Prevent Injury As Studios & Gyms Reopen with 4 Tips from an Elite Personal Trainer

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To keep you strong and healthy this summer, we went straight to this La Jolla expert for advice. Down the street from Livkraft Wellness La Jolla you’ll find La Jolla’s beloved Elite Personal Trainer and Rehabilitation Specialist, John Swain. With years of expertise and experience in the industry, John is sharing the best tips and tricks to prevent injury as fitness studios and gyms reopen!

If you’ve been to Fay Ave in the heart of downtown La Jolla, you know it’s the place to be for all your wellness and fitness needs, including recovery! As San Diego’s best gyms and fitness studios reopen, taking preventative measures to reduce the risk of injury is vital. In addition to prioritizing self care and recovery at Livkraft La Jolla, there are simple injury prevention tips to introduce to your workout routine. To avoid exercise induced injury as you ease back into your workout routine, here the top tips according to one of San Diego’s best Rehabilitation Specialist and Personal Trainers.



When you step into the gym in hopes of getting back to your pre-quarantine fitness routine, reduce your training load in order to prevent injury. If you plan to go back to the same exercise regime, Rehabilitation Specialist and Elite Personal Trainer John Swain recommends reducing your training load by 30%. “Focus on the movement patterns you were previously doing, but decrease the load by 30% for your warm up set, intermediate set and your hardest set”. Why is this important to prevent injury? “Muscles can handle a lot, but the connective tissue cannot”, says Swain. “Long lasting injury happens at the tendon junction; tendons need time to adapt”.

For runners, Swain recommends following the 10% rule, meaning, “increase weekly distance by 10% each week” to avoid injury. Runners, if you really want to speed recovery try the Normatec Compression Boots at Livkraft La Jolla. The Normatec compression boots use massage techniques to increase blood flow and circulation, reduce inflammation and muscle soreness, and provide immediate relief from the feeling of “heavy legs”. If you’re looking to maximize recovery in between your runs, give this Livkraft La Jolla treatment a try!

Woman at a fitness studio using a Pilates machine


Next on the list of importance when it comes to reducing risk of injury, training volume. As you ease back into your workouts, prevent injury by reducing your training volume. Swain recommends reducing the volume within the workout by 50%. “If you’re used to doing four sets of something, do two. Cut the volume of your sets in half”.

Does this mean you need to decrease the frequency of your workouts? Not necessarily! For example, Swain says,"you can still workout the same muscle group twice a week, just reduce the training volume of each workout!"


If you’re looking for the best results, Swain says, “In terms of resistance training, 4 days a week at most”. More than 4 days a week of resistance training may increase the risk of injury, not giving your body enough time to properly recover. “Despite your training age (how many years in a row you have lifted), working out more than 4 days a week (at a hard level) doesn’t get you more results”. Of course, keep in mind every person is different. While workout plans, training style, and intensity will vary depending on the individual, Swain recommends 4 days a week for both novice and advanced lifters.

If you’re looking to enhance your performance, incorporate 2 days of anaerobic work per week in addition to your 4 resistance days, says Swain. Twice a week on separate days of your weight training, Elite Trainer John Swain recommends adding in anaerobic intervals from a conditioning standpoint. If you hate treadmills, don’t worry, there are alternatives that are just as effective! In place of treadmill work or sprints, try the versa climber, rower, assault bike or sled work! Swain favors the sled or versa climber. “Most people sit all day long, the versa climber and sled require people to stand and tend to be a lot more strenuous!”. Remember, the key is to take it slow and reintroduce your body to your workouts. Slowly work your way back to your pre-quarantine routine, injury prevention is the goal!

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When you think of mobility, breathing probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. According to Swain, breathing is one of the most important tips when it comes to mobility and injury prevention! During these stressful times, it is especially important to incorporate breath work before a workout.

Why is this important? It’s one of the easiest ways to prevent common injuries. Most people enter their workout in a sympathetic state, aka, fight or flight. During this state, people have a tendency to hold tension in the neck and shoulders, common areas of injury. According to Swain, breathwork allows the body to shift into a parasympathetic state, releasing tension while the muscles relax.  

For a quick breathing mobility exercise, Swain recommends Crocodile Breathing.

What is Crocodile Breathing and why is it important? Crocodile Breathing is a breathing technique that utilizes breath through the diaphragm. By taking diaphragmatic breaths, you increase mobility through the upper body and shoulders. “When you’re doing an upper body workout, you’re going to be much safer. Your upper body will become detonified, allowing you to utilize the right musculature during your workout and prevent injury”. Swain recommends a total of 15 breaths during the Crocodile Breathing Method prior to training!

Woman doing breathwork after yoga


Another one of Swain’s recommended tips for injury prevention is incorporating facial release prior to exercise. “When you activate your muscles and address certain facial restrictions, you will activate your core and gain better scapular alignment”. The number one areas of injury are shoulder, neck, lower back and knee. “The goal is to gain as much balance in these key areas as possible, so that when you’re putting load on top of your joint structures, it’s in a more favorable way”.

A quick facial release method? Use a foam roller or massage gun (we love the Hypervolt) to roll out your quads, allowing better activation through your glutes and hamstrings. Swain also recommends a glute activation drill prior to every workout (even when it’s not leg day!). This will allow for better core activation and alignment, helping muscles to properly engage and preventing exercise induced injury.  

Before and after your next workout, give these preventative tips a try. Keep your body looking and feeling its best all summer long! And of course, meet us at Livkraft La Jolla to recover.

To learn more from Elite fitness trainer and Rehabilitation Specialist John Swain, visit him @ 7744 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037 or contact him at (858) 518-1668 to book a session! Are you looking to build a gym in your home? For a customized home gym set up, contact John Swain. Swain can assist in acquiring equipment for designing a home workout space!

Read more of our tips and tricks for prioritizing recovery and preventing injury!

Prevent and Recover from Exercise Injuries Faster

From cryotherapy and red light therapy to PEMF, Livkraft offers the best ways to recover and recharge after hitting the gym. Book an appointment online or visit us in La Jolla to learn more about our health and wellness services.

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