April 2018 Newsletter

10 Common Workout Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Not enough rest, too much too soon, repetitive motions and simple wear and tear can result in pain and injuries that put the kibosh on your workouts. In fact, a study of college athletes published in the Journal of Athletic Training shows overuse injuries (repetitive motions involved in sports and workout routines, such as long-distance running, swimming and rowing) account for nearly 30 percent of all injuries. Inflammation, general stress and tendinitis were the most common overuse injuries reported. High-speed, full-body-contact sports most often resulted in acute injuries. Here are the most common workout injuries, how they can occur and tips for staying safe.

1 – Ankle Sprain

Twisting an ankle doesn’t just happen running outdoors. Jogging on a treadmill can also result in an ankle sprain, says Cindy Trowbridge, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Texas at Arlington. “The biggest problem running indoors on a treadmill is losing your focus and accidentally stepping half on and half off the treadmill while the belt’s still moving.” If you jump off the treadmill quickly, your ankle may roll in an unnatural direction. Running outside on uneven terrain or up and off curbs also increases the risk of an ankle sprain. HOW TO STAY SAFE: Most treadmills have a clip you attach to your clothes that stops the machine if you fall. Says Trowbridge, “If you run outdoors, stay on level sidewalks or at a park, versus running where you have to go up and down off a curb.” Look for paved, even walkways because uneven terrain and potholes can be problems.

2 – Shin Splints

Pain along the inner edge of your shinbone (tibia) may be a sign of medial tibial stress syndrome, more commonly known as shin splints. Common in runners, shin splints can also develop in exercisers who participate in running sports or jumping. “It’s muscle inflammation and can occur even after just a couple of workouts,” says associate professor of kinesiology Cindy Trowbridge, Ph.D. You’re at greatest risk of shin splints if you’ve recently increased the intensity or frequency of your workouts. Uneven ground, running uphill or downhill or on hard asphalt also increases the risk of shin splints, as does wearing worn-out shoes. HOW TO STAY SAFE: Wearing proper shoes and gradually increasing your workout intensity (no more than 10 percent a week) goes a long way toward preventing shin splints, says Trowbridge. Also avoid running or jogging right away. Slowly warm up first by doing jumping jacks to get your blood moving and your muscles warm, she says.

3 – Low back Strains

A sudden, sharp twinge in your lower back during your workout could be a sign you’ve overdone it. “Squats or deadlifts with improper form wreaks havoc on the lower back,” says associate professor of kinesiology Cindy Trowbridge, Ph.D. “You can suffer strains or, even worse, nerve compression and disk herniation.” Twisting motions or sideways bends can also strain your lower back. HOW TO STAY SAFE: Beginners should first learn how to maintain a neutral back, says Trowbridge. To find your neutral spine, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your spine should touch the floor under your neck and lower back, which allows the natural curves of your back to absorb shock during exercise. “Get your form correct first before adding weight. Beginner weightlifters should do the leg press or hip sled first before trying squats.” If you’re unsure of proper form, ask a qualified personal trainer for advice.

4 – Rotator Cuff Injury

Four main muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) comprise the rotator cuff, which surrounds and stabilizes the shoulder joint. Shoulder pain when you reach behind you, overhead or out to the side may be a sign of a rotator cuff strain. “It typically results from repetitive overhead activity,” says Luga Podesta, M.D., sports medicine specialist at Podesta Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute. Activities such as swimming or throwing a ball and overhead shoulder movements like military presses can lead to rotator cuff strains when done repeatedly over time. HOW TO STAY SAFE: Strengthen your rotator cuff muscles as part of your upper-body program. Use good posture (a slouched posture makes you more prone to compression of the shoulder joint) and avoid repetitive overhead exercises with weight that’s too heavy and lat pulldowns behind the neck — do pulldowns in the front instead.

5 – Stress Fractures

These tiny, hairline fractures are usually the result of too much too soon or repetitive jumping in one place, says Luga Podesta, M.D. The majority of stress fractures occur in the bones of the foot, heel or shin. Pain around the site of the fracture that worsens with exercising, standing or walking is a symptom of a stress fracture. The area may also swell. Sports like basketball and tennis also increase the risk of stress fractures — as does osteoporosis. If left untreated, a stress fracture may not heal properly and can lead to chronic pain. HOW TO STAY SAFE: Start gradually. Try to progress by no more than five to 10 percent in exercise volume each week, says John P. Higgins, M.D., director of exercise physiology at Memorial Hermann at the Texas Medical Center. “For example, if you are jogging 10 miles a week, don’t do more than 11 miles the next week. If you are doing 10 reps of 50-pound biceps curls this week, next week do 11 reps of 50 or 10 reps of 55 pounds.” Cross-training can also help.

