How to Prevent Injury When Exercising at Home

Raise your hands if you hurt yourself doing something stupid during your home workout. For example, I banged my hand on the ceiling garage door opener while I continued to dance. And now, twice , my dumbbell fell apart in the middle of the exercise, because I did not tighten the collar enough.

I got off lightly. There are many ways to get seriously injured while exercising at home, and these risks take us by surprise because they are not what we are used to thinking. There are no low ceilings in gym dance studios. Their weights don’t fall apart.

Now we are all in new territory. If you have new home gym equipment, you may not be accustomed to using it. If you improvise with the things you have around you, you may not be aware of their limitations. So here are some tips. (And if you don’t believe to be careful, check out this compilation of failed home workouts that I find not funny at all, but sad and intimidating).

Beware of overhead

Your ceilings may be lower than you think. And you probably don’t think about the things that hang below the ceiling itself – the garage door motor in my case, or the light in one of the clips above. Check your top clearance before starting.

Establish ground rules for outdoor exercise

I climb outdoors, but I have some hard and fast rules about when I consider it safe. If rain is threatening or the ground is wet, I don’t do certain exercises because I know my feet can slip.

Search technique

If you are trying new exercises, be sure to find the right technique for them. Have you found a tire that can be flipped? Great, but remember that there is a serious risk of biceps tearing if you do heavy splint backflips. Take a moment to learn how to do this safely .

It is the same with any lift that is new to you, especially one that is heavy or uncomfortable. Deadlift? Front squats? Pick up heavy stones? Relax your technique before giving it your best.

Inspect your resistance bands

Resistance bands can burst unexpectedly, even at the best of times. Rubber breaks down over time, which is why most manufacturers recommend replacing it every few months. Check the instructions on the manufacturer’s website. If you don’t know how old your bracelets are, use them with care and stop using them as soon as you find any cracks or other signs that they are breaking.

Tighten the collars

If your barbell or dumbbell has collars to support your weight, always check to see if they are properly tightened. Even if you don’t usually worry about collars, home is a different place from the gym. Maybe you are on an uneven surface, or maybe you are doing an exercise that might not fail in the way you expect. Tighten them. Double if you’re not sure how safe they are.

Don’t trust the chairs

We don’t always doubt whether the chairs will hold our weight, but if you have an extra hundred pounds of iron to spare, it might be worth it. In the failing video above, there are several examples of people using garden chairs to do incline bench presses (when you lean back). The same warning can apply to overhead presses, step-ups, or box jumping when you put your feet on a piece of furniture. Make sure whatever you use is strong enough to support your weight and stable enough so that you won’t tip over.

While we are doing this, do not trust anything. Wall bounces are great for cinder block walls, but not as good for living room drywall. Before using anything in your living space, ask yourself: how is this different from the same thing in my gym?

Don’t hang around with things that can’t support your weight.

A properly installed pull-up bar above the door should be credible, but check the instructions to make sure you did it right. Also pay attention to which exercises you can do safely with it: a bar that can withstand strict pull-ups can loosen if you try to do the bent-over exercise.

The same goes for the location where you will attach the harness trainer. Again, check the instructions that came with it.

If you are doing outdoor hanging exercises, please remember that dead tree limbs snap easily. They may look sturdy, but when they break, it can happen suddenly. Do not pull up on a branch that has no leaves. If you are not sure how much weight a branch can support, don’t risk it.

Check everything constantly

Once you’ve put together your equipment and your daily routine, you may be tempted to relax. But the bolts can loosen and bad decisions can haunt you over and over again. Get in the habit of checking your space and your equipment before every workout. Are the crossbar bolts still tight? Is the earth dry? Are these resistance bands still looking fresh?

I also like to look at my routine from a vantage point: what if I do something stupid? For example, I can hold a light barbell by stepping over my gym bag. But what if one day I get a little tired or don’t notice that the strap of the bag is sticking out a little? I probably won’t stumble about it, but why not eliminate the risk? So I try to keep the paths clear and arrange my things so that I’m safe, even if I forget to be careful.


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