Physio Corner: Preventing injuries in the gym

29th May

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Anyone with a Gymbox membership is on very intimate terms their inner sadist. But when it comes to getting ripped, it’s always best to keep your workouts on the pleasurable side of painful. That’s why we’re back in Physio Corner this week, with a whole bunch of top tips so you can keep your training tweak-free and your agony at an ideal level.


All too often you hear of people ‘wanting to start exercise’ and ‘get fit’ then right at the start....OUCH! An injury or pain occurs, and all that motivation is gone. Exercise is now the bad guy again and a period of inactivity normally follows until the cycle restarts all over again.

There are many reasons that can account for why an injury occurs and absolutely no one is immune to them. Whether you are a regular gym goer, weekend warrior or first timer, there’s always a risk of doing some harm if things are done incorrectly. However, this shouldn’t scare you off – the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risk of injury and are likely to protect your muscles, joints and general body from future pain.

So, let’s take a look at some of the ways we can avoid injuries in the gym and keep you on track for your exercise goals.

Warm up sufficiently

I’m sure we all know we’re supposed to warm up before exercise. But unfortunately, many of us aren’t actually sure how best to do it (or maybe we choose not to.) All too often you’ll see someone enter the gym, put their bag down, do a couple of arm movements for a few seconds then proceed to lay down and chest press. So let’s just stop you right there.

An adequate warm up is designed to prepare the body for what we are about to demand of it. When the body isn’t prepared, it’s more likely to fail under the load it is put under. This is one of the biggest reasons why so many people injure themselves in the gym. Much more than swift shake of the limbs, the goal of your warm up is to:

  • Increase blood flow to the exercising muscles
  • Slowly raise your heart rate
  • Gently stretch your exercising muscles
  • Increase the body temperature

The body likes to be in certain states when exercising and your warm up should be tailored depending on what you are doing to put it in an optimal state. A warm up for a heavy leg session should look vastly different to an upper body weight session (and different again to a run.) 10-15 mins should be plenty of time for you to raise a light sweat and prepare the body for the upcoming session.



While we’re all partial to checking ourselves out in the mirror while we train, you should still always ask yourself, ‘am I doing this correctly?’ Certain exercises are designed to work certain muscles – and when done differently or poorly, different structures are stressed. This can lead to them being injured and failing, unable to complete the task that is asked of them. So, when first starting an exercise or if there is that one exercise that always gives you agro, just consider if you’re actually doing it properly. Maybe even use those mirrors self-evaluate your movements and technique… not just your next Insta post. By doing this, you may finally be able spot where you’ve been going wrong all this time…

Load management

The human body is very good at adapting to its demands and environment, although it often needs adequate time to make these adaptations. Sudden changes to exercise are likely to be met with some resistance from the body. This doesn’t mean change is bad. It just means we need to be smart about making changes or when starting something new. These alterations should be incremental and properly monitored. Remember: evaluating your program is always a useful tool to establish those important questions of ‘am I doing enough and am I getting enough rest?’.

When looking at your program consider:

  • Has the amount of days training increased?
  • Has the weight/reps increased?
  • Have I started something new?
  • Do I have adequate time for my body to recover after training?
  • If there has been an increase in training volume/load, has it been too much?
  • How do I feel after the session? Could I go harder or am I completely exhausted?

If you take away anything from this article it’s this: ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! It’s likely to let you know how it’s feeling and how it is tolerating its current demands. There is always the likelihood with exercise that we develop some aches and pains which can be perfectly normal.

So, what shouldn’t I feel?

  • Pain that is lasting longer than usual or is more intense than normal
  • Pain that is worsening over time and increasing with each session
  • Pain effecting your ability to continue training
  • Pain effecting your ability to do normal day to day activities

Ask for help!

If you are having trouble with monitoring your technique, are unsure how best to warm up or aren’t sure if your current program is right for you, never hesitate to ask the professional within your gym or seek a physiotherapist. When it comes to looking at your technique, modifying your training load, those people are there to guide you and help make sure exercise in the gym is safe. Use them!

Capital Physio treatment rooms are located in our Farringdon & Holborn branches, get booked in now.

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