Kicking off your year with injury prevention, so you can keep getting those gains


It may sound a little out of step with the attitude of the New Year's Resolution crowd... who may lean toward the mindset of "I need results at any cost and I only have 2 weeks". Like so many things we do here at Training for Warriors, the idea is that long-term thinking and consistent habits will produce the best results.

If you're lacing up your shoes for some new fitness benchmarks, I've laid out some the most common injuries that arise and how to prevent them. We will cover movements you can do to ease 5 major areas of pain: Back, Neck,Shoulder, Knee, Foot


Back pain is super common. My back has ached since I was 14, but it didn't need to be that way. I didn't know that issues were small and fixable because when I was a kid, all adults complained of back pain and I thought that was normal. 🤔

This stretch ensures your hip functions properly. Grab a couch or medicine ball (pictured) and kneel into the stretch. If you feel an unpleasant burning 🔥🔥🔥 sensation, you definitely got it. Flexing your butt cheek will allow you to open up a little bit more. If your knee hurts, you are stretching too far.

TFW Portland couch stretch

Classic core training with an emphasis on obliques. Take the time to get familiar recruiting lats, pulling from your toes to elbows, flexing 💪  every muscle in your body besides your face. Should be a straight line from your head to your feet, no sagging or dipping.


This exercise fires up the spine-preserving obliques, without too much trouble. Look for a perfect 90-degree angle where your hand connects with the wall via your resistance band. Slowly pull them out and in, 2 seconds per every rep.

Palof press at TFW Portland

Use your abs to hoist your hips, roll them up like a carpet. Keep the knees tucked to focus on the abs. Only roll up as far as you can maintain control. Do not roll onto your neck!

TFW Portland reverse crunch

This little device deserves a whole video (there are many youtube videos of it). By squeezing tissue instead of shearing it, rollgas allow the muscle and fascia to be massaged and gently hydrated, ready to work. The rollga is my pre-workout treat 😍 to keep me mobile and ready to go. Use a regular foam roll on your quads if you don't have a rollga!



Neck (and shoulder) pain is a tough one, it is even more common than back pain. it’s especially common in an active population. How do you deal with it? The movements will be related to the position of the spine and some of these little exercises will aim to restore the curvature of the spine and help you breathe and move well.

No spine movement is complete without the Jefferson Curl. Roll the spine up like a carpet. Keeping your chin tucked to your chest is surprisingly difficult and will reveal all the vertebrae that are "stuck". Pull the ribcage down as you move, and you're off to the races.


Most of us sit hunched over screens (as I type this, I am fixing my breath and posture) forgetting how impactful stress breathing is. In this 90-90 breathing drill, I'm activating my hamstrings to give my spine a neutral but gently posterior tilt. The breath nicely fills the canister of the abdomen and engages the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathing 💨💨💨  for recovery and to prevent neck and shoulder pain!

BREATHING. So very important!


This great exercise stabilizes the shoulder, works the oft-neglected upper back, and even stretches the hip. Simply pull the band into your armpit with the palm facing in. Don't overdo the weight or overthink the exercise!

TFW Portland high to low

Peanut 🥜 for your spine:
Using this aggressive mobilization tool, you can keep your spine moving in all directions and prevent shoulder impingement. Simply set the "ball" at the bottom of your shoulder blades and breathe for a minute, then do a crunch. Cry out in pain, move the peanut and do it all again. You should feel your vertebra adjust and then feel a small sense of relief. Now you are taller! 👍

Peanut for relief


Shoulder pain now exceeds back pain in the active population! Begin working on your posture and get in front of shoulder issues that may crop up. Swipe ⬅️ for five exercises that help your shoulders.


BENT ROW: Classic strength builder- this exercise is extremely important. If done well, it will keep your shoulders healthy and strong. 💪 If done poorly, it will make matters much worse! Get the form down before adding weight. 

bent row Training for Warriors Portland

BICEP CURLS: Not only a great way to make the arms look good, but curls are also critical to stabilizing the shoulder when doing bench press and chins. Don't neglect the arms! 💪💪

curls at TFW Portland


LAT PUSHDOWN: As the "Super" Muscle of the back, the lats look great and are also critical to your core strength, shoulder health, and athletic performance. 🏋️‍♀️🤸‍♂️🏌🏿‍♀️

Lat push down TFW Portland

TRICEP OVERHEAD PRESS: Oddly enough, this strength builder does a great job at stretching the lats and building the back, two things that will keep your shoulders feeling good as long as you do not abuse the form here. Do not fake your way through this movement or you will get hurt!

Tricep Overhead Press TFW Portland

LYING REAR DELT PUNCH: Here’s one exercise I wish everyone did all the time. This is a great way to make sure your upper arms look good and sit back in a rearward position. This alone will prevent many injuries to the shoulder and actually improve a lot of your lifts!

rear delt Training for Warriors Portland



When it comes to knee pain, you are not alone. Follow some basic rules like:

1. Don't train through pain- do things that are pain neutral or relieve pain.

2. A small change can make all the difference. Don't throw out the squats and lunges, try a different way first!


Quad Self Myofascial Release:
Not only does this action release tension from the quads that can irritate the knee, this also gets you a leg up on back pain. See for yourself!

Release them quadriceps! TFW Portland


7 Way Hips:
This one simple exercise will prevent so many traditional hip, back and knee issues. It will light 💡 up your side-butt, and is impossible to do without feeling the burn! 🔥 Focus on form, don't stop until all the exercises are complete.


Romanian Deadlifts:
RDLs are on the knee-pain train because much of our knee pain comes from our hips. If you cannot drop into a hinge (as pictured) without loading your back, it probably means your hamstrings and glutes 🍑 are not engaging enough to balance out your body. Take the time to learn this movement and you will feel better when training, be back pain free when deadlifting, as well as be on the road to pain-free knees. 

RDL at TFW Portland



Lacrosse ball release:
We roll out the fascia of the foot in order to release tension on the hamstring. Also because it feels A-MAZING. 😌

mobility foot

Side lunges:
These get the heart rate up and build some strength... but we really do these to stretch the hips and groin and improve mobility. Try it and see!


Step Downs:
Great for improving knee stability. It's one of those "Silver Bullet" exercises that works on all the monsters of knee pain. 🔥

TFW Portland step downs for knee pain

Holler if you have any questions or comment below! Coach Josh here, helping YOU bring out the warrior within.