Have you ever stubbed your toe on a dumbbell or had a resistance band snap on your back? If you haven’t, you want to keep it that way.
Many people are looking to get fit and healthy from the comfort of their homes. Working out at home can be a great way to achieve your fitness goals, but it's important to stay safe while you're doing it.
Here are 10 tips on how to prevent injuries during at-home workouts. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be on your way to a safe and healthy workout routine.
- Clear space for your workouts
Could you imagine trying to work out at your local gym and having toys, pet hair, and household clutter all over the floor? Of course not. So why would you expect anything less for your workouts at home?
Before you start, take a few minutes to clear the space in your exercise area. That way you won’t have to worry about tripping over anything and injuring yourself.
- Check your equipment
If you're using any type of equipment for your workout, it’s important to make sure that it’s in good condition before you use it. Inspect your equipment for any signs of wear and tear.
For example, worn-out resistance bands are notorious for snapping in the middle of a repetition, leaving a nasty welt on your back. If you see anything that concerns you, don’t use the equipment.
Here’s a quick list of things to check:
- Yoga/exercise mats: Check for holes or rips where fingers and toes could get caught
- Resistance bands: Look for worn or torn spots in the bands that could snap if stretched too much
- Dumbbells & Kettlebells: Watch for rust spots and cracks
- Barbells: Check the bar length. It shouldn’t be bent. Go over the knurling (rough patches) and ends that hold the plates
- Know your workout
Do you know what exercises you’ll be performing? It sounds like a silly question, but you’d be surprised how many people jump into a workout without really knowing what they’re doing.
It’s important to know which exercises you’ll be doing so you can review the target muscles, form and execution of each one. This helps to establish a mind-to-muscle connection and decrease the risk for injuries.
If you’re just starting out, use a low-impact strength training workout so you can safely build up to heavier weights and more intense repetitions.
- Use proper form
Do you know how to perform movements safely and effectively?
Using proper form is important for preventing injury while working out. If you aren’t sure about an exercise — no matter how cool it looks on the internet — you should consider switching it out for a more beginner-friendly version.
If you are going to attempt to follow a workout video posted on the internet, ensure you’re watching trained fitness professionals -- people who have certifications and years of experience.
The best option is to hire a personal trainer to come and work with you for a month or two so you can master the proper form for compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
- Wear the right clothes and shoes
One of the most important things you can do to prevent injury while working out is to wear the right clothes and shoes. Make sure you have supportive shoes that are comfortable and fit well. Avoid wearing loose clothing that could get caught on gym equipment.
- Warm up correctly
Before starting your workout, it’s important to warm up your body to avoid injury. A simple warm-up routine could include light cardio and some dynamic stretches. Spend at least five minutes warming up before starting your workout.
- Start slow
If you’re new to working out, it’s important to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Your body needs time to adjust to the new physical activity. If you try to do too much too soon, you’re more likely to get injured.
- Listen to your body
It’s important to listen to your body and be aware of how it feels while you’re working out. If you start to feel pain, take a break, and see if the pain goes away. If it doesn’t, stop your workout, write down your symptoms, and decide if they are enough to need to consult a doctor.
- Rest and recovery
Rest is just as important as exercise when it comes to preventing injuries. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking breaks when you need them. Also, be sure to add active recovery days into your routine. This could involve going for a light jog or doing some yoga.
For those who are new to fitness, consider arranging your workouts in an A-B-A-B format. An “A Day” is a workout day, and a “B Day” is an active rest day.
For example, here’s a quick home workout program:
Monday: A — Push exercises
Tuesday: B — Active rest. Cycling around the neighborhood
Wednesday: A — Pull exercises
Thursday: B — Active rest. Go for an hour walk at the park
Friday: A — Leg exercises
Saturday: B — Active rest. Take an hour in your garden or clean out the garage
Sunday: Rest Day — No exercise needed
Try one of these fun outdoor activities for an active recovery day.
- See a doctor if you have an injury
If you do sustain an injury, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor can help you figure out the best course of treatment and get you on the road to recovery.
A home gym is one of the best investments you can make for your health and fitness. It quickly pays for itself, especially compared with the expense of gym memberships. It also offers you the convenience of working out in your own home. You don’t have to travel across town, wait for machines, or hope that your friend shows up to join you.
Despite all the benefits of a home gym, it’s still important to be safe and try to prevent injuries when working out at home. Following these tips is a great place to start.