Do you ever wake up the day after a fantastic gym session and your lower back hurts, or your knee is a bit niggley? If you are regularly experiencing joint pain or are sore in unexpected areas, you need to reassess what you are doing in the gym before you seriously hurt yourself.
Pain is the body’s feedback mechanism to let you know you’ve done something wrong and that you probably shouldn’t do it again. Many of us will ignore these signs, which can lead to overuse and chronic injuries. It’s hard I know, when you’ve never really been shown what to do, or your ego takes over and you grab a kettlebell that’s probably a bit heavier than what you can handle.
Enter, muscle bound gym junkie. You see a man doing what looks like some kind of alien mating ritual with one of the machines, and you just imitate it because you think that’s how everyone must do it. This is a problem because even though the way he is using that machine may work for him, you are a completely different person. Our exercise selection needs to be personalised as we all have varying bone structure, musculature and energy requirements.
Exercise is like learning a language. You can’t pick up French overnight, let alone learn it in a week or a few months. It takes years to learn a language and exercise is no different. Yet we all have it in our head that we can just enter the gym and know exactly what to do with every piece of equipment.
If you are unsure how to do an exercise, target a specific muscle group or use a piece of equipment, ask a personal trainer for help. By learning the correct movement pattern you are not only keeping yourself safe, but you will receive greater benefit from the exercise. With the correct technique and appropriate cueing, you will engage the right muscles and minimize injury.
And if coaching you through perfect form doesn’t eliminate the aches and pain, there might be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. This is where it is important to refer to other health professionals such as a physiotherapist, chiropractor or general practitioner for further help.
In summary, if you have regular joint pain or unexpected muscle soreness;
#1 Do not blindly imitate other gym goers
#2 Seek coaching from an exercise professional
#3 If the problem persists, see your health care professional