Showing posts with label prevent exercise injuries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prevent exercise injuries. Show all posts


Will Yoga Wreck YOU?

This special report was prompted by your questions since January 5, when The New York Times Magazine featured this article: "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body."

Before answering the question, here are a couple of analogies, corny or useful? You decide.

Exercise is a like a power tool. Learn how to use it and you can make something beautiful, use it improperly and you can cause damage.

Learning to use the gym is like learning a new language. It goes better and faster with repetition and as much professional help as you can get to master the basics.

Yoga isn't much different from any sort of group exercise class or exercise program, which I wrote about last February. If you carefully select the right exercises for you, do them properly, get rest in between workouts and don't overdo it, you've probably got very little to worry about and will see great results. Make wrong choices and you could be headed for trouble.

The idea that anyone can walk into a class and safely pursue an exercise program is questionable. Surely some people can, and class instructors are great with groups and love teaching classes.

When taking classes, it's wise to ask the instructor for assistance and recommendations when you begin, as you want to progress, if you have any injuries, or if you have difficulty with certain parts of the class. Sometimes this works, but those great instructors who teach classes or specialize in one training modality might not have the time, experience or education to help you with individualized assessment, program design and progression. In those cases, you may need to look elsewhere for help.

I've enjoyed taking classes and am a certified group exercise instructor. I rarely teach classes because I prefer to focus on careful, individualized exercise prescription, injury prevention, and proper form. It is not possible to do this for a group, everyone has different special needs or issues. This type of personalized approach can be a smart compliment to group classes or specialty training.

The group format encourages people to overdo it as they try to keep up with the class and impress the instructor. "There's enormous peer pressure in exercise classes. One-on-one training can be helpful in overcoming this," according to my client Jada Turco, MD, a psychiatrist and holistic practitioner with The Center for Integrative Psychiatry. "It gave me the knowledge and confidence to go into classes and decide which exercises weren't right for me and which to modify."

Bottom line: Make smart choices, know yourself and your limits, get professional input. Consider more individualized training to get the best results and reduce risk of injury


COMMON PROBLEMS: What To Do, What to Avoid

The following are some brief summary case histories of common problems that you can address in your fitness program, including key things to add and avoid:

Likely Injury: Rotator Cuff, Impingement, Biceps Tendonitis
Add to program: Chest stretch, reverse fly, scaption, close grip row, external rotation/rotator cuff strengthening
Avoid: Overhead shoulder exercise, incline chest press, front row, behind neck exercises

Likely Injury: ACL/MCL Tear, possibly knee or hip pain, frequent ankle sprains
Add to program: Side Lying Leg Lift, Single Leg Press/Squat, Hip stretch, IT Band Stretch
Avoid: Adductor

Likely Injury: Plantar Fascitis, Achilles Tendinitis, calf cramps, frequent ankle sprains
Add to program: Foam Roll and stretch calves, toe raises, side lying leg lift, single leg press/squat
Avoid: Calf raises

Likely Injury:
Low Back Pain, Disk injuries
Add to program: Planks, lower body and back stretching, unstable exercises
Avoid: Excessive hip flexion and abdominal flexion (sitting, leg raises, crunches)

Likely Injury: Slips and Falls, Hip Fracture
Add to program: Single leg exercises, core strengthening
Avoid: Extended periods of sitting


The Right Exercise Programs Can Prevent Injuries Before They Happen

"Pre-Hab" Train to prevent injuries before they happen. It may not be possible to reduce the risk of accidents, but you can train to reduce injuries from other sources such as falling, poor posture, and muscle imbalances. Start with a self-assessment or assessment by a qualified trainer who can help you develop a corrective fitness program.

The case histories below present a few common problems that can be observed and addressed in a fitness program, and some suggestions for each. You may have to make some changes to adapt your program to these phases, but you can still have a program that is effective and fun.

"Post-Rehab" If you've already had an injury or surgery, you're at a risk of recurrence. Follow a program designed to carefully get your body back into a regular training routine, while preventing a recurrence. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends that athletes continue with exercises they did in physical therapy - for many people, this can last a lifetime. Try to identify and correct the underlying causes of the injury, often muscle imbalances and postural distortions.

If you need help, I can show you how to incorporate physical therapy exercises into your workout routing, keep the routine interesting, and progress the exercises from the more controlled and "clinical" physical therapy environment to the gym.


Over the past few years, I've shared several corrective programs with blog readers, you can access some of these programs by clicking below. The programs are general and appropriate for most people, however, if you have been treated for an injury you should talk to your physical therapist or doctor and get clearance before proceeding. You can also feel free to contact me for an appointment to develop a more customized program or program for other issues, and for personal instruction.

Low Back Pain Program

Plantar Fascitis/Shin Splints

Rounded Shoulders/Forward Head

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