Thursday, January 13, 2011

Disregarding Proper Joint Function and Stability

I have been lifting weights for 17 years and playing sports my whole life. I can honestly say that all of my joints feel great, now. That wasn't always true. In fact, earlier in my life, I endured a plethora of injuries, including: a torn rotator cuff, a fractured arm, a torn hamstring, sprained ankle, sprained foot ligaments, a dislocated sacroilliac joint, and a broken tooth to name a few. While most of these came during sports, some were from inappropriate training.

In the last several years of working with clients, I have developed a great appreciation of just how many ways the human body can become dysfunctional. It is so prevalent that joint pain is the norm and expected. But joint pain is not normal and exercise training should not cause or increase joint pain. Proper training should alleviate joint pain and enhance joint function. Thus, helping you reduce your risk of joint injury in the future.

Healthy joints are critical to be able to enjoy the benefits of regular exercise training and maintain a vigorous functional capacity. Yet, this fundamental principle is so often disregarded in the gym, even among so-called fitness professionals.

A client of mine, who had moved out of state last year, unfortunately learned the importance of proper technique and joint stability. While following a training program I put together for her (and taught her proper technique), a "trainer" from the commercial gym she was training at approached her. He offered her a free 30-minute training session. She reluctantly agreed, though, probably thinking some extra guidance and motivation would be helpful. What followed is unfortunately a big issue in the fitness injury; a blatant disregard for proper technique and joint stability/function.

My client ended up hurting her knee by doing a bunch a random exercises of which she was not very familiar. He was trying to impress her by taking her through a tough workout and make her tired, sweaty, and sore. He accomplished that, but the soreness is due to a torn meniscus in her knee.

Learning proper joint biomechanics and exercise technique is essential for your joint health. Don't make the mistake of glossing over this principle just to burn a few extra calories or to get a harder workout. A good rule of thumb is develop proper technique before training for strength, and devolop strength before training for endurance/competition.

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