Anyone who regularly engages in physical training is bound to get injured at one time or another. But knowing how you got injured and how to avoid similar injuries in the future is a question that is frequently asked – particularly by those just starting out.
The upside to getting injured is that experience can teach us something about how to prevent it from happening again if you are paying attention and ask yourself the right questions. You will need to do some research to better understand, and therefore avoid, similar injuries.
Ask yourself…Why did it happen? Was it lack of warm-ups? Poor technique? Poor technique or form can happen due to fatigue. If you cannot perform a technique properly due to fatigue, then that is clearly a signal that you’ve done too much.
You also need to take a look at what you do when your are not training. What are you daily activities? Do you sit a lot? Where is your body stiff? That’s where you need to focus more stretching and relaxing before you get fully into your training regimen.
How is your body alignment during the skill? How frequently do you train? When the injury occurred how was it treated? Did you allow it to heal completely making adjustments to your practice or did you continue to train just as if it never happened re-injure it?
Injuries are a part of the practice as we learn to push through our limitations. Just as you learn to continue to drive a car even though over 40,000 are killed each year doing just that, all we can do to minimize the risk is to pay attention. In this case, learning to truly pay attention to how we feel and learn from it when injuries occur. Finally, learn to mindfully apply that acquired knowledge when training.
One last note, overtraining injuries occur more often with a more aggressive character who simply tries too hard physically. Meaning, there is too much tension in the muscles using too much muscle or physical power to perform the skill rather than more relaxed or internal power that comes from good body connection and coordination.
For those practicing or have an interest in the marital arts, qigong practice really helps to balance this out and develops a greater sense of relaxation and body connection. It is a better use of extra time as well rather than an excessive (beyond your body’s current capability) number of reps. As when learning any new skill, be patient as natural progress takes time. Being in a hurry tends to lead to error, injuries and set backs.
So essentially when it comes to physical training: be patient, be aware, learn from your injuries, relax and enjoy the process.