They say hindset is 20/20 and in no place is this more true than in the gym especially when you are forced with facing injury rehabilitation. If you have been training for many years, the chances are, you have had an injury. In fact, they say you’ll never know how to really train until you get an injury. Some injuries take longer to recover from and some you can come back in a few workouts. The problem is, most lifter’s don’t realize that injuries are an accumulation of bad things happening for a long time.
What I’ve learned is that most injuries can be prevented. In my experience, injuries in the gym occur because:
– not enough warm-up
– bad movement patterns, performing the exercises with bad form
– too much of one type of training
– too much of the same exercises
– too much volume in each workout, each week, each month
– too little rest, i.e. overtraining
– not enough balance in the training, balance of movement patterns
Only recently have I began to understand the importance of a good warm-up and how it can prevent injuries. More importantly, by utilizing a good warmup you can prevent ever needing to face the sometimes daunting task of injury rehabilitation. I’m not just talking about crossing your arms in front of you and then benching, I’m talking about a real warm-up. A 10-15 pre-workout set of flowing movements; some loaded and some unloaded. This pre-workout routine sets the tone for the entire workout and charges the CNS. You can also use these same activation, mobility and dynamic exercises for an off-day recovery workout.
Also, there are limitations to current warm-up and mobility strategies. Most include movements that are spatially fixed and patterned. We must get outside of these rigid movements! Movements such as squat to stand, leg swings and tin soldiers lay the foundation for the warm-up, but they must be progressed. A warm-up that engages more joint angles and more fluid movements should be incorporated.
You create tension in the weightroom. This tension weakens the soft-tissues and muscle fibers and rebuilds them to a stronger state. The SAID Principle and The Principle of Progressive Overload is based upon the foundation of tension. The more tension equals the more adaptation. You are constantly striving to create more tension, more time under tension (TUT) or rapid tension in the shortest amount of time (RFD) to continue your adaptations. These adaptations can be good and bad.
Good adaptations include building muscle and strength (combination of increasing cross sectional area of the muscle fiber – sarcoplasmic hypertrophy AND an increasing the number of myosin/actin filaments (sarcomeres) inside the cell – myofibrillar hypertrophy ), improving neural efficiency, tendon / ligament density, greater work capacity, development of specific physiological qualities (dependent upon volume, load, speed, tempo, implement, application), and so on…
But these adaptations occur at a cost.
The bad adaptations include the consequences of the recovery from heavy and prolonged strength training. Tension is stored in these structures (soft tissue; muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia) in the form of shortening, adhesions, trigger points, inflammation and long term compensations accumulated over the course of a week, month, season or lifetime. These dysfunctions and inhibition of movement is increased dependent upon % of tension (vs. current capacity), restricted range of motion movements coupled with current mobility limitations and restorative practices (SMR, stretching, dynamic movements, dynamic mobility, sleep, good nutrition, contrast baths, etc.). If you follows these good practices then you may never have to experience injury rehabilitation.
By Smitty on June 8th, 2011
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