Training Smart: Simple Tips on Prehabilitation

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by BRETT COOK

Training Smart: Simple Tips on Prehabilitation
Athletes are all too familiar with the term “rehabilitation.”  Rehabilitation is a process of recovering from some type of injury sustained during training or competition; here you’re being reactive. The rehabilitation process can range from weeks to months or even years, depending upon the type of injury. As strength and conditioning professionals, we seek not only to improve performance but also to prevent injuries when training our athletes. Prehabilitation is a term which essentially describes the specific training and conditioning done to prevent injuries; here you’re being proactive. Here are a few tips that you can use when designing a strength and conditioning program that is geared towards preventing injuries while also improving performance.

Strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints commonly stressed during competition will help reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance.

1. Common Injury Sites

Examine the common injury sites in the body associated with the sport or movement. Common examples would be the elbow in tennis (tennis elbow), rotator cuff in baseball, and the lower back in golf. When designing your fitness program, these areas should receive special attention through strength and conditioning since these areas undergo the majority of the stress during actual performance of the given sport.

2. Biomechanics

Understand the biomechanical movement patterns that are associated with the sport. Knowing these movement patterns and understanding the kinetic chain helps you develop a strength and conditioning program that is more sport-specific. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints commonly stressed during competition will help reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance.

3. Adequate Rest

Many injuries are caused from the overuse of certain joints and muscles. This is commonly referred to as overtraining syndrome. Tendonitis is an overuse type injury which often affects the shoulders, elbows, and knees. Nothing does the body good as a little extra rest!

4. Nutrition

In essence, you are what you eat! Despite how well your athlete or client may be in shape physically, the dynamics of nutrition cannot be ignored. Conditions such as muscle cramps and hypoglycemia caused by poor nutrition can quickly lead to fatigue and injury. Take the time to teach your athletes about the fundamentals of good sports-specific nutrition and how it will improve their energy levels and enhance their recovery.

Brett Cook (MS, CSCS, USAW, NASM-GFS) is a professor of sports medicine and fitness technology at the Keiser University College of Golf in Port St. Lucie Florida. He can be reached at bcook@keiseruniversity.edu for more information on strength and conditioning and sports medicine.
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