We’ve all been there. You’re keen to start a new fitness routine or you’re pushing yourself to get to your next health goal. You’ve skipped a few warm-up or cool-down sessions or taken a couple more classes than you normally would. Then you pull a muscle, injure yourself and you can’t train for a week. It’s frustrating and stops you from achieving what you set out to do. For some members it might even put them off coming back to train at all. So, the question is, how can we help members avoid injury and stop them from dropping out of a new fitness routine?
A study by Dr Jinger Gottschall of Penn State University1 was conducted to evaluate the incidence of injury and training habits of Les Mills Group Fitness Instructors. By reviewing the programmes of instructors who train regularly, the scientists hoped to identify whether there were optimum training behaviours which helped avoid injury.
The study involved surveying 3,175 instructors aged between 16-70 years about their training routines. The instructors were asked questions about how often they worked out, the types of exercises they participated in and when they had experienced injuries, if any.
Current recommendations suggest that we should participate in an average of 3 – 4 cardiovascular sessions, 2 – 3 resistance sessions and one flexibility session each week. The majority of the survey group of Les Mills instructors trained for longer than this, averaging 11-13 hours per week.
One would think training for longer could put them at a higher risk of injury however, only 13% of instructors reported injuries that demanded a week of unplanned rest. Other groups with a similar training volume have reported much higher injury rates of up to 56%2.
So how is it that instructors completing above average levels of training are also less prone to injuries?
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states that the percentage of time spent in each training modality should be as follows:
- 60% cardio
- 30% strength
- 10% flexibility
These guidelines serve to help minimise the rates of musculoskeletal injury, whilst maintaining fitness levels. Dr Gottschall’s research findings confirmed that the Les Mills study group are undertaking similar levels of varied training to the ACSM guidelines:
- 54% cardio
- 35% strength
- 11% flexibility
In addition to this, Dr Gottschall also determined that although the Les Mills instructors were working out for longer than the ACSM recommendations, by teaching a variety of exercise programmes, they were less prone to injury.
Supporting your members by encouraging them to participate in a range of training methods is key to avoiding injury. Induction teams should be encouraging a balance of cardio, strength and flexibility training. Similarly, existing members should have regular reviews of their exercise programmes to include these activities. A variety of training and regular updates to exercise routines will also help keep members motivated.
Les Mills provides a variety of group fitness classes that deliver cardio, strength and flexibility training for your members. Regular updates are generated through our new releases every three months. New moves and music motivate and support engagement of your instructors and your members. Our programmes are tailored to support participants in gaining a varied fitness experience which also reduces the rate of injury.