TOP 7 tips for injury prevention
Tip #1 – Maintain Adequate Flexibility
This doesn’t mean that you have to be a certified studio yoga instructor; in fact too much stretching can reduce strength and power. But if you can spend a few months creating lasting gains in flexibility and joint mobility to reach what I refer to as an EIPT (Elastic Injury Prevention Threshold), you can enjoy a decreased likelihood of injuries caused by tight or immobile muscles and joints.
Tip #2 – Keep Muscle Balance In Check
Be sure to include lower intensity, light weight, isolation exercises (sometimes bodyweight only) for both contralateral and opposing muscle groups in order to prevent strength imbalances. A few examples could be trunk rotation on a physioball or single-leg raises, etc. Much like flexiblilty training, athletes can use the offseason to increase the volume of this this “prehab” exercise work.
Tip #3 – Lift Heavy
Perform resistance training with as heavy loads as possible – while still yet being able to continue strength gain adaptations. Good strength coaches can design a periodized program to incorporate this style of training at many various points in the year. It should be no surprise that a bigger, stronger body is more resilient to injuries caused by greater external forces on the field of play.
Tip #4 – Be Eccentric
Expert strength coaches realize the role of eccentric (muscle-lengthening) loading contractions in training and movement. It kills me to watch lifters perform an Olympic lift and then allow a weight to drop to the floor from a great height. Why not take the opportunity to set the core strongly in place under a load at the end of each rep while slowly return the bar to its starting place? I also emphasize eccentric movements in my agility drills – a method I call SIM (or strength in movement) training.
TOP 7 TIPS FOR PREVENTING ATHLETIC INJUry
By Chris Borgard
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Tip #5 – Cut the Tape
Taping and bracing around a joint can ultimately act as a crutch and leave muscles, tendons and ligaments weaker over time. After a short initial period of support, get away from taping and bracing as extra support and work on re-strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around a compromised joint. An athlete’s goal should never be simply to return to competition; but rather to stay out there performing to their very best physical potential.
Tip #6– Think Like A Gimp
Research the movements that most frequently cause acute or chronic injury (this is ultimately the responsibility of a trainer or coach). Be familiar with both contact and non-contact injury mechanisms, and then train the muscles in their role to stabilize or decelerate those body segments.
Tip #7 – Optimize Your Nutrition
Educate yourself on superfoods and other nutrient dense morsels that aid recovery and minimize production of stress hormones and free radicals. Also follow guidelines for hydration and re-hydration (including electrolyte content) to prevent muscle cramping or excess fatigue, both of which can lead to muscle strains. Timing of nutrients is just as important and quality and quantity; see Chris Borgard’s Practical Sports Nutrition Guide for more help!