I am not an esoteric sort of person. I don’t believe much in signs being sent my way; however after this week, I might have to rethink that attitude.
I have had three signs telling me that I need to write a posting concerning injury prevention. I will be posting this to both my fitness/weight loss
blog and my chiropractic blog, because it has significance for both.
I’m not trying to sell anyone out, and while I encourage comments, if you work out where I do, I ask that you not to speculate on who I am discussing. It isn’t my intent to condemn or criticize any one individual, but to use these incidences as cautionary examples.
Can we prevent every potential injury while working out? Of course not.
No matter how focused we are, how proper our form is or how strong we are feeling — sometimes an injury can occur. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to prevent an injury.
Many people have different opinions about what is the most important aspect of preventing injuries, yes good form, as it pertains to an individual’s structure and function is important, and since I neither warm up nor stretch prior to a workout,(I know, let the condemnation begin), I don’t talk much about that. To me there is no greater aid when it comes to injury prevention than focus and concentration.
I am astounded to see the lack of focus when I am at the gym, and that lack of focus comes not only from those working out, but on occasion, a personal trainer, which was one of my signs.
First off, let’s discuss the signs:
1- I was in the middle of a set of seated rows, pulling the weight back when a person with whom I am familiar said hello to me. Now, I don’t mean to be rude, but when I am in the middle of a set — I do NOT have conversations, or even acknowledge anyone else for that matter. I am focused on the exercise, making sure that I am getting the most out of what I am doing, and also ensuring I don’t get injured. When I am done, if the other person is between sets, I will go over apologize and say hello. Well, this person must have felt rebuffed, because he then got in my field of vision and waved, then mimicked the exercise I was doing. At that point, my concentration gone, I simply let the handle go and stopped the set.
2- This morning one of the personal trainers was training a group of three. I was between sets and happened to glance over because of the loud conversation emanating from the multi-purpose rack. While one person was doing overhead presses, the other two and the trainer were rambling on and on about some topic not related to training. Then, for some inexplicable reason, the person doing the overhead presses turned their head to the side and back a little, in the middle of a repetition. I couldn’t believe the trainer did not correct this; does anyone not realize the stress and strain that intervertebral discs are under during an overhead press? The spine can handle it because that stress is distributed evenly as long as the head is facing straight ahead, once twisting and torque is added to the equation —- the risk of bulging, herniation and or even fragmentation is increased. Shocked at what I saw, I resisted the urge to say something, because I know it is pointless, I blocked them out and went about my workout.
3- Finally, this morning, as I am driving to my office, a person is jogging on the sidewalk, when in the middle of the block the jogger decides to abruptly cross the street, directly in front of my car. I gave a tap on the horn, but the jogger simply ignored me and then made another cut in front of another vehicle. It was then I noticed the earbuds in each ear. I was dumbfounded. I mean really, blasting music or whatever, directly into your ears when jogging near, or in this case, in traffic? Where is the common f*&^ing sense?
My advice concerning focus is rather simple. Once you, or another person, are approaching a barbell, dumbbell or any other weightlifting machine to perform a repetition or set, no conversation, acknowledgement or any other signs of contact should occur. (Not including encouragement from a training partner or spotter) If you are doing the lifting, your attention should be focused 100% on the task at hand. If you are nearing someone who is performing a set or repetition, show them that you respect not only the fact they are working out, but that you respect them. Yes, I say hello to people, and on rare occasion have a conversation but only between one of my supersets or their sets, never when anyone is actually performing a rep, once my attention is directed at the exercise — that’s it, everything else is blocked out.
As far as headphones, I don’t think they have any place in an exercise routine. The music, or whatever one is listening to, is nothing more than a distraction. When I am jogging, I want to be in tune with myself; I want to be focused on the motion of my legs and arms, the pace of my breathing and yes the sounds around me; especially if traffic is nearby.
In the gym, when lifting weights, I use my auditory feedback to pace myself and garner feedback. I get a kick out of everyone starring at the mirror, but they don’t realize the importance of sound as they are lifting weights. Today, as I was doing leg extensions on an old Nautilus® machine; I listened to the chain clicking around the big old cam. That noise allows me to know just where I am in the exercise, allowing me to pause just prior to the weight stack coming to rest. While doing stiff legged deadlifts, if I hear the clang of the weights at the top, I know I’ve gone just a little too far; so I am listening for silence.
Additionally, if someone in the gym is in distress, I can hear their verbal cues that they may need assistance. And, am I the only one who has ever had someone playing air drums bump into them when doing a set because they are more focused on their performance than others around them?
I know people are attached to their world canceling, isolating devices, but try working out without it for a few weeks. Pay attention to every move, every breath, each and every bang and clang from the weights — and instead of detaching yourself from the energy surrounding you, become part of it. You might realize you have been missing an important part of the experience.
This was a little long, but I hope that you can see the important of focus and concentration when exercising. One little out of place twist or pull or step can cause a preventable injury. So respect yourself, your surroundings and others — when the weight is being moved, keep conversation, not including a spotter’s encouragement, out of the equation until the weight is placed down or re-racked.
Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to NaturallySavvy.com and CarbSmart.com. He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet.
He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, What’s Weighing You Down, w/Dr. Marilyn Gansel on FTNS radio, Nurture and Nutrition on Blog Talk Radio, Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends, BlogTalk Radio’s Toni Harris Speaks, Internet Radio: Cathie’s Talking, TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast; and the one and only Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out his website http://www.obesityundone.com/
************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************
- An interview with Jeff Eades, Personal Trainer. (thetechsideoffit.com)
- Personal Trainers: Don’t Let Gym Injuries Hurt Your Business (hiscoxusa.com)
- Why do personal trainers need professional liability insurance? (hiscoxusa.com)
- 5 Tips On Getting The Most Out Of Your Deadlifts (benefitsofdeadlifts.com)
- Apply These Great Tips To Improve Your Physical Fitness (blessingsrobertsonwinn.wordpress.com)
- Good Form (monsterzelitefitness.com)
- Shoulder pain – stop it in it’s tracks! (choiceosteo.wordpress.com)
- Suspension is the way forward (leaderofwesteros.wordpress.com)
- My view of exercising with barbells (barbellbenefits.wordpress.com)
- Perform Bar Or Cable Rowing For A Strong, Thick Back (three60fitness.ca)