Why Listening to Your Body Will Prevent Injuries in the Gym

Injuries happen.

They are one of the unfortunate outcomes of physical activity, coming in many shapes and sizes.

All activities and sports have them to a certain degree.

Some are more bone crunching than others.

Many injuries are unavoidable and are the consequence of participating in something that you love.

When external forces are involved which are outside of your control, then the blame can’t be placed on you.

Some of these injuries  may even have  positive outcomes, like  helping to score the winning goal in a cup final.

In that case, they may be definitely worth it.

A lot of the time though, injuries aren’t worth it.

They are often avoidable, especially when you are training.

Many times, they are the result of errors on behalf of the injured.

That may be hard to hear for some, it was for me.

But it’s the truth.

We think the human body is unbreakable, until it’s not.

Then we learn the hard way.


Progress, not injuries

Progress should be made every time you step foot in the gym.

Whether you’re increasing the weight, reps, sets, speed or decreasing the rest time or improving your form.

Any progress is good progress.

Anything that stops us from this, like an injury or pain therefore is getting in the way of gains.

Often times, something that would have taken us 30 seconds to fix costs us 6 weeks of setbacks.

Fail to prepare prepare to fail

In our refusal to prepare properly, we sabotage ourselves both physically and mentally.

The direct result is the visible or invisible physical defect.

The indirect fallout from that is frustration and a drop in confidence.

2017 for me was a bad time for injuries.

Thankfully there was nothing serious in comparison to some of the  devastating  injuries out there.

But, for me, as someone who has never broke a bone before, I would consider them ‘bad’.

I was playing football with my friends when I got a nasty kick to the foot.

This left me unable to walk for a week with a swollen ankle.

I brushed it off and decided not to go to the doctors, that was a mistake.

My ankle didn’t get the help it needed and the problem festered and never truly went away.

After numerous failed returns to exercise and over 5 months out, it is now gone thankfully.

In my post about BJJ a couple of months ago, I talk about how I’m coming back after the same injury.

Yeah it didn’t go as planned…

I am confident that had I of just went to the doctors immediately after the incident then it wouldn’t have dragged on for so long.

The issue of ‘seeking help’ may be a post for another day.

If I am being honest, I do think about the missed training opportunities that have passed me by.

“Where would I be now had it of never of happened”?

Who knows, that’s not the point.

This line of thinking is useless in the long run.

It does help to instil in me a drive to avoid getting unnecessarily injured again.

If this was always my mindset though, then I would constantly be chasing the dragon of that 5-month extra version of me.

That dragon can’t be caught, it’s gone.

By trying to catch up with where I ‘should’ of been, I would probably end up over-reaching and getting hurt again.

Barbell, Bodybuilding, Effort, Exercise, Fitness, Gym

‘Life’ happens

We  can spend our time covered  in  bubble wrap or we can allow ourselves the freedom to enjoy what we love.

That doesn’t mean we should be careless however.

But one should not be constantly living in fear either.

It isn’t easy, but once rehab is complete, we need to try and accept the natural progression from there on out.

When you are ready to return to the arena, you need to dust yourself off and get back at it.

What is your other option?

To give up completely?

Then you would be throwing away years of blood, sweat and tears for a couple months lay off.

The battle scars would be for nothing.

So someone has surpassed you in your time away?

That doesn’t matter.

The only person you are competing with when you are training is:

  • Yourself
  • That’s all

Save that stuff for competition time.

Knowing when to quit

Autoregulation: listening to your body by extrapolating potential performance on that day (based on how the bar feels) and adjusting workload to match potential.

Yes, listen to your body.

This can be applied to any activity, not just in the gym.

You may think it sounds a bit new-agey but it’s true.

How  do you feel while warming up?

If it’s a 7/10 then you probably shouldn’t be attempting a 1-rep max squat that day.

When using autoregulation, you must be honest with yourself.

Do not use it as a license to back out of every challenge.

Use it wisely, my friend.

You need to leave your ego at the door.

Otherwise you will get hurt.

On the other hand, if there are days when you feel FANTASTIC, then don’t be afraid to take it up a notch.

If not, you may be leaving gains on the table.

