Injuries suck. There is never a good time to get injured. Not being able to sit, bend, twist, work or exercise on a day to day basis can be quite inconvenient. Not to mention the pain of it all.
The truth is the average person can’t predict when an injury is going to happen. For most people, pain is often the first sign that something is injured, which is often too late. This being the case, we suggest not waiting for an injury to happen to do something about it.
This is what is called PREHAB- exercise used as a preventative measure, as opposed to REHAB- exercise designed to rehabilitate an injury. Another way to look at it is PREHAB is designed to keep you functioning at or as close to your optimal levels all the time. REHAB is designed to regain your normal function you have lost through injury.
So now that you understand what PREHAB is, it is not surprising that some of the world class sports teams and athletes around the world are utilising PREHAB techniques for years as they can’t afford to be sidelined with injuries for any part of the season. These athletes have medical teams, physios, trainers etc. to look after them on a daily basis. Their prehab sessions have been programmed into their daily schedules to ensure their optimal performance on the field.
Not a world class athlete? Don’t worry, less than 1% of the population are considered world class. However, even if you are a Division 9 Weekend Hacker, you can benefit for doing some prehab.
Here are 5 of our PREHAB tips that you can start doing today.
- Fix imbalances. Not many people are completely symmetrical, but the more asymmetrical you are, the more likely you will get injured. If you have no idea where to start, get functional movement assessment done and let a professional guide you through the process.
- Work those Glutes. Not many people know how to switch on their glutes. Literally. Even when told how to do it, they can’t! This is the use it or lose it principle in effect. Most likely due to the repetitive and habitual sitting performed on a daily basis. Learn to switch on your glutes with out all the other surrounding muscle i.e. hamstrings and lower back.
- Single vs Double. When you look at the conventional exercises most people perform at the gym (squat, dead lift, bench press, pull down etc) they involve activating both sides at the same time. Remember we are not symmetrical, and rarely in life do we need to use both sides of the body simultaneously. Try doing single arm/leg exercises which challenge your balance and control, forcing you to be more stable.
- Quality vs Quantity. This is one of my mantras in practice. The goal of prehab is to teach you to be a better quality mover. Quality refers to having stable, controlled and efficient movement. Prehab has nothing to do with strength, speed, power, weight loss, bulking up etc. Slow down all your movements, drop the weights down (sometimes the best prehab exercises use no equipment just your body weight) and make sure you are using the right muscles.
- Work in different planes. Most conventional exercises require you to move though a single plane i.e. bicep curl, lateral raise, chest press etc. Prehab exercises often incorporate movements that move through multiple plane, the woodchop for example. If we just look at the motion of the trunk during this exercise, it moves through multiple planes of flexion/extension, right and left rotation, right and left side bend. Therefore using many more muscle groups and stabilizers to achieve this.
We hope you can see the value in adding some prehab into your exercise program. No one likes or can really afford to get injured.
If you would like to know more about staying injury or more information about our prehab/ ‘Desk Warrior’ classes run each week by our team, click on this link.