Article by Dan Morris, Drummond Team Sport Rehabilitator

Gym/aerobic classes come in many forms such as body attack and body pump etc. They are a great way to remain/develop fitness as they are easily accessible; they are performed in large groups that help with adherence and you have an instructor guiding you through the class from a form and motivation standpoint.

Where gets injured?

 As with any exercise, we tend to see injuries occur from aerobic like classes.  There is a reported 4-12/1000 hours lost when taking part in such classes. These injuries tend to occur largely at the knee down. In fact, a follow up study of aerobic class instructors massively displayed this (see here).

What can I do to prevent these injuries occurring?

As suggested with previous blogs, preparation is a big key factor with preventing many class/gym-based activities. Below is a short list of things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of injuries occurring at your classes.

Make sure you have good basic movement patterns: In a class you are likely to be asked to squat, step up, lunge, pull a weight, press up head and perform some form of basic plank/bridge. If you cannot perform these in isolation you will most likely develop non-optimal form under fatigue.

Have basic strength capacity of key muscle groups:Injuries occurring at the knee down likely show the need to have good calf and quad strength, as well as gluteal strength. You could test these by performing the following; a single leg sit to stand (quad), single leg calf raise off a step (calf) and single leg bridge (glut) how many can you do? a good target is 20 with good form.

Have good ankle range of motion: Doing a lot of steps in a class requires you to have good ankle range of motion. If you do not, you will likely compensate at your knee.

Listen to your body:It is normal to develop some aches and pains, but it is not normal for the same place to ache all the time and progressively get worse. If this happens do not fight through, see someone about it.

Build up slowly! Last but not least, is slowly building capacity. We can almost move however we want as long as we slowly ask out body to adapt. This means do no go from 0 classes a week to 3! Maybe do one class a week with 2 shorter complementary workouts at home at the gym to develop the physical requirements mentioned earlier.