When you’re exercising under the guidance of a coach or trainer, you know you’re safe. They monitor your form and technique, tell you how much weight to lift, and stop you before things can go awry. Avoiding injury when you’re training at home, however, is an entirely different story.
So, how can you stay safe while getting your sweat on at home? Here are a few helpful tips.
How to Avoid Injury When Training at Home
1. Don’t Do Anything You Can’t Bail Yourself Out Of
When you attempt a heavy back squat at the gym and get stuck at the bottom, you don’t have to worry too much. Either a coach or fellow athlete can help you out. Or, you’re in an environment where it’s perfectly safe to drop even the heaviest weights on the floor.
This likely won’t be the case at home.
There might not be someone there to get you out of a heavy lift when you get stuck. And unless your home gym is totally decked out, you might not have the proper flooring for dropping weights.
This means that you shouldn’t lift anything that you can’t safely get yourself out of.
Some pieces of equipment can help you with this. For example, one of the coolest features of the Tempo smart home gym system is that it helps stop you from lifting more than you should. By sharing your goals with the smart gym, it gives you personalized recommendations for the workouts, weights, sets, and reps you should do.
Plus, with their new foldable (and seriously space-efficient) squat rack, you can safely load the barbell for front and back squats. Get your squats in even without a spotter — and then fold it up and store it away.
2. Monitor Your Form as Closely as Coach Would
We’re only human, and when we’re training alone with no one to watch, it’s only natural that our form will sometimes get a little sloppy.
Nobody’s perfect, but we definitely want to avoid letting our technique go too much, because this can easily contribute to injury. One of the simplest ways to do this is set up a mirror in front of you. This makes it easy to correct your positioning and make sure you’re performing exercises safely.
If you’re using a smart home gym setup, you might also get some assistance here. For instance, Tempo will monitor your form and make recommendations based on what it “sees.” Say you perform a squat and you’re falling forward into your toes too much. Tempo will tell you to put some of that weight back in your heels.
This may seem like a small adjustment, but it’s still important. It’s a tiny tweak, yes. But imagine doing potentially hundreds of squats across a single month. If you’re not squatting properly, it can add up and really spell trouble.
3. Stick to a Routine, Just Like You Would in Class
When you attend any kind of fitness class, what do you notice? They probably start by warming you up with stretching, mobility, and exercises to get your heartrate up, if necessary.
Then comes the actual workout, often followed by a cooldown — perhaps more mobility.
Your coaches and trainers are doing this for a reason, and it’s because it’s the proper routine to help you train safely and efficiently. Therefore, you should treat your home workouts the same!
As tempting as it might be to jump right into the workout itself, slacking on the warmup and cooldown is a big no-no. This is going to be especially important if you spend most of the day sitting.
Sticking to a routine also means having days when you don’t train at home. You can instead treat these as active recovery and engage in something low-impact, like walking or yoga. Rest is good. Training is when you break your muscles down. Recovery is when you build them back up again.
4. Switch Up Your Home Workouts
When you’re training at home alone, it can be easy to only do the exercises that you love most, ignoring the rest (especially your weaknesses).
However, this can lead to overuse of those muscles, which can then lead to strains and injuries.
This is easily avoidable, though. You just want to be sure that you’re not performing the same exercises back to back. For example, if squats are on the agenda on Monday, do deadlifts the next day.
5. Have an Accountability Buddy
Just because you’re training at home doesn’t mean you can’t still train next to a friend. Why not schedule a Zoom workout with a fellow athlete? Not only will you push each other to work hard, but you’ll also be able to keep an eye on each other and make sure you’re both making smart choices.
Plus, it’s another set of eyes on your technique.
Avoiding injury when you’re training at home requires you to be a little more self-aware; but if you do that, you’ll be able to stay healthy and fit long-term, and continue working toward your goals.