Injury Prevention

Last Updated: November 2, 2023

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Injuries happen, but most of them are preventable. From exercise techniques to protective gear, knowing how to prevent injury and avoid pain is one of the most important skills for long-term health and fitness improvement.

What is Injury Prevention?

Injury prevention is a set of actions and behaviors to reduce a person’s chances of accidents or injury. Sports injuries and injuries when working out are fairly common, but most common sports injuries are avoidable with some thought and some dedicated effort.

People need exercise to live a healthy life, and an injury prevention strategy is important to decrease the risk of injury while working toward health.

This strategy as part of public health strategies, can help everyone, especially young athletes, avoid injuries such as developing a concussion, a sports injury, or an increased risk for common injuries.

Injury Occurrence and Prevention

Some injuries are unavoidable accidents, but being mindful of the risks and taking steps to prevent injury greatly reduces your chances of getting hurt when strength training. Here are some of the most common causes of injury and how to avoid them:

Training When Overly Tired

When you’re tired, the body and mind react slower, and your proprioception, the body’s sense of where it is in relation to itself and its environment, is greatly reduced.

Consider taking a rest day or doing low-impact exercises rather than guzzling a pre-workout and pushing through. Your muscles need to rest to grow.


Everyone loves to hit a new personal best, but maxing out every session and training to failure isn’t beneficial. This is the leading cause of overuse injuries.

Current research on strength and hypertrophy shows that managing fatigue and prioritizing recovery leads to lower rates of injury.

Using an Improper Technique

We all love to show off our new skills in the gym, but pushing too hard without proper technique can often lead to injury and hurt the body.

Whether it’s a bicep curl or a heavy deadlift, knowing how to execute the movement properly is needed to gain muscle and strength and lower your chances of getting hurt.

Using Worn-out, Improperly Maintained, or Neglected Equipment

Improperly maintained or worn-out equipment can be a hazard. Safety arms and levers, seats and padding, and connection points, like for connecting handles on a lat pull-down machine, are all items that can wear out.

Always give weight equipment a brief inspection before using it to ensure injury prevention.

Training when hurt

If you already have a nagging injury or pain, pushing through it is probably not the best idea for the body. Training with an existing issue can cause it to develop into a more serious injury, meaning more time off and more progress lost.

Improper Equipment Setup

Continuing from neglected or poorly maintained equipment, improperly set up equipment is another common cause of unintentional injuries.

Many weight machines have adjustable seats or handles to fit them properly to the user, and most squat racks have height-adjustable safety arms to keep lifters safe.

Insufficient Warm-ups, Cool-downs, or Stretching Exercises

Warm-ups, cooldowns, and stretching are necessary to maintain health, reduce risks of injury, and prevent pain when working out.

Studies show that taking a few minutes before and after a workout to warm up and cool down reduces the chances of muscle tears and strains, sprains, and more serious injuries.

Poor Nutrition or Supplementation

The body needs proper fuel to recover, and it needs to be recovered to avoid injury. Eating enough protein, drinking enough water, and maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance can all prevent unintentional injuries.

Poor Sleep Habits

Like nutrition, sleep is key to muscular recovery and growth. Try to get a full eight hours of sleep every night, and make sure you’re feeling well-rested before trying to work out.

Protective Equipment and How to Use it

Some forms of protective equipment can improve injury prevention, but it’s important to use them for what they’re made for and not just depend on the equipment.

Protective equipment can act as an effective buffer to reduce the chances of injury while engaging in a sport, but proper technique is still needed to maintain health and promote safety.

Some of the best pieces of protective gear for injury prevention include:

  • Weight lifting belts: Belts can provide extra support for the core. In compound exercises like the squat and deadlift, a belt gives you something to brace against, which reduces the chance of getting out of position mid-rep.
  • Knee sleeves and wraps: Knee sleeves and wraps are great for keeping the knees warm during a leg workout and can provide extra support to prevent knee the knees from caving inward during a hard set of squats or leg presses.
  • Wrist wraps: Wrapping your wrists helps keep them straight, protecting the flexor and extensor muscles in the forearm and the attached tendons. A properly wrapped wrist is less likely to flip or bend during exercise.
  • Properly-fitting clothing and shoes: It might not seem obvious, but picking proper clothing and shoes can make a big difference in injury prevention. Wearing restrictive clothing can negatively impact how you move, and shoes that are too soft or too big can slide around when trying to maintain your balance.

Dealing with Sports Injuries

Medical Care

If you’ve sustained a serious injury, the first step is to seek professional medical care. Most injuries can be treated; in many cases, sooner treatment means a much faster recovery.

It’s often worthwhile for active people to see a sports medicine doctor - they normally have a better understanding of workout injuries and can help get you back to the gym as soon as possible.

Prioritizing Recovery

Recovery time depends on the kind of injury, your level of health, and the needed treatments. You should talk to a medical professional before returning to sports or the gym - returning too fast can aggravate your injury and make it worse than it was. Taking enough time to rest and recover will improve your progress in the long run.


What Determines an Athletic Injury?

Protective Equipment | Korey Stringer Institute.

The Importance of Using Safety Equipment In Sports - Handicap Accessible Equipment

Workout Injuries: Prevention and Treatment

Behavior, the Key Factor for Sports Injury Prevention | SpringerLink


The contents of this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any health-related changes or if you have any questions or concerns about your health. Anahana is not liable for any errors, omissions, or consequences that may occur from using the information provided.