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Injury Prevention Workout Tips

by Jeri

After 3 months on the elliptical & pilates, I'm thinking of slowly starting to ease back into running outside, completing squats/lunges, etc. as my knee is feeling pretty good.

However, I'm nervous & do not want to re-injure my knee. Do you have any recommendations (i.e. walk/run intervals, partial squats, etc.) because I'm not sure where to begin.

When I look back at my training log I know where I made my mistakes: 1) pushing myself to run a 10k faster than I did the year before with not enough time to train, 2) focus on running outside (hills & intervals, 30-40 min/4x week)as my only form of cardio, 3) focusing only on ashtanga yoga balance poses, 4) doing just squats & lunges for lower body moves, 5) not stretching enough after a workout.

In a nutshell, I didn't include a lot of cross-training in my workout routine. I'm a type "A" personality & I love challenging workouts. At one point, I do believe I may have been "addicted" to working out at a negative level (partially because I didn't want to gain the weight back I worked so hard to lose).

Unfortunately, I didn't give my body enough rest & I paid for it. However, this was a blessing in disguise because I'm smarter because of this experience. In addition, I was pleasantly surprised to discover even though I've modified/cut down my workouts I've been able to maintain my weight (which has given me even more confidence). Any advice is always appreciated.


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Injury Prevention Workout Tips

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Secret to Injury Prevention
by: Monica


First of all, you are too cool! I love that you kept a journal and that you reviewed it for clues about what may have been missing in your workout plan. Also, you have the eating thing down otherwise you would not have maintained your weight so easily.

The big secret to staying injury free is to incorporate a quick mobility routine into your workout plan. I know! I sound like a broken record but that really is the trick to being able to push hard and not get re-injured or injure some other body part.

Here's some examples of what you can do:

1. Run through a quick mobility circuit before you run. I use Intu-Flow but you can also try this circuit that I like doing with my clients:

reverse arm circles
arm swings (all directions)
lateral leg swings or frankenstein walk
carioca or forearm to instep lunges
downward dog to upward dog
8-10 reps of each repeat 2 times

2. Start EVERY workout with 5-7 minutes of Intu-Flow. Once you get this down it is so easy and it works. I do the routine you see in the video below almost every day.

3. Incorporate recovery workouts into your weekly routine. I'm doing a bodyweight exercises fatloss plan right now and I'm on a 4 day cycle that repeats for 28 days. Day 1 is moderate intensity strength, day 2 is high intensity metabolic circuits, day 3 is Intu-Flow mobility, day 4 is yoga. The cycle just repeats over and over for 28 days. It's called wave loading and it's so cool. Each cycle gets harder but because you've got two recovery days in each cycle you're able to train harder each cycle.

4. Finish up each workout with 2-3 yoga poses that release all the built up tension. Pigeon, side angle pose, and seated twists are the best ones.

5. Use your foam roller a couple of times a month when you're feeling really tight. Your body tells you what it needs and when if you pay attention to the signals.

5 Minute Mobility Routine
by: Monica

Here's John Sifferman showing you how quick and easy mobility can be.

Great Tips!
by: Jeri

Thank you so much for all the information!

I did have one more question - prior to my knee injury I used to do a lot of combination squats & lunges w/ upper body moves (i.e. bicep curls or triceps extensions) usually while wearing 5-lb ankle weights. I would perform these exercises in front of a mirror to ensure I was practicing good form. However, these types of moves were my favorite because I really felt the burn but I probably should've varied my workouts more.

That said, should I minimize these types of moves and/or stick to partial squats/lunges? Mahalo.

Posterior Chain Exercises & Modifications
by: Monica

Hey Jeri

I'm so glad you posted again because I completely forgot to address modifications and posterior chain exercises in my last post.

One of THE biggest mistakes I made at one point was exactly what you described in your initial post. Tons of lower body workouts exercises that only target quads and virtually none that target the glutes and hamstrings.

But really hard posterior chain work is a must not only for a balanced good looking body but for injury prevention, performance, and athletic ability.

Another issue that may be hurting you is the ankle weights. There is zero benefit in doing squats and lunges wearing ankle weights. All this will do is put more strain on the joints.

The best exercises for you at this point are:

single leg deadlift
single leg stability ball bridge
resistance band kickbacks
lateral resistance band walks
curtsey lunges
glilding reverse lunges
stability ball back extensions
single leg squats (when you get stronger)

Avoid traditional squats and lunges while you work on exercises that primarily target the backside (do this for at least 2 months). This combined with tons of quad/psoas flexibility work will heal your knee faster than you can imagine, balance your front side and your backside. It will also make you a better runner.

You can check out these moves in all my butt workout videos but I'll see if I can put them all together into one video.

Once you balance out your backside with your front side be sure that 1/3 of your lower body work targets quads and 2/3 of your lower body work targets glutes and hamstrings. You're a runner so your quads get plenty of work during running.

When I was injured my rolfer told me to stop doing quad work for a year and to work on my butt (my body was that out of balance). He had to yell at me and threaten not to treat me anymore so I would listen. I think you're way smarter than I am : )

This is exactly what I needed to hear
by: Jeri

Thank you so much Monica! I was getting frustrated because I had sent an e-mail to my doctor with the exact same question & he didn't really address what I needed to do for strength-training (only running). I just put away my 5-lb ankle weights in my closet...I'll keep you updated with my progress =)

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