what we want when an injury is healing because it is a vasoconstrictor. This means that it makes the blood vessels narrower and reduces the blood flow to that area. Well I just said that we want to bring in more blood flow right? That is why it doesn’t make much sense to use ice for an injury and it can actually delay the healing process.
If anything, we may want to use heat because it is a vasodilator (widens the blood vessels) and brings in more blood flow, but I always prescribe movement initially because it is the ultimate blood flow improver.
If you are struggling with an injury that you are constantly trying to ice or rest away, then click this link right here to request a FREE consultation so we can talk about better options to permanently take care of your injury!