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October 14, 2010
WHILE some injuries can't be pre-
vented, the risk of developing com-
mon overuse injuries can be reduced
with proper physical training.
Here are three injuries common
to Navy personnel and how to avoid
Shin splints normally occur when
someone who hasn't run much for a
while begins to pound the pavement. It
is actually a blanket term for a number
of conditions and you should always
get your condition properly diagnosed.
However, from a fitness perspective
the recommendations are all pretty
much the same.
To avoid shin splints:
Build up slowly. If you haven't
run for a while, don't start
running 10km every day. Run
3km to 5km two or three times a
week and steadily increase your
Get new shoes. Even if your
runners look fine, if they are
more than 12 months old or
you wear them all the time,
the cushioning will have
compressed and they won't be
absorbing the shock of landing
on hard surfaces as well as they
If you have flat feet or
orthotics, make sure your shoes
are suitable for your foot type.
Let's face it, the Navy is a high-risk job, even when you
aren't deployed. Long hours and hard physical work can
take their toll and lead to injury. Don Stevenson explains.
Don't let common injuries spoil your day
Run mostly on soft surfaces. The
human body wasn't designed to
run long distances on concrete.
Limit your total distance.
You don't have to run to develop good
fitness and, if you have feet issues, old
injuries or are heavier than average,
you should limit your weekly running
and develop your fitness through
metabolic conditioning workouts or
alternatives such as rowing.
Lower back pain
A strong and fatigue-resistant back
is your best defence against acute
lower back injuries and chronic pain.
To strengthen your back, incorporate
deadlifting into your fitness program.
The deadlift is the number-one exer-
cise for developing posterior chain
(basically, all of your back side) and
core strength, and its benefits extend
well beyond the lower back, to the
legs, arms and grip. Add three sets of
five reps of deadlifts to your weights
workouts and your lower back will
For developing endurance, kettle-
bell swings are my first choice. Like
the deadlift, they give you a great
return on your time as they develop
lower-back endurance, leg power and
cardio fitness all in one hit. Throw
them into your circuits or perform
multiple sets of 20 to 50 reps with
short breaks between sets.
Add some odd-object lifting for
all-round core strength, and some ab
work, and chances are you'll avoid
chronic lower-back pain.
Shoulder injuries are often a result
of an overemphasis on chest training,
a lack of back work to balance the
chest work or poor shoulder flexibility.
To develop strong, stable and healthy
shoulders, try the following:
Turkish getup. This is an
ideal prehabilitation exercise
that strengthens all the small
muscles that stabilise the
shoulder during pushing and
Balance pushing with pulling. If
you are working on your bench
press or pushup numbers, that's
fine -- just don't forget to add
an equal or greater amount of
pulling work such as chin-ups
and rows so your chest doesn't
overpower your back and you
end up with a tight shoulder
Stretch your shoulders and chest
after each upper-body workout.
For more information on any of these
exercises or advice on program design
and training, contact fitness@octogen.
DON'T STRESS: Warming up before any sport will help reduce the risk of common injuries.
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