Heavy weight training is very demanding on your organism. Interestingly, the muscles are not the part of your body most susceptible to injuries and health problems. Sports medicine is practically synonymous with orthopedic medicine and over 90% of all sports injuries are joint injuries.
Another important organ susceptible to serious problems from overtraining is the Central Nervous System (CNS).
By following these simple 5 rules you can avoid injuries, maximize your workout results and keep training without long recovery periods that inevitably follow every injury.
- Warm-up. It’s shocking how many bodybuilders attempt heaviest weights without proper warm-up. It is absolutely necessary to do SEVERAL (ideally 3) warm-up sets before training every new muscle group. General warm-up should be short and not exhaustive.
- Avoid dangerous exercises. This is something even the most advanced bodybuilders ignore. Most trainees simply try every exercise and drop it only if they are not able to perform it properly (or at all) due to joint injuries. All forms of upright rows, dumbbell flyes and behind-the-neck pulldowns (and pull-ups) are just the most notorious ones. Special attention must be given to bench press which is the source of most shoulder problems. Squats are not as horrible as some will tell you but if you are going to use more or equal to 80% 1RM bands will be necessary.
- Add rotator cuff exercises to your training program. Not only will they improve your bench press (and many other exercises) significantly, they will also prevent some of the worst joint injuries.
- Periodization. What we mean here is alternating periods of heavy training (over 70% 1RM) and periods of medium training (over 50% 1RM). Including periods of lighter workouts in your training plan will significantly prolong the durability of your joints. No wonder all professional athletes in every sport use periodization.
- Overtraining. Less is sometimes more. While the muscles will regenerate from overreaching and overtraining within few weeks it can take months until CNS fully recovers from serious overtraining.