Newton Personal Trainer Charles Inniss Talks Cumulative Injury

Watch the short video below and then read about avoiding cumulative trauma injuries as a result of your workout routine.

Newton Personal Trainer Talks Cumulative Injury

Many of the injuries that people suffer in the gym (or as a result of any fitness activity) are the result of cumulative trauma or repetitive stress. But you can do a few things to decrease the likelihood that you suffer repetitive stress injuries.

Conduct a Posture and Movement Assessment

My number # 1 tip for everyone that exercises is to have a qualified professional conduct a movement assessment!

This is so important for young people, older people, athletes in all sports, weekend warriors, people with past injuries, recreational gym-goers, and anyone else that plays any sports or does any form of exercise.

Efficient Movement is the key to decreasing the risk of injury and increasing performance! When your body moves efficiently, you will have the most control (stability) and the least pressure (compression) on your joints and muscles.

Conversely, when your body does not move efficiently, you will have less stability and more pressure on your joints, and this increases your risk of injury.

Here's an example...

If your neck, upper back, and spine posture is not ideal then your shoulder range of motion will be affected. If your shoulder range of motion is limited, your body will compensate in some way that will increase the pressure (stress) on your rotator cuff muscles. If your rotator cuff muscles constantly work harder than they should they will wear out more quickly.

Muscle imbalances and compensatory movement patterns develop all over our bodies as a result of bad posture, bad habits, over-training, previous injury, and genetic structure. If you begin a workout routine or play a sport without knowing your weaknesses, you will be much more likely to suffer an injury.

So I recommend that everyone that works out has their posture and movement assessed, so they can discover their weaknesses. Once you discover your weaknesses, it's important to incorporate some corrective exercises to improve those weaknesses. This will decrease your risk of developing injuries as a result of cumulative trauma and repetitive stress.

Avoid Excessive Exercise Habits

newton personal trainer charles inniss

The challenge that many exercisers face is that their #1 goal is NOT to keep their joints healthy.

Most people want to lose weight and/ or build muscle, but they sometimes "kill" their joints in the pursuit of decreasing body fat or building big muscles.

Trust me I understand this mentality. I was a collegiate athlete and natural bodybuilder. At one point, I was lifting weights twice a day 6 times a week trying to sculpt the perfect physique. And, while I had success and won competitions, my joints are still mad at me 10 years later.

Side Note: Athletes generally need hip replacements decades before non-athletes. By the way, Lou Ferrigno aka "The Incredible Hulk" had double knee replacements and double hip replacements by age 55 due to severe arthritis. Can you say, "I want to pump you up and blow out your joints!?"

To me needing to cut off a large chunk of the largest bone in your body does not seem like something a healthy person should have to do. So, to me excessive exercise can sometimes cause the exact opposite of health.

Last thing, I'll say is that it is hard to quantify "excessive". We are all different and some people can tolerate more stress than others before having joint problems, but this is where I come in. I can help analyze a fitness routine and modify a workout so that people can still be fit and strong and healthy while also respecting their joints.

Vary Your Workout in a Structured Way

Exercise is medicine, and I actually think that people should exercise or be active in some way every day.

You can decrease your risk of injury if you cross train or practice new exercises every few months.

If you've been doing walking lunges every week for a few months, maybe switch over to the leg press for a few months. If you've been running often, try spending a few weeks biking or swimming instead. These are just examples, but switching exercises from time to time can decrease the repetitive stress that may be placed on a specific area of the body.


As a physical therapist, I know that many injuries are the result of cumulative trauma and repetitive stress created by workout routines and fitness programs, but you can take action to decrease your risk of injury.

First, get your posture and movement assessed by a trained professional, so that you can discover your weaknesses and work to improve them.

Second, try to avoid excessive exercise habits.

And, lastly, vary your workout in a structured way so that you avoid overloading an area of your body.

Yours in Health,
Charles PT/PT

P.S. Please share this page with anyone you think might benefit from the information. And, if you live in Newton (or the Boston area) and would like me to do a postural and movement assessment, simply contact me to set up an appointment.

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