The last thing I wanted to do was injure myself. I have experienced four exercise related injuries in the past, each one taking months to heal, but I had to try this class at least once.
I let the instructor know prior to class I was a newbie, so she provided modifications throughout the class. I chose the lower impact movement for almost every exercise and still found it to be one of the most intense workouts I’ve ever had. At one point, I thought if I’m not careful I’m going to puke or pee my pants. Oddly I did like this class and wanted to take it again.
Afterwards I told the instructor about my friends who claim body attack was hard on their joints and that I feared injury.
She believes I will remain injury free if I continue to modify the exercises until my core is stronger. Working out with a weak core causes some exercisers to not align their body properly causing awkward, jarring movements that put extra strain on muscles, ligaments and tendons. This is most likely what happened to my friends.
A few weeks later this same instructor pulled me aside after class and told me I was the one she was speaking to when she kept saying straighten your back and tighten your stomach muscles during the plank exercise. My stomach had been sagging causing me to arch my lower back. This she claims is what leads to lower back pain. She then demonstrated a plank beginning on her knees sucking in her belly button and contracting her glutes.
|By Jaykayfit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
On this particular day I had been extremely tired, but forced myself to attend class anyway. My body was too tired to keep my stomach engaged causing improper form. Honestly, even when I’m not tired I rarely perform a plank with proper form. I’m always in a rush; drinking water, arranging my towel and mat – then scrambling to get in the plank position to keep up with the class. No wonder my plank is always out of alignment.
This reminded me of the friend who injured her knee working out in a boot camp class. Her orthopedic told her he wasn’t fond of boot camp classes, would never recommend someone begin an exercise program with one and felt exercisers over the age of 45 should not participate in them. His preferred method of exercise was walking. He said if you walked every day for 30 minutes and maintained a healthy diet (fruit, vegetables and proteins) you would lose weight over time. He would recommend adding additional low-impact exercises only after a patient walked every day for several months.
As for me – I’ve stopped taking the body attack class. My gym now offers only one evening session and it is not at a convenient time. January has been extremely busy at work so I’ve missed most of my fitness classes except for an occasional Zumba. I did take a half-hour strength class last week. I performed the entire pushup and plank series on my knees. I feel like I’m starting over again, but this time I’m listening to my body and paying attention to my alignment.
How do you prevent workout injuries?