There are some programs which must be followed exactly and there are others that do not.

It depends on your circumstances.

Why you should listen to your body to help with injuries in the gym

“Something doesn’t feel right”

Often when you feel a ‘niggle’, you are better off scaling back your training volume or intensity.

I’m speaking from experience when I say that, I have payed the price.

Depending on how bad it is, you may even be safer calling it quits for the day.

There is no shame in being conservative.

Your body is sending you signals that something isn’t right.

Paying attention to your body means using your intuition

This comes from experience so it will get easier.

Your performance in the gym depends on so many variables.

What you’ve ate recently, your sleep the night before, hydration, stress, time of day…

You can’t be expecting to perform the same day in and day out unless everything is on point.

If not, don’t be surprised if occasionally you’re not performing as well as you would have liked.

There is a time and a place

You need to know when to go beast-mode and know when to take it easy.

Something I continually have to keep reminding myself is that the iron game is not just a micro event.

It is a macro journey that should be carried out for the span of most of your life, if able.

“Strength is your ability to move against gravity, muscles determine strength and strength creates quality of life.

More muscle creates more movement which means gravity kills you slower.

Less muscle means that gravity will kill you faster, be hard to kill”. – Alexander J.A Cortes

Talking and listening to many experts has allowed me to see the bigger picture.

“You’ve got years to go.” 

And  they’re right.

With plenty of good and bad workouts in there as well.

The workouts that didn’t go according to plan are inevitable.

The question is, how will you treat them?

If you have a rigid protocol which can’t be altered then you are setting yourself up for trouble.

Want to know how to get 3D delts?

Why you should listen to your body to help with injuries in the gym

Looking ever forward

It’s important not to get too hung about up about these kind of incidents.

There is plenty of time to pickup from where I left off.

I have gratitude for being able to move my body that I didn’t have before.

I appreciate being able to lift, walk, run and cycle normally again.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wish it didn’t happen.

Putting some sort of positive spin on it does help though.

That’s what you need to do

Thanks for reading,

Stay tuned.

P.S. Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Have you ever had an injury, if so, how did you deal with it?


By | 2017-07-13T19:31:30+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Fitness, Life|10 Comments


  1. […] common complaint is of lower back pain when arching for the bench press. This is because of lumbar (lower back) arching. In reality the […]

  2. […] allowed stress to dissipate while still actively squatting. Had I not of listened to my body, an injury was waiting for me no […]

  3. […] only help to injure and delude people into thinking they are stronger than they […]

  4. reganjacklin July 15, 2017 at 8:51 am - Reply

    I wish I listened to my body when I was younger. As a youth my muscles became way stronger than my joints and a result I have injuries that have lasted over four years despite physio. It really does come down to long term progress without setbacks. Setbacks in the form of injuries will derail your progress and motivation time and time again if you are not careful.

    • Peter July 15, 2017 at 10:27 am - Reply

      Indeed Regan, that is a shame about your injury I hope you get better man.
      With long term things like that it is all about working around it and finding ways to exercise while minimising the pain.

  5. […] Injuries are tough but need to be dealt with. […]

  6. Philip Braselmann July 5, 2017 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Absolutely true, when I feel weak in the gym and touch the weights that I usually lift with, then my form is usually absolutely terrible, I am certain that, should I ever get injured while lifting weights, it will happen in this way.

    Good advice mate.

  7. Philip Braselmann June 28, 2017 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    ValorForFreedom is a great page everyone should check that one out.

  8. Philip Braselmann June 28, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    I think your comment section is fucked up too, just got a warning.

  9. Philip Braselmann June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Wow, it was hard to find the comment option, you want to fix that mate. When my blog was 6 years old I wondered why I didn’t comments, it was because the comment option was hard to find. Afterwards I got some comments.

    Regarding this post: I always do a 1 week break after 2 months of training because that’s the time when I don’t make progress.
    Yesterday my usual 1 week break was over and I felt like shit, literally the worst condition I ever trained with… I still broke my benchpress limit.

    All that because I force myself to take a break after 2 months, afterwards I need 2-4 sessions to adjust to the pressure and then It goes uphill, always.

    Best Regards,
    Philip Braselmann

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