6 – IT Band Syndrome

An overuse injury common in runners and cyclists, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) occurs when the IT band, a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, becomes tight and inflamed. “Cycling can trigger this flare-up, which causes pain on the outside of the knee,” says associate professor of kinesiology Cindy Trowbridge. This can also occur in runners who wear worn-out shoes, run on uneven or banked surfaces, run downhill, do the same run in the same direction too many times or simply from overuse as a result of running too many miles. HOW TO STAY SAFE: If you’re a cyclist, make sure the seat height is appropriate — not too high or low — says Trowbridge. In a cycling class, ask the instructor to help you adjust the height of the seat as well as find the right location that places your torso in an ideal position. “You want to be able to just reach the bar without feeling all bunched up,” she says. Runners should do a short walking warm-up before starting to run and make sure they replace worn-out shoes. Also, avoid running on concrete and, if you run on a track, change directions regularly.

7 – Patellofemoral Syndrome 

Pain under the kneecap that worsens from running, walking down stairs or sitting with bent knees for long periods of time could be a sign of patellofemoral syndrome, also known as “runner’s knee.” You may also hear a crunching, creaking or grating sound. “You can get this from running, jumping or squatting,” says Luga Podesta, M.D. A change like an increase in running mileage, can contribute to pain. Patellofemoral syndrome occurs when the bones in the lower leg are not lined up perfectly, which causes an abnormal gliding between the patella (kneecap) and femur (thigh bone). This misalignment can lead to wear and tear between the cartilage and surfaces of the bones, causing pain. HOW TO STAY SAFE: Keep knees healthy with exercises that strengthen quadriceps and hip flexors. Seated and lying leg raises are often prescribed for strengthening the quadriceps. Also avoid kneeling or squatting repeatedly.

8 – Biceps Tendinitis

Pain in front of the shoulder and upper-arm weakness may be a sign of tendinitis, an overuse injury that typically occurs from repetitive motions. Weightlifting, swimming, tennis and golf can all cause biceps tendinitis. Biceps tendinitis refers to the inflammation of a tendon that attaches your upper biceps muscle to the bones of the shoulder. “Impingement and rotator cuff damage often accompanies biceps tendinitis,” says David Geier, M.D., orthopedic surgeon in Charleston, South Carolina. You’ll feel pain and tenderness in the front of the shoulder that worsens with overhead lifting. Pain may also move down the upper arm bone and you may feel an occasional snapping in the shoulder. HOW TO STAY SAFE: Cross-train by varying your activities to avoid repetitive overhead movements, and make sure to take enough rest time between workouts. Check your posture which can increase the risk of biceps tendinitis, says Geier.

9 – Pectoral Injury

Losing control of a dumbbell or barbell during a heavy bench press or performing dumbbell flies with too much weight can lead to a tear in the pectoralis muscle — a serious injury. “You’ll feel a tearing sensation, and the chest and upper arm often turn black and blue,” says orthopedic surgeon David Geier. “Sometimes a defect in the muscle is visible or palpable. You should see an orthopedic surgeon within a few days to determine if the injury needs surgery.” HOW TO STAY SAFE: Make sure you can control the amount of weight you’re lifting, says Geier. “If you’re trying to lift a very heavy weight, have a spotter present to help control it so that you don’t drop it or lose control.”

10 – Glenoid Labrum Tear

Clicking sounds and uncomfortable catching sensations deep in the shoulder during bench presses or military (overhead shoulder) presses may be symptoms of a glenoid labrum tear, says Geier. “This refers to a tear in the cartilage bumper that surrounds the glenoid, the socket of the ball-and-socket joint.” Labral tears can result from overuse or a direct injury to the shoulder, like falling and landing on an outstretched hand. HOW TO STAY SAFE: It may not always be possible to prevent a labral tear, says Geier, but any uncomfortable popping or pain deep in the shoulder is worth checking out. If the pain does not improve, seek a diagnosis from an orthopedic surgeon to determine the cause and treatment options. “Modify exercises to avoid pain as well,” says Geier. “Often you can still get a good shoulder or chest workout even if you have to avoid specific shoulder or chest exercises.”

