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Fit 4 Life | Are you an injury waiting to happen?

Published:Thursday | April 11, 2019 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
Whether it is tightness or slight pain, we often overlook the early signs of injury.

Exercise-related injuries are among those things people tend to forget about until disaster hits. Whether one is planning, training or recovering, injuries aren't usually given much thought.

The result is the common cycle: train hard, get injured, heal (a bit) and repeat. Still, the cycle can be broken. All that is required is to pay attention to a few clues. Look out for these warning signs that you are an injury waiting to happen.


Whether it be a spotter or built-in safety features of exercise equipment, placing too much trust in yourself or in a single safety precaution is risky. For example, while many lifters at times think 'I have a spotter so I can lift extra heavy', it places them in avoidable danger.

Instead of putting all your trust in one safety precaution, take every step available to ensure that any exercise that you are doing is being done correctly and as safely as possible:

• Use a spotter when lifting heavy weights – preferably someone with experience.

• Ensure that there is a clear understanding between you and your spotter of how much weight, reps, and range of motion you are aiming for. 

• Pay close attention to form on all exercises.

• Use the built-in safety features of exercise equipment.

• Be conservative. Don't over-estimate your strength and endurance.


Improving performance safely in any form of training requires proper pacing. If you find that you are increasing loads, volume, and/or intensity rapidly, then it is time to slow down or you risk injury.

Go for small increments. Only after mastering your current level should you make an increase. For example, if you struggle to get one mile of running done this week, don't try to get two next week. Instead, try to own that one mile, then make incremental increases over time.


Constantly battering your body in the same way without a break or change can be disastrous. Take some time off and switch exercises and routines, and even the type of training once in a while to avoid overuse injuries. Also, avoid training the same muscle groups two days in a row, especially at high volume or intensity.


Whether it is tightness or slight pain, we often overlook the early signs of injury. Be careful.

Don't just push through the following symptoms:

• Tightness

• Pain

• Loss of range of motion

• Weakness/reduction in performance

• Tenderness

• Numbness/tingling

Take a break and get symptoms checked by a doctor if they persist.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;