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Exercising at Home: How to Build Muscle Without Hurting Yourself!

By Yann, published on 14/08/2018 We Love Prof - IN > Health and Fitness > Personal Training > Bodybuilding: What to Avoid When Training

When it comes to sports training, especially bodybuilding, make sure you know what you’re doing!

Learning the right moves with a professional personal trainer, at a gym or at home, is important so you don’t tear a muscle or end up with tendonitis.

Perhaps you’ve already had this bad luck already, in that case, let’s make sure it never happens again!

Superprof has therefore decided to put together a list of the most popular bodybuilding exercises as well as the most common mistakes to avoid!

With the help of this guide, you will be able to keep in tip top physical condition, without injuring yourself.

The Risk of Tendonitis in Arm Muscle Training

Do you have trouble with one of your joints? For example your knee, elbow or even shoulders?

It may be tendinopathy, linked to practising sporting activities such as muscle building as part of your sports training or during your gym class. Tendinopathy is an inflammation of the tendon, the band of connective tissue connecting the muscle to the bone, following a trauma.

The shoulder, one of the most unstable joints in the human body, is likely to be affected by tendinitis.

From an anatomical point of view, it has certain weak points. The shoulder has 5 joints:

  • the glenohumeral joint,
  • the scapulothoracic joint,
  • the thoracic joint,
  • the acromioclavicular joint,
  • the sternoclavicular joint.

The main one is the glenohumeral joint, which has 3 degrees of movement (flexion/extension, abduction/adduction and external/internal rotation), making it very mobile.

The downside to having this great mobility is that it’s accompanied by severe instability.

As it is a superficial joint, it is likely to be impacted by trauma and external shock.

Stay hydrated throughout your workout. Be careful not to trigger tendonitis when working the upper body! Source: Pixabay

The most common tendinopathy in the shoulder is that of the supraspinous muscle, responsible for abduction with the deltoid muscle.

In bodybuilding or muscle toning, it is necessary to stop movement as soon as the stump of the shoulder rises. Indeed, after a certain degree of amplitude (generally 90°), other muscles come into play, by compensation, when the muscle concerned has been exhausted.

Be careful, because there is a real risk of rupturing your tendons!

The riskiest moves in terms of upper body bodybuilding, in terms of the shoulder, are:

  1. Strengthening the middle deltoid.
  2. Strengthening the posterior deltoid.
  3. Pull-ups.
  4. Strengthening the pectoralis major.

If you have any doubt about how to execute any position properly, do not hesitate to seek the services of a sports coach or personal trainer when you’re at the gym or a private one if you prefer to exercise at home.

Remember that a good private trainer will also be an actual sports teacher with a degree or relevant qualification.

So, what are the most common mistakes to avoid when it comes to weight loss? See cardio workouts specifically for weight loss here.

Pull-ups: How to Prevent Shoulder Injury

Pull-ups come into play in many personal training exercises or as part of a sports training programme based on bodybuilding exercises.

The website mensjournal.com details how to execute the different cable moves in several well-explained articles and tutorials. If you can do all these exercises correctly, you’ll be half way there to becoming a personal trainer yourself!

The Chest Pull-Up

This exercise works the following muscles:

  • the latissimus dorsi,
  • the teres major,
  • the teres minor,
  • as well as arm muscles secondarily.

The biggest mistake is using your lower back to lift the weight, which tends to be too heavy, towards you, pushing you backwards. It is also important to lift properly using your back and not your biceps.

Also be careful not to arch your lower back too much when you bring the bar over your chest.

The Behind the Neck Pull-Up

The high pulley draw behind the neck puts the shoulder in a position that weakens the stabilising muscles of the shoulder, the rotator cuff.

Make sure your back stays straight for the duration of this exercise.

Make sure not to cheat by using your abs to lift the weight when it becomes difficult (do you know the mistakes to avoid when working your abdominals?).

Make sure you have good posture when weight lifting. Remember to keep your back straight during this pulley exercise. Source: Pixabay

The Chin Pull-Up

An exercise rarely practised by fitness enthusiasts and known more by fitness trainers, the face pull-up works, among others, the upper back and shoulder muscles.

It therefore mainly uses the trapezius, as well as rhomboids and posterior deltoids. Be careful not to raise your arms above the line of the shoulders, as external rotation with the arms in this position can be very dangerous for the shoulder joint.

Try not to move your head forward to meet the bar as well so that you maintain your cervical vertebrae.