Article adapted from: livestrong.com, Linda Melone

February 2018 Newsletter

Booty and Ab Burner Group Training

January 2018 Studio Newsletter

“Resistance Training Boosts Well-Being in Your Later Years” – Dr. Mercola Article | Atlanta Personal Trainer

Story at-a-glance

  • Less than 25 percent of Americans over 45 engage in resistance training, which may be the most important exercises you perform to stay fit and healthy
  • Researchers found seniors who incorporate resistance exercises enjoy a higher perceived quality of life and psychological health
  • Resistance training is associated with a reduction in age-related muscle mass and strength loss, improved balance and cognitive performance and a reduction in body fat with better weight management
  • It is never too late to start resistance training, but pay close attention to any physical restrictions from medical conditions, wear appropriate clothing, start slowly, keep your eyes open and do the exercises with proper form and posture

By Dr. Mercola

“Strong body, strong mind” is not just an expression. Scientific evidence demonstrates regular exercise improves your productivity, sleep quality and blood flow to your brain,1 while reducing the development of damaging neurological plaques.2 Unfortunately, less than 25 percent of Americans over the age of 45 engage in resistance exercises,3 which are among the most important exercises to stay fit and healthy.

In fact, your muscle strength begins decreasing in your 30s by as much as 3 to 5 percent of muscle mass per decade4 after 30, unless you do something to stop it.

Resistance training, also called strength training, is the strategy you use to stop this natural decline of strength and muscle mass. But, gaining strength is only one of the benefits of resistance training, as this form of exercise also helps prevent osteoporosis, improves your range of motion and improves your ability to do your functional day-to-day activities with greater ease.

When done properly, strength training can even be a form of aerobic exercise and will help you lose weight. After nine months of studying the effects of resistance training on senior citizens, researchers also found the participants enjoyed improved psychological health.5

Study Reveals Resistance Training Affects Your Psychological Health

During this study, the researchers investigated the effect of resistance training on the psychological health of seniors, as opposed to focusing solely on physical changes. The study’s lead author and Ph.D. candidate at University of Jyväskylä, Tiia Kekäläinen, commented on why the team began the study of the mental effects strength training has on this age group, saying:6

“The importance of resistance training for the muscular strength and physical functioning in older adults is well-known, but the links to psychological functioning have been studied less.”

The researchers sought out 104 healthy participants between 65 and 75 years who did not meet the minimum physical activity recommendations for aerobic exercise by the World Health Organization (WHO) and had no previous strength training experience.7 The participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups.

Three of the groups were assigned resistance training and the fourth was the control group, who continued their usual activities. The strength training groups underwent an initial practice and training in resistance work twice per week for three months to familiarize themselves with the workout. Following this, they underwent progressive strength training for the following six months.8

Over these nine months the participants completed assessments that evaluated their psychological functioning. These occurred at the start, before any training began, and then at three months, six months and nine months when the study concluded. The participants were also asked about their aerobic capacity and had a physical strength test completed.

Health Is Not Just the Absence of Illness

The researchers measured quality of life, sense of coherence and symptoms of depression. Sense of coherence is a concept developed by Aaron Antonovsky in 1979 to describe why some people get sick in stressful situations and others don’t.9 The scale measures a mixture of optimism and perception of control over your environment.

Quality of life was measured using a WHO questionnaire that examined the perception of the participant’s position in life relative to their own expectations, concerns, goals and standards within their culture and value system. It captured the quality of life in the participant’s physical, psychological, social and environmental domains.10

The assumption of the researchers was that the health of an individual is measured by more than the absence of illness or disease. The researchers found that at three months, the participants in the training groups exhibited greater environmental quality of life over those in the control group. Environmental quality measured satisfaction with the individual’s physical safety, leisure activities and access to care.

By month nine, at the end of the study, there was also a significant improvement in sense of coherence in the group that participated in resistance training twice a week.11 The results of the study suggest that the ability of seniors to manage their environment and their life may improve with the addition of resistance training. The researchers proposed further study to differentiate the benefits between consistency and frequency in resistance training.

Strength Training Benefits Your Whole Body

The benefits of strength training go beyond improving your mental and psychological health. As strength training builds lean muscle mass it also increases your caloric burn during exercise and afterward, helping you lose weight and maintain weight loss. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology,12 researchers found aerobic exercise helped reduce body fat while resistance exercise improved lean body mass.

This is good news for those who incorporate strength training into their weekly routine since you can easily do aerobic and resistance training at the same time, reducing your time commitment and boosting your results. Strength training stresses your bones, which increases your bone density13 and reduces your risk of osteoporosis. Resistance training improves muscle strength and mass supporting your large joints, such as your knees and hips that bear much of the stress when you are walking and moving.

This strength reduces pain related to osteoarthritis14 and reduces your risk of injury.15 Additionally, exercise, including strength training, has demonstrated improvement in cognitive performance. In a study published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, researchers concluded:16

“The present study demonstrated that regular resistance exercises could provide significant gains on the upper and lower body strength concomitant to positive improvements on cognitive capacities of elderly women, bringing enhanced life quality.”

Resistance training also has a positive effect on anxiety. In a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers found those who practiced low-to-moderate intensity resistance exercises enjoyed a reliable reduction in symptoms of anxiety.17 These results appeared to be consistent across a diverse range of populations.

Resistance Exercises May Prevent Long-Term Care in the Elderly

Aging Americans are more concerned about losing their independence and moving to a nursing home than they are about dying.18 Falls are a top cause of accidents in people over age 65 and a real threat to the ability to continue to live on your own.19 The National Institute on Aging recommends physical activity and regular exercise to improve balance and strength while reducing your risk for falling.20

Research has demonstrated that progressive strength training in the elderly can reduce sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss), and helps you retain motor function.21 Age-related decline in muscle mass and strength may be an early indicator of the potential for falls in the elderly, even those who are not frail.22 Studies have also demonstrated that resistance training improves balance in the elderly,23and may be more effective in reducing the risk for falls than aerobic or cardiovascular training.24

In 2015, the cost to Medicare exceeded $31 billion to cover the health care needs of elderly who had fallen.25 Every year over 800,000 are hospitalized due to an injury after a fall and the average hospitalization is over $30,000.26 In a study of nearly 875 community-dwelling women near the age of 70, 35 percent reported they had fallen, 33 percent of those had fallen twice or more and over 70 percent reported being afraid of falling.27

Improving strength and balance in the elderly may reduce the number of those who fall and the overall direct and indirect medical costs to families and the community. A reduction in falls and in the anxiety seniors feel about falling may also improve overall quality of life.

Easy Strength Training for Seniors

You don’t have to go to the gym three times a week to participate in a resistance program to improve your balance, strength and mental health. Instead there are exercises you can do at home that accomplish those goals and can be done at your convenience. Before plunging headlong into the latest YouTube home workout, think about the following:28

Consider your medical history

If you have a current medical condition, such as arthritis or cardiovascular disease, or a current injury, you may want to work with a physical therapist or certified personal trainer who has experience designing and adapting exercises to your personal situation. Include strength training with flexibility activities that help improve balance and your range of motion.


Choose times of the day when any inflammation or pain is at the lowest level. Avoid exercising when your stiffness is at the worst, such as first thing in the morning.

Warm up

Whether you have a form of inflammatory joint disease or not, it is important to warm your muscles and joints using gentle stretches or lower intensity exercises. Muscles and joints that are warmed up have additional blood supply that may help reduce your risk of injury.

Start slowly

When starting resistance exercises you may easily overdo it and suffer from inflamed muscles that can sideline you for weeks. If you have an inflammatory condition such as arthritis, consider balancing your exercise and rest carefully. You may find water workouts are a better choice until the inflammation has receded.


Wear comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing so you can easily perform all movements within your body’s range of motion. Avoid wearing rubber soled shoes, as they may increase your risk of tripping. Leather soles are ideal, but it’s also important you wear what’s compatible with the surface you’re working on as you don’t want your feet to slide unexpectedly.

Keep watch

Do not close your eyes during the exercises as it dramatically increases your risk of losing your balance. During exercise you may feel relaxed, fatigued or think you’ll be able to concentrate on the exercises better with your eyes closed. Resist the temptation.


Pay close attention to your form and posture while performing exercises. Unbalanced or improper weight distribution may lead to injury. If you are frail or have poor balance, be sure to perform all exercises with supervision and assistance.


I have three different resistance workouts developed that may help you get started. Remember, it is never too late to start! In the first, “Basic Exercise Guide for Older Seniors and the Infirm,” there are seven basic seated and standing exercises that help you get started.

The second, “Easy Strength Training Moves for Seniors,” are exercises that help you perform everyday activities with greater ease and confidence. The third, “Majority of Adults Need More Muscle Strengthening Exercise,” includes more advanced exercises, some of which may still be done at home.


Adapted from:  https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2017/12/15/resistance-training.aspx

December 2017 Studio Newsletter

September 2017 Studio Newsletter

“Are 10,000 steps a day really optimal?” – Fitter Faster | Atlanta Personal Trainer

For more on Fitter Faster, check out FitterFasterPlan.com 

July 2017 Studio Newsletter | Atlanta Personal Trainer