It’s a common occurrence in emergency rooms across the country to see men of all ages hobbling or limping onto a stretcher after a sports-related or accidental injury. Whether it’s a torn anterior cruciate ligament after a soccer match or a lower back sprain caused by simply picking up a newspaper, both of these injuries and many more are preventable through proper conditioning. Here are a few of the most common injuries men suffer and a few exercises that take minutes to perform, but could save countless money and time spent in the emergency room.
If you’ve ever challenged a friend to a race only to feel a sharp, bring-you-to-your-knees pain in your buttocks, you just injured your hamstring muscle. The hamstring runs from the pelvis down to your lower leg bones. A minor pull can cause discomfort that’s alleviated by every coach’s classic piece of advice: walk it off. More severe strains and tears require extensive medical attention and possible surgery.
- Twisting Lunge - This exercise loosens your hip flexors, which ensures your hamstring don’t work as hard during a jog or game of touch football.
- · Step into the lunge position, with your right foot extended backwards
- · Slowly lower your hips until you feel your hip muscle beginning to flex
- · Place your left hand on your right knee and slowly twist your body to the left
- · Hold for five seconds and return to the start position. Repeat this for 10 repetitions on both sides
- Barbell Lift – Target and strengthen your hamstrings with a simple barbell lift.
- · Stand with your hand and feet slightly apart. Grasp a 5 to 10-pound barbell, paying attention with your palms remaining down
- · Arch your back and bend your knees slightly before you slowly lower the barbell towards the floor, until you become uncomfortable. Raise yourself back into the starting position and repeat five to 10 repetitions.
Spinal facet impingement, herniated disc, strained muscle, pinched nerve and degenerative disc disease. These ailments sound frightening and are more common than you think. Professional athletic organizations spend millions every year on personal trainers and specialists to prevent these types of injuries. Here is how you can keep your back in tip top shape on a slightly smaller budget:
- Shoulder Lift – This simple technique not only targets your lower back, it also prevents injury by strengthening your stomach ligaments and muscles.
- · Lie down on a flat surface and extend your arms beside your body
- · While continuing to look at the floor, slowly lift your shoulders and head as far as you can
- · Hold for five to six seconds before returning to the starting position
- · Repeat eight to 10 times
- Arch and Dip
- · Get down on all fours onto a workout mat or carpet to prevent knee discomfort
- · Arch your back and raise your chest and head toward the ceiling. Hold this position for five seconds
- · Move your head and neck toward the original position while you lower your spine toward the floor
- · Repeat both movements for 10 to 15 repetitions
Your shoulders are versatile pieces of natural engineering. They’re the most moveable joints in the body, but also very prone to injury. You don’t have to be a professional pitcher or swimmer to suffer a major shoulder injury, but they’re avoidable by performing targeted exercises a few minutes every week.
- Towel Tension
- · Grab the ends of a bath towel with both hands. Kneel on the floor or stand up straight with your hands wider than shoulder width apart
- · Keeping your elbows straight and paying attention to maintain tension on the towel, slowly lift your hands above your head and lower them behind your back
- · Hold for five seconds before slowly returning to the starting position
- · Repeat eight to 10 times
- Arm Circles- relive your childhood by performing a simple exercise you may remember when physical education class was simply called “gym.”
- · Stand up straight and place your hands on your shoulders, paying attention that your upper arms are straight and your elbow are pointing out
- · Slowly begin to make small circles with your arms. As you continue for 30 seconds, slowly make the circles larger and larger
Almost everyone at some points has been horsing around the yard and twisted their ankle. These “inversion sprains” are very common and made less damaging by lessening ankle stiffness and strengthening the outer shin muscles through one simple exercise and lifestyle change:
- Toe Lifts
- · Sit on a chair with your back straight and your bare feet flat
- · While keeping your heels firmly planted, lift the toes on both feet as high as they’ll go
- · Hold for five to six seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times
- Brush Your Teeth – This may sound odd, but performing this position while brushing your teeth, standing in line or any other time you’re on your feet for a few minutes is enough to strengthen your ankle and shin muscles
- · Stand on one leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg
- · Hold that position for 30 seconds. Continue to switch until you’re activity is complete or you’ve spit out the toothpaste
While performing any of these strengthening exercises, know your limits. Don’t push your body too far or you could accidentally injure yourself, while attempting to prevent injury.
This post was written and contributed by Jackson Morrows. Jackson has been bodybuilding naturally for over ten years as an all-natural athlete. Jackson turns to legal alternative steroids to get that added boost that he needs.