Strength & Conditioning and Sports Injuries
24 March 2020
Its spring time and the weather is nice, which for a lot of us would normally mean we are training hard for something ahead or just out enjoying our chosen sport or activity. Unfortunately right now no matter how nice the weather is or how much we would like to our options for exercise and training are limited, but maybe this is an opportunity. An opportunity we can take advantage of to level the playing field and improve our performance with 30 days of Strength & Conditioning, so when we are free again we can enjoy it even more.
We all have insufficiencies of movement that we know could develop into injuries or which prevent us from moving as well as we would like. We might not be aware of these limitations day to day as when we move normally we aren’t really challenging our strength or mobility, we are moving in familiar comfortable mid-range patterns. We are only made aware of them when we begin to move out of this comfort zone, to move with or against greater loads, to stabilise for longer or prolonged periods of time and/or repetition, typically this is when we are beginning a new unfamiliar activity or trying to improve athletic performance.
These limitations or insufficiencies