Injury Prevention

Today I am featuring a guest blog from Nick Outlaw CPT, CSCS, CES.  For more information about Nick, visit

Maximize Progress and Minimize Your Risk of Injury

 The 3 Main Causes of Injury

  1. Overuse– generally happens over time (Chronic).
  2. Mechanics– poor technique, form, and/or execution of any movement (Acute).
  3. Structure– disorders of the growing skeleton resulting in a deformity such as leg length abnormalities, or arthritis.  Also, Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine.

Most injuries are from overuse.

Tissue damage from repetitive demand over time.  Overuse can happen from any habitual movement patterns or postures. Examples of repetitive postures include: slouching at your desk, standing with your weight shifted to one side, driving, texting, etc

Examples of habitual movements would include a golf or tennis swing predominantly on one side, and any exercise/s performed excessively without an intelligently balanced training program. Also performing repetitive daily or work tasks that involve bending, twisting, or leaning in an asymmetrical or only to one side are included.

Most guys you see in the gyms like to only work their “mirror muscles,” their pecs and biceps. This can quickly lead to muscular imbalances and excessive stress on just one area of the body.  Muscle imbalances contribute to poor posture and poor movement patterns. In this particular case, men would benefit from adding in appropriate back (more upper body pulling), core stabilizers, lower body and cardiovascular training.

Women tend to gravitate more towards cardiovascular training logging hours on the elliptical and or treadmill with little to no strength training. When you do see a woman strength training in the gym, generally they are using machines to perform isolated strength exercises such as abduction and adduction, leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses.  Those exercises are fine and dandy if you are including the big $$ exercises first with good technique, such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges.

Basic Guidelines:

a) Only increase one variable by 10%- NO MORE than 20% each week if you are consistently training 2-4x per week.  This rule can be used for both cardiovascular training/aerobic/ESD (energy system development) and Strength Training/Resistance Training.

Examples: increasing the duration or speed by 10% for running. Adding another set, increasing weight, or repetitions.

b) Balance and variety in your training.  Have a professional write your program.  Cross train

c) Listen to your body and be honest with yourself. How do you feel?  Don’t force yourself to increase your weight, distance, or speed. Don’t try to overdo it to show off. Guys don’t try to lift more than you can to impress anybody, leave your ego at the door.

d) Rest and Recovery.  Examples and suggestions: book a massage, learn and implement self massage techniques (foam roller, lacrosse, ball), meditation and breathing techniques. Include anti-inflammatory foods and supplements into your diet e.g. wild salmon, omega 3 fish oils, rosemary, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic.  Soak in a warm bath with Epson salt.

A Generic Template– for training could look something like this for both males and females.

Customized and individual changes would need to be integrated based on the person’s age, history (exercise history, medical history/conditions, fitness level), goals, etc.

****Always warm up and cool down; include foam rolling and stretching*****

Monday: Strength Train full body.  Examples: Squats, Pull Ups or rows, RDLs or back extensions, and push-ups for 2-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Tuesday: ESD (Energy System Development), Cardio, aerobic based training.  Some examples: walking, hiking, jogging, cycling, stair master, elliptical, swimming, etc. Duration and intensity based on individual fitness level, age, etc

Wednesday: Full Body Strength: Example: Walking lunges, 1 arm d.b. rows, glute bridges, and shoulder presses for 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Thursday: ESD, Cardio, Aerobic

Friday: Full Body Strength

Saturday: Active Stretching or Yoga or Tai Chi, massage or foam rolling.

Sunday: Day off, mentally unplug. 


About the Author:

Nick Outlaw CPT, CSCS, CES has experience training professional athletes, movie stars, CEOs, moms, kids, super heroes and average joes for 12 years.  He always has his hand on the pulse of the industry’s latest research and techniques. Nick is passionate about refining and improving client’s movement patterns to improve their performance and minimize their risk of injury.  He is a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach in Raleigh, NC. His websites include:




Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Garber, C.E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M.R., et al. America College of Sports Medicine, Indianapolis, IN. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2011 July; 4(7): 1334 -1359.

Research Priorities for the Unified Orthopedic Research Agenda

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases



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