3 Types of Injuries


If you train MMA, injuries are the norm, not the exception.

But even if you don’t train MMA but you go to the gym and push yourself to reach higher levels of fitness, sooner or later, something’s gonna happen.

That’s just the way it is.

Over the last few years, more and more little aches and pains and nagging things have been coming up.

Some attribute it to age (I’m 32)…

I don’t buy it. And neither should you.

Here’s why:

Yes, aging makes your tissues less injury-proof and makes recovery take longer.

But let me ask you a question…

Let’s say 2 guys workout 3-4 days per week, who would be more likely to experience an injury:

jack-lalanneThe 60 year old guy with perfect movement mechanics, a deep intuitive understanding of his body and top-notch nutrition, sleep and stress management…

… or the 30 year old guy who’s got terrible form in the gym, doesn’t listen to his body, eats like crap and has a high-stress job and 2 young kids?


Age isn’t the determining factor.

Plus, there’s nothing you can do about it, so fuggedaboutit!

Either way, one thing we can all agree on is that injuries are a pain in the ass and can be a real downer…

Nothing worse than making super gains in some area of fitness, then having to sit out for a few weeks and watch them wither away…

But as an S&C coach, I’ve shifted my perspective on injuries lately.

Whenever I’ve had an injury, I’ve learned so much about my body and how it functions. Injuries have a ton of teaching power.

I’ve gained a deeper understanding of what muscles work during what movements and how my body naturally compensates to avoid others.

This knowledge has definitely made me a better coach by improving the effectiveness of my cues.

And having different types of injuries over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 3 basic types of injuries that we get.


Injury Type #1: Accidental and Incidental

These are the types of injuries that happen and when people see it happen they rush over to you and say, “Are you ok?”

“Ahhhhhhh shit, fuck, #@$#%!” is the typical reply of the person who got injured.

When I was 18, I got smashed into the boards from behind playing ice hockey and I suffered an SC joint sprain. This was an incidental injury.

Luckily it wasn’t too bad as I was out of commission for only a few weeks.

Another hockey flashback – when I was a kid I was playing street hockey with my brothers and as I was running, I tripped and smashed my mouth on the pavement.

Chipped a tooth, bloodied a lip, but not too bad. You may have noticed I have uneven front teeth – this is why.

And there was nothing I could’ve done about either injury so there’s not much more to say about accidental and incidental injuries other than they suck.

Parkour is also a good source for accidental and incidental injuries:


Injury Type #2: WTF?

jackie-chanThese are injuries that happen and when they do, you’re like, “WTF?”

Recently, I was at the cottage and I was walking and all I did was turn my body a little bit and suddenly pain shot through my knee like a lightning bolt.

I hobbled on one leg over to the couch to assess the damage. I sat down and moved my knee around a bit, thinking the pain would just go away because nothing really happened.

But the pain didn’t go away. In fact, it lasted for over a week and I just got back to leg training 2 days ago.

I’ve racked my brain trying to think about what happened and how to prevent it, but I can’t come up with anything.

All I can do is hope it doesn’t happen again.

Just like with accidental and incidental injuries, not much you can do, so nothing to think about.


Injury Type #3: Arrogant and Ignorant

In this classification system, these are the only injuries you can actually do anything about.

When I was 14, I had fairly major back surgery that left me lying on back to recover for 2 full months.

Because a surgeon’s job is to do his thing then send you on your merry way, I didn’t know that I would have to deal with issues like muscular strength and length imbalances.

So once I got past the stage of working out where my main goal was to pump up my bicepz to impress the honeys and I started Squatting, shit got real.

Back pain and SI joint pain were common after heavy squat sessions.

Until I learned why they were happening to me and what to do about it in university under the tutelage of Dr. Stu McGill.

But before then, I was ignorant to where my problems were coming from and suffered Ignorant Injuries as a result.

Since I’ve dedicated the past 14 years of my life to studying how to turn the human body into a vicious fighting machine, the amount of potential ignorant injuries has gone down while the potential amount of arrogant injuries has gone up. 

I say potential because the injuries don’t have to occur, if you take preventative action once you learn what you’re doing or not doing that might result in an injury.

Lately, my biggest issues have been with my knees…

For example, whenever I’ve gotten to around 250 lbs on the Back Squat, my knees started to feel it.

Thing is, I knew what was up.

ostrichBut like the silly ostrich, I kept my head buried in the sand, hoping it would just go away.

Unfortunately, this strategy failed.


Which is why I’ve dedicated so much time and energy to fixing the problem – my tight ass hips.

In my next post I’m going to show you how tight hips can cause knee problems, but until then…

What injuries have you had and based on the 3 types here, how would you classify them?

Let me know in the Comments below.


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walter J
walter J
9 years ago

Nice Blog Eric, and nice youtube clip too.
Knee injuries, sh.., I chucked in my Krav Maga training in to run a marathon and the first thing that came up was my Jumper’s knee from a lot of martial arts, and general parkour issues.
Then after I ran my first marathon in 3.39, it took another 2 years to run my next 50km, but that time I got hit with the flu a week before the race.
Most of it is incidental, but training is training, i.e you got do the km’s.

So I am now just trying to run around the block let alone long distances without most of my joints feeling like they have hit the preferable brick wall.
Give it time and all usually comes good, but listen to your body is no doubt the best advice I’ve ever received. wj

9 years ago

I was doing rib cage pullovers and the collar came lose on the bar and all the weights one right after another came crashing on my head. Almost knocked me out. I let arrogance set it and did nothing as I though the head ache would go away. It did, but about three months later I got vertigo doing sit ups room spinning around like crazy. Went to a ENT specialist that diagnosed me with BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) from the weights hitting me in the head, About three months after that I got done lifting weights and was stretching out and twisted my knee ever so slightly and heard a pop. I did what you did went to the couch assessed and thought the pain would go away. After a few minutes I got up and tried to walk and couldn’t went to bed and thought I would… Read more »

9 years ago

You name it I have probably had it, at 62 I still workout 3 times per week but need to be very careful and use good form. One thing I might add is all those little injuries come back to haunt as you get older

9 years ago

Woke up one morning to find I can’t use my hands or arms very well, I could’t even move my bed covers or lift a cup. I’m still waiting for physio and no reason as yet to why its happened, I can take anti-inflammatories but they make me feel crap, they upset my stomach and I hate taking tablets. I haven’t been able to lift for 3 months, Its something like tennis elbow and in both elbows and I have almost no grip 🙁

9 years ago
Reply to  Garry

Dude that sounds neural meaning that a nerve is getting pinched and since it’s in both arms/hands, it’s central – in the cervical vertebrae, as that’s where the nerves that feed your arms/hands are located.

You need to get to a physio, like yesterday, so just go somewhere and get it checked out ASAP.

Traction may help, here’s a link showing how you can do a gentle neck traction on yourself. It helps by creating space in your vertebrae, taking pressure off of your pinched nerves. But don’t try to push it hard – harder is not better in this case.


9 years ago

Im in a similar situation as you in regards to the back. A work injury left me in bed for a fe w months and my back forgot how to work. Specifically the t spine. I’d love to hear what helped you get back to normal. Thanks.

9 years ago

Hi I have recently fractured a rib from a hard body shot from a sparing partner who weighs 20kg more than me and now there is a dent in my rib. I fractured the rib about six weeks ago and now a little pain comes once in a while on my rib. Also my right shoulder clicks whenever I move it but there is no pain or discomfort to the shoulder. Also I get piain in the back of my knee if a sparring partner catches my kick and then counters my kicking the back of my leg or knee which results in me falling to the ground.

9 years ago

1, popped my knee out during training deff accidental
2, got a briuse on the other side of injured knee after 3months of taking it light to heal up, puss lumps came out and hurt like damm when i kneeled down, wtf
3, ran half marathon about 3 weeks after popping my knee out thinking it would be fine, 10 km in felt like it had been hit with an axe ran/walked/crawled the rest. finished 2hours should have waited for the ambulance but i could not fail to finish fully arrogant

9 years ago

Helo mate this last month I hurt my back
At the bottom during work not sure wat it comes
Under as I lift good and always bends my nees
It was a plastere bucket 70 kgs I think this is more
Wear and tear with little complacency it is not goin
Away massage stretches so a back article would
Be good


zen master
zen master
9 years ago

I have the tight ass hip problem too, so I look fwd to the next post. The 1st injury that pops into my head is when I broke my collar bone during a wrestling tourny in high school senior yr. Total ruined my last year. Definitely accidental.