Injuries will be one of the main obstacles for anyone in serious training, especially for the over 40 crowd. Even the youth don’t escape it, but us more mature subjects has less flexibility in our muscles and tendons. This result in injuries.
For a 20-year-old one month from training does little harm. For a 45-year-old it is a severe setback (due to the lower testosterone and growth hormone levels).
So the older you are the wiser you need to train!
I am going to focus here on just the most common injuries:
- Tennis and Golfers elbow.
- Muscle tear prevention.
- What to do when a muscle is torn?
Tennis and Golfers elbow
If you already have the condition, step number one is to go to the doctor and get and injection to get the inflammation under control. That should be followed up by about 10 days of anti-inflamatories to keep the inflammation down and allow for healing.
You should be able to keep training but the following training guidance is critical.
Train correct to allow healing or prevention of Tennis/Golfers elbow.
How to prevent Tennis/Golfers elbow?
For guys (and girls) who lift…there is a simple rule to prevent both those conditions: Keep your wrist straight. Your hand must ALWAYS be completely straight and aligned with your forearm. This should be during the WHOLE movement. NEVER bent your wrist up or down while lifting or carrying weights. That focus the tension on the inside or outside tendon (depending on which way the wrist is bent, bent upwards = outside tendon, bent downwards = inside tendon) and result in the tear or damage.
Concentrate on this during your whole workout. Never ever bend your wrist while lifting weights or train on machines or even while holding weights. Keep the hand and forearm always a perfect straight line. That place equal pressure and stress on both the front and back tendons and lower the change for damage.
Just about 99.99% of muscle tears (shoulder, bicep, leg) is a result of failure to warm up the muscle sufficiently.
What to do to prevent a muscle tear?
- Make sure you do proper warming up. Basically that means get the blood flowing and just start to break a sweat. (It takes me 7 – 10 minutes). That could be treadmill or similar cardio exercise.
- Before you jump into lifting heavy you need to do at least 40 reps with a light weight to make sure the target muscle is well warmed up.
- Now you should be ready to start lifting heavy, but I always make sure my first set is just 50% of my max weight. My 2nd set is at full force.
Another point of note here: I believe stretching the target muscle after each set keeps your muscle and to a lesser extend the tendons flexible. Many fitness people don’t support the stretching benefits (some research has been done which actually support some aspects of their thinking.) However, I believe in the stretching even if it just to help the muscle relax after the intense contractions. Choose for yourself but stretching has only helped me in my training.
I am speculating and say that that stretching might even influence the muscles eventual shape. Intense lifting make the muscle tense up. Stretching help it relaxes and does the opposite than the intense contraction. I believe it does play a part in the aesthetics of the muscle even if a small part.
What to do when a muscle is torn?
Do not run off to your physio!
Go straight to a sports medical doctor.
He will most probably send you for a scan to confirm the suspicion. If that suspicion is confirmed a small operation need to be done to attach the muscle again.
It is CRITICAL that the muscle is attached as soon as possible. If you want to fix this 2 months or so down the line…sorry but that muscle cannot be attached anymore.
IMMEDIATELY get to your doctor and make sure no muscle was torn.
If a muscle is only partly torn then no operation is needed and with some treatment (injections + anti inflamatories + physio) the situation can be remedied. But if the muscle is completely torn, YOU HAVE TO GET OPERATED and quick!
Steroids and muscle tears
To the steroid crowd, you need to be very carefull of tearing muscles and tendons. Some anabolic steroids will make the muscle stronger and more powerfull instantly but the tendons stay weak. It means you can more easily get injured. Even if you have the power, be carefull to lift too fast too quickly because the tendons needs time to grow and get strong before you can jump too much in weight size lifted.
Diet effects on tendons and muscle tears – Make sure you get a good amount of omega 3, 6 & 9 in. This has been shown to help keep joint and tendons healthy.
LEARN FROM MY INJURY: The bicep has two muscles – upper and lower. Four months ago I’ve torn my left arms lower bicep muscle. I thought it was just a small tear and went to the physio instead of the doctor. Not a good move. Today my doctor told me that he thinks my bottom muscle has been completely torn off and that he cannot attach it because it must be attached very soon after the tear occurred. So my left bicep will only function with one muscle and theoretically be 50% weaker. NEW UPDATE 7 Feb 2013 – Just went for proper scans of the bicep and it showed that the lower bicep muscle is intact, slightly deformed due to the tear but intact. The problem is rather the tendon of the bicep which is partly torn as a result of lifting too heavy while the bicep tear was not healed properly…so nothing that some injections + anti-inflamatories + wise training won’t remedy…praise God!
Be wise…train wise…and grow!