One major way to prevent sports injuries is to prepare your body for training. Or, don't just jump into training "out of shape."
"Training to train" or preconditioning will prevent or minimize sports injuries. Muscle areas such as the hamstrings need preconditioning because the hamstrings are prone to injury. Preconditioning can be done all year to supplement your main training program.
Here are 3 key ways to prevent sports injuries:
1. Eccentric contraction training (force reduction) of your muscles can significantly reduce your injury risks.
These exercises help build eccentric contraction strength:
--Depth jumps (emphasize the landing and hold only).
--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.
Injury risks like torn anterior cruciate knee ligaments, achilles tendon strains/tears and hamstring pulls can be lessened with proper training.
2. Improve 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.
When you are strength training, keep this important principle in mind. Get your muscles balanced early in the training progressions. One-legged and one-armed exercises help you to achieve and maintain muscular balance.
3. Improve your flexibility and range of motion. Do strength exercises (including core) with a full range of motion unless you are in rehabilitation. Rehab exercises are done to restore your full range of motion.
It is a misconception that strength training makes your body's muscles "tight and inflexible." This won't happen if you consistently improve your joints' range of motion (dynamic flexibility) and perform exercises with full range of motion. You CAN be strong and flexible!
Work hard and expect success!
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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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