The mistake I made.

The ankle injury I had last week wasn’t a surprise.

It had been a long time coming.

It’s not as if I hadn’t had enough warning signs over the past few years that there was a weakness there.

Last summer playing football I went over on it and ended up in excruciating pain and had to spend the rest of the day lay in bed. The following day I’d planned on going to the GP but by the next morning the pain had miraculously disappeared, so I told myself that it couldn’t have been that bad and just got on with things. And then in February of this year I went over on it again and again ended up in excruciating pain but inevitably ended up continuing to neglect it.

The mistake I made is that whenever I would exercise I would too often do the things I was already good at and forget about working on my weaknesses. After all, it was a lot easier for me to stick to what I knew rather than trying something new which would have required research, patience and leaving my comfort zone.

And then it happened again last Tuesday, my ankle buckled during a workout resulting in a torn ligament and forcing me out of action for at least a month. But now this is it, the end of my excuses. I’ve promised myself that I’ll be using my recovery time to finally get round to what I should have been doing for years now, exercises like standing calf raises, single leg balancing on unstable surfaces and resisted ankle inversions will all help me to strengthen my ankle stability so I can avoid any further injuries in the future.

Unfortunately it took this wake-up call before I changed my ways but you needn’t make the same mistake yourself. There are plenty of things you could be doing wrong when exercising and here are five common ones:

  1. Dropping your hips during a push-up? If you don’t have sufficient strength to maintain the correct form it means that your core isn’t strong enough. To avoid injuring your back you can improve this you could do incline push-ups focusing on engaging your core as you begin the movement. Simply find a raised surface like a table, bench or chair and give the exercise a go.
  2. Dragging your feet when running? This could lead to shin splints, achilles tendonitis and then knee pain and back pain. To avoid doing this in the future look at strengthening your hamstrings. A variety of exercises can help you do this from deadlifts to forward lunges.
  3. Falling forward when you do squats? If your hips are weak – hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors – exercises such as Romanian deadlifts, rack pulls, good mornings and kettlebell swings will teach you how to strengthen your hips.
  4. Arching your back when planking? If your abdominals aren’t engaged, your arms will tire out from supporting the majority of your bodyweight. When that happens, your first inclination is to arch your back, which puts undue pressure on your spine. Make sure your shoulders are wide and that your palms are also wide on the floor. By broadening your shoulders, you will take weight off of your upper body and engage those core muscles.
  5. Losing wrist control while doing bicep curls? While you should focus on contracting your biceps during your curls, don’t neglect your wrists, either. Keep your wrist in a slightly flexed position that you’re able to maintain throughout the movement. Don’t let your wrist flip into extension as you lower the weight, as this can increase risk of injury.

If you’re not sure whether any of these apply to you then try checking your form in a mirror, asking a friend to give you feedback or contacting a qualified personal trainer for some advice. Being proactive rather than reactive as far as injury prevention is concerned will certainly save you a lot of unnecessary anguish and frustration in the future!

Monday Motivation 

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