Injuries suck right? So what are you going to do about it?

Posted: November 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Today’s blog is all about injury prevention. Nobody likes to be injured. Being sat on the sidelines watching team mates play whilst your sat there wishing your knee didn’t hurt so damn much can be a real de-motivating issue for a lot of athletes and gym rats out there. This is why it is especially important to prepare yourselves for injury, to prevent it occurring the best that you can.

Prehabilitation should be a word that everyone undertaking sport should know and understand. Prehabilitation refers to exercises that are undertaken in order to prevent an injury. Where as Rehab is the process of re-training and building the body following an injury, Prehab is the work completed by an athlete with the single goal of injury prevention. It should be a part of every sportsman & woman’s training programme the world over. Far too often, clubs in various sports at all levels ignore the importance of work to prevent injury. Their main focus is on drawn on success in the sport. This commonly results in a wave of injuries across the team due to fatigue or over training of players that were not fully fit at the start of the season. Just look at some of the Premier League football teams injury lists at the moment if you don’t believe me.

So why is Prehab training so important to an athlete’s performance? It’s fairly simple really; if you take any given sport and look at the list of most common injuries, there will be a trend of some sort. For example, tennis players tend to suffer from the aptly named tennis elbow, swimmers; shoulder tendonitis and skiers and basketball players generally encounter ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) damage. Integrating Prehabilitation training into that athlete’s programme will in a lot of cases reduce the risk of sports related injury.

Most of the common injuries that athletes face can be split into a few different causes;

Firstly over training an athlete is a sure fire way to incur an injury through the sheer volume of work that their muscles, tendons and ligaments are put through.

Secondly poor technique is very likely to increase the risk of injury. When an athlete undertakes a movement or exercise with poor technique, extra strain is placed upon the musculature around the area where the movement takes place. For example poor technique of a tennis serve places far more strain and pressure on the tendons of the elbow and as such results in inflammation and soreness of the lateral epicondyle.

Thirdly an injury caused through a tackle or hit if playing a contact sport is very common.

All of the above points mention reasons behind the cause of some injuries. Prehabilitation work can in most cases reduce this risk. For example, if training in the on-season is going to be very hard, it is extremely important that an athlete finds a trainer or coach who can help them prepare for such a hard season ahead. Another way to reduce the risk of injury in this circumstance is through smarter periodisation of training from the coaches. Too many times coaches seeing their teams play badly decide to double the training sessions with the thought process that more will result in better performances on the field/pitch/ice etc. When in reality they are placing their players under far more physical stress and reducing their rest times in between games.

In the instance of poor technique; whilst a technical sports coach helps train the individual to correct their form, a strength and conditioning coach or Personal Trainer can help to strengthen the areas that are placed under more stress through this bad technique to prevent any niggly pains getting any worse.

Instances where an injury is caused through a tackle or hit are obviously impossible to avoid at some point in a players career if they are playing hockey or football (not soccer) etc. However through smart prehabilitation work in the gym, coaches and trainers can help players drastically reduce this risk by strengthening all the major muscles and joints in the body.

In my experience the area that most sportsmen and women ignore the most that would help to reduce injury is lack of training the core. Any sport that requires motion in any of the planes of movement also requires good core stability. A lack of core stability can result in spinal injuries, misalignment of the hips and general lack of balance which is key to many sports. Increased training of the core can be implemented into any program with ease.

One of my favourite tools for prehab work that works the core whilst helping to target specific area’s to improve upon is the TRX suspension trainer. I love to use this with clients for a few reasons. Firstly the TRX requires you to maintain a strong core throughout each and every movement that you undertake. If you do not fire your core through most of the movements, you will fail to maintain good form. Secondly, the TRX requires the client to use their own bodyweight as resistance and as such enables them to adjust this resistance as they feel the need to. These types of resistance exercise ensures that muscles, tendons and ligaments that need to be strengthened are worked without any additional pressure compromising the stability of the joints of the body that you would find in a free weight scenario.

If you are an athlete at any level that are currently or have for many years encountered recurring injuries I would suggest you speak to your coach/trainer or contact one to discuss how you can work on firstly fixing any problems you have then to prevent it ever occurring again!

  1. togtraining says:

    Great post!

    I have some articles and tips about injury prevention on my site. Check it out!

    -The Other Guy

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