Bane of our lives? It's up there with ebola and debt.
What all three have in common is that you can do a huge amount to safeguard yourself. I must stress here and now, there's no such thing as injury prevention.
It's going to happen if you're in the department of lifting heavy stuff, throwing yourself around and generally working towards a more badass version of yourselves.
Just like you can't absolutely prevent debt, or ebola. It's out there waiting to pounce when you slip up or fail to get your shit together.
I'd be far more inclined to call it injury reduction as far as the goal is concerned.
Within this sphere, it is very easy to get lost in the myriad of intricacies, considerations, variables and factors associated with injury incidence in the first place.
That's all well and good, leave that up to the guys and girls in lab coats.
But that's the thing, anything here will be intricate, which is synonymous with small/detail. So rather than getting lost in this domain trying to find 1-2% improvements.
What about the low hanging fruit? Who's talking about that? Last time I checked, people have this unyielding propensity to look past the fundamentals and low hanging fruits of this game.
For christ sake. I'll give you an example.
Everybody in gyms everywhere, love to rant and rave about this new clever diet that you've never heard of. Where you cycle your macros with percentile changes, or farting around with the latest re-invention of the Keto diet. Whilst taking a precise amount of Creatine supplement at a precise time of day because science bro.
Complexity, complexity, complexity.
Meanwhile, the same Joe Blogs screaming all this magical stuff at anybody who'll listen, hasn't even nailed consistent sleep patterns, consistent training patterns, and consistent eating patterns.
It's like learning how to diversify a Warren Buffet standard investment portfolio, before you've even learnt what a stock actually is.
Maybe. Just maybe. You stand to make gains into the percentage double digits by taking a look at the low hanging fruit?
Tantalising. Isn't it?
Low Hanging Fruit 101
This is perhaps the biggest reason/mechanism behind injury prevalence. You love to do the exercises you enjoy, and you avoid the exercises you don't enjoy.
As time goes on, the exercises you avoid become precisely the exercises you should be doing.
If you perform a metric shit-tonne of vertical pulling exercises, then you'll be doing yourself a disservice in avoiding an equal amount of overhead pressing exercises.
Overtime, your primary downward pulling muscle - The Lats - will get stronger. Which is obvious, you're strengthening them.
Without balance however, the lats can begin to overpower the shoulder unit and actually pull your shoulders downward, and also cause your shoulder blades to rotate downward as well.
Black line, how you should be. Red line? Uh oh.
This only becomes an injury mechanism, once you start doing stuff with your arms overhead.
Here's the thing, in order to get your arms overhead properly, you need upward rotation. Not downward as in the image above.
So, what do you think is going to happen if your lats are preventing upward rotation like a tug of war? Stuff is going to start to hurt.
When your shoulder blades rotate upward, it does a splendid job of keeping the tight little space in the front of the shoulder open. I've marked it out below.
So, the upper arm goes up, but the shoulder blade doesn't move up? That little space is going to close and pinch on some delicate muscles. Causing problems and compensations.
This can actually be made much worse, depending on the type of acromion process one may have. This is a side view of the shoulder without the upper arm.
Got yourself a Type 3? You're going to have an even harder time under the same circumstances. Since you've got even less space to play with, the importance of moving your shoulder blades correctly increases ten fold.
The fix? Foam roll those lats. Activate the muscles associated with upward rotation, and train your body to better utilise this fundamental movement pattern.
Slowly but surely, the problem will dissipate.
This is the idea behind injury reduction, don't just stick to the exercises you like. You must potentiate your skill set and create balance in your body.
It's a wrap
This is just one example of how imbalance can cause a clusterfuck of problems later down the line, as you can guess there are many, many more.
Just ask yourself, what exercises do I do a lot? Then, start to do exercises which move in the opposite direction.
Yours in health and fitness