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03.25.19|Posted by Patrick Walsh

Smash your workout and build muscle 

Patrick Walsh is a Physiotherapist and Clinical Mentor based in Cardiff. As a seasoned gym goer, a passionate runner and someone who competes in endurance challenges regularly, Patrick gives us his top tips on how to reach your goals, build muscle and avoid injury.

I’m very goal orientated myself so it’s important for me to understand what my clients' goals are and how physiotherapy can help them to enjoy their hobbies and activities.

Every three or four months I’ll sign up to an endurance event because I used to find that my training got a bit boring if there wasn’t an end goal. I’ve recently completed a Spartan Run and Survival of the Fittest challenge.

What are the most common workout injuries?

I see a lot of people with complaints or injuries that I can relate to myself.

Everybody has a biomechanical soft-tissue threshold, so tendon injuries are common when the load is greater than the body’s capacity. 

I see a lot of shoulder injuries from upping weights too quickly in the gym and lower limb injuries with people not allowing adequate recovery after long runs. 

Can you tell us your top tips for working out?

  • If you are new to training or are picking up an old routine after a break, don’t push yourself too hard too soon – ignore everyone else and go at your own pace!
  • Weight wise, regardless of how many reps you’re doing make sure you feel comfortable. 
  • Build up strength gradually. Once your workout starts to feel comfortable and you feel like you are progressing, gradually increase your weights, distance or resistance. Don’t up your load significantly or suddenly. 
  • Don’t train the same muscle areas two days in a row and be mindful of your pre and post workout routine. 
  • Eat well and allow your body time to rest properly afterwards. 

Read more: Fuel your body with a balanced diet

What’s your essential pre-workout advice? 

Do a short cardio session before you move onto lifting weights or your main workout. 

If you are going to be working on your arms, do a short warm up that focuses on your arms and not your lower body – i.e. X-Trainer 

This type of warm up helps to increase blood flow to the area, which reduces the likelihood of injury by warming up the soft-tissue and muscles. 

And your post-workout advice? 

Using a foam roller post exercise can help to support your muscles. 

The benefits include reducing inflammation, scar tissue and joint stress, as well as improved circulation and flexibility.

Regularly rolling pre and post workout will mean you will help prepare your muscles for the workout ahead and also help with post muscle recovery.

What to do if you think you are injured?

Feeling some discomfort after a good workout is normal as your muscles work to rebuild, but if this escalates to pain then you should seek advice from a physiotherapist. 

With some tendon injuries it can be helpful to keep moving, but with others, it can be essential that you scale down your workout routine and address the issue as soon as possible – for example with manual therapies and exercise adjustments. 

How can physio and manual therapies help?

I always try to explain to people that you don’t have to have a severe injury to see a physiotherapist. 

With training, your body is always repairing and rebuilding, so it can help to see a physio for some soft-tissue massage and advice every 4 – 6 weeks. 

Professional footballers and athletes have regular physio for this exact reason. 

Being proactive about your wellbeing in this way can help you to stay on track for your goals and to prevent problems or injuries before they start. 

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