Monday, March 1, 2010

Prehabilitate Your Muscles All Year

You should prehabilitate (prehab) your muscles all year to prevent injuries.

Prehabilitation is "training to train" in order to prevent or minimize injuries. Muscle areas such as the hamstrings need prehab because the hamstrings are prone to injury.

Prehabilitation can be done all year to supplement your main training program.

Injury risks like torn anterior cruciate knee ligaments, achilles tendon strains/tears and hamstring pulls can be lessened with proper training.

Eccentric contraction training (force reduction) of muscles can significantly reduce your injury risks.

These exercises help build eccentric contraction strength:

1. Running downhill.

2. Depth jumps (emphasize the landing and hold only).

3. Eccentric muscle contraction weight training (i.e., the lowering phase of a lift). For example, you would lift the weight on a hamstring curl for one count and lower the weight for 3-4 counts.

4. Improving your muscular balance. For example, your quadricep muscles should not be significantly stronger than your hamstring muscles. Your frontside should not be significantly stronger than your backside. And, your left side should not be significantly stronger than your right side.

One-legged and one-armed exercises help you to maintain muscular balance.

5. Range of motion should not be restricted. Do exercises with a full range of motion unless you are in rehabilitation. Rehab exercises are done to restore your full range of motion.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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