Gym: Bench Press Mistakes to Avoid

This well-known bodybuilding exercise is ideal for toning and strengthening your pecs!

A common mistake is to move the shoulders forward as you push the bar back. This can cause shoulder pain and works your pecs less.

Remember to shrug your shoulders and tighten the shoulder blades to avoid this dangerous move. Also be careful not to grip the bar too tightly which can put your shoulder joint under stress. Too wide a grip can also lead to too much stretching of the pectorals and cause injury as well.

Top tip: Do not accentuate the natural curve of the body when you sit on the machine or during exercise and do not lift your glutes when you push as this will generate excessive pressure on your spine!

Finally, be careful not to lower the bar close to your neck and think of adopting a stable position using your legs so as not to create any imbalance, which of course would increase the risk of potential injury!

Do you know the mistakes to avoid when doing cardio?

Don’t Arch Your Back When Doing Squats!

The squat is one of the most commonly used exercises in personal training programmes…and for good reason!

It allows you to build muscle in your thighs and glutes, the main places our bodies store fat.

With squats, you can get a beautifully toned body and a dream silhouette!

Squat with good form to prevent back injury. Squats are essential for working your glutes and strengthening core muscles. Source: Visual Hunt

To gain mobility in your ankles, knees and hips, consider deep squatting, which involves holding the squat position for a while when you are low to the ground!

The deep squat can fit perfectly into a stretching routine, for example.

Squats also help prevent lower back pain. If you are new to working out and lack flexibility, do not be afraid to use a support such as a chair or desk.

Remember to keep your back straight!

Be Careful Not to Overstrain Your Muscles

Often beginners in bodybuilding struggle to decide on the weight (the exact term here would actually be mass, because weight is a force measured in newtons, while mass is measured in kgs) to use on a machine or on a bar (dumbbell, weight, etc.).

A common error is to want to lift too light a weight and therefore not make enough effort for good muscle building or too heavy a weight because you overestimate your level.

The latter is, of course, the most serious because it can lead to an injury or even an accident in the gym, if you can not raise a bar in a bench press, for example.

In all cases, we advise you to solicit the help of a professional:

  • Coach or sports teacher.
  • Fitness trainer.
  • Sports coach.
  • Holder of a qualification in sports science etc.

These professionals will be able to:

  • assess your actual fitness level,
  • come up with a personalised training programme using the appropriate weight for your body,
  • as well as demonstrate how to use various fitness equipment and show you the right moves.

Remember that an injury (such as tendinitis) can keep you away from the gym for 4 weeks, long enough for you to lose some of your hard-won muscle mass. Think long term by working out properly and according to your own level!

Does bodybuilding damage muscles and joints? In fact, it is this method that causes you to gain muscle mass. However, if your workload exceeds your recovery capacity, you may very well injure yourself.

We advise you to follow the following 2 tips to avoid hurting yourself during your sports training:

  1. Do not train a muscle group more than three times a week. A muscle needs at least 48 hours to fully recover from an intense workout session.
  2. Take a week of recovery after each workout. During this time, you should reduce your volume by half or completely stop any type of physical exercise.

Remember to warm up the relevant muscle groups at the beginning of your workout and stay hydrated throughout.

Athletes performing strength exercises such as bodybuilding should also take some form of protein before and after the workout.

As the Muscle and Strength website explains:

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and also muscle tissue. And they also play a major part in physiological processes relating to our energy, recovery, mood, brain function, muscle and strength gains, and also in our quest for fat loss.

Once again, a personal trainer and/or dietician will be able to help you develop a good exercise and food training plan.

Discover the mistakes to avoid in sports nutrition.

Get a personal trainer to help build muscle mass no matter what age you are. Elderly people have everything to gain from physical exercise, ideally supervised by a professional fitness trainer. Source: Pixabay

Bodybuilding and the Elderly: a Dangerous Combination?

Due to our increasing life expectancy, more and more of the older generation are concerned with maintaining physical activity.

Ageing is accompanied by a loss of muscle mass called sarcopenia which causes the human body to become more fragile (falls, sprains, fractures, etc.).

As this article on bodybuilding for older people explains, physical exercise is a simple, inexpensive and effective way to combat the effects of ageing.

Many studies have shown that bodybuilding can counteract sarcopenia in elderly people and that regular muscle training can strengthen bones, muscles and tendons, thus promoting greater mobility!

Researchers also recommended that senior training is supervised by health professionals:

  • a sports coach,
  • personal trainer,
  • senior gym teacher.
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