Avoiding Injury

Robo YogaAvoiding Injury will be the first and most important category for this blog.  Why?  Because it’s the number 1 concern of athletes over 50!  Due to the importance of injury avoidance this will be an ongoing topic.

First thing first:  The warm up.  The warm up starts the second your eyes open in the morning and you become aware of your surroundings and how you feel.  Most people wake up needing a good stretch.  Before you ever get out of bed, make the decision to spend at least two minutes stretching.  The first time you bend over in your day shouldn’t be to pick something up.  It should be to stretch.

What about the warm up in the gym?  GET THERE EARLY.  As a Masters Athlete, you need a little extra time for the warm up.  Even though your gym provides a pre-workout warm up routine, you are going to need a good 5 to 10 minutes of focused work before that.

Two things should dictate what you need to work on.  First, how do you feel?  Is your lower back stiff?  A calve tight? Your neck bothering you?  Spend a few minutes on the aches you can feel.  Move the joints around a bit to get a determination of your mobility and functionality.  Are you going to have to make allowances for a joint or muscle during the workout?  This is the time to find out.  If you have an ache and need to work it out, but you’re not sure what to do, ASK A COACH.

Second, what’s the workout of the day going to be?  Look at the Skill, Strength and WOD on the white board to determine what extra work you need to do.  If the Skill is double-unders and the WOD has box jumps, then you better get the calves loosened up.

“But Old-Guy-Steve, what if I’m running late?”  Too, bad!  To a Masters Athlete, the warm up is the most important part of the workout.  If you’re late and need to skip the Skill or Strength portion of the work out, so be it.  But get the warm up done.

Why do you think most coaches make you do burpees if you’re late to a workout?  It’s not a punishment so much as it’s a great way to make someone warm up and get loose.  It’s injury avoidance!

Remember, a proper warm up before any kind of workout is your responsibility.  You know your body better than anyone.  Take the time to warm up and keep those injuries away!

Next week will be mobility……….

Happy workouts,



6 thoughts on “Avoiding Injury

  1. Great advice OGS . . . the morning stretch works for me. I agree with asking a coach about aches or maybe injuries, or even how to get the best performance. Thus, this leads to a question. I have been doing a lot over overhead lifting lately – When I extend my shoulders up with the bar, should my arms be even with my ears or a little behind?

    thanks in advance for the advice,

    • Robo,
      Thanks for the comment!
      To answer your question: Make sure the weight is balanced over your “center of gravity”, arms fully extended, with your head in a neutral position. If you pause at the top of the lift, the weight, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles should be in a line and you should feel well balanced.

      Don’t worry about your ears. 🙂


  2. I’m not as old as OGS, but I’m also not a master athlete. I’m getting ready to start training for my fourth half-marathon — spread out over many years! I’ve been running some recently, mostly recreationally. I’m not interested in speed, but I’d like to feel good after the run. In other words, I’d like to avoid injury during training. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Cindy,
      Thanks for commenting!
      As stated above, don’t skip or cut short your warm-up. If you find yourself pressed for time, but really want to get the workout in, shorten the run before shortening your warm-up. Don’t skip the after-run stretches either. Those are vital.

      Next, try to carve out time everyday to work on your mobility. I suggest http://www.mobilitywod.com. Kelly Starrett is awesome. Also, youtube has some stuff by Bodytribe Fitness out of Sacramento. Their videos just make you want to work on your mobility. They are that fun. You can find them at http://www.bodytribe.com

      Lastly, you and I know (and so does everyone else) how important eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep are to achieving any goal.

      Good running and say “hi” to Old Guy Bill for me.


  3. OGS I totally get spending the time to warm up. What happens to me frequently is as the group is doing the warm up I am much slower than the rest and end up atleast a stretch /warmup behind everyone else. I’m not goofing off I just can’t go from 0-60! Even when we lunge for me I have to add a little extra! So the issue is I don’t want to be out of sync with everyone but I also don’t want to short myself….any suggestions?

    • Mylene,
      Great to hear from you. Remember, the warm up with the class is just a general warmup, meant to bring the heart rate up and loosen the joints and muscles. Most Masters Athletes take more time. My suggestion is to arrive at the gym at least 15 minutes early and use a rower or ski-erg. Start slow and pick up your pace as you go. 1,000m on either should do the trick and leave you with extra time to work on mobility. If you are in an area where using a rower or ski-erg is problematic, 25 burpees should work. By the time the coach starts the group warm up, you should be up to speed. Let me know how this works for you.

      Happy workouts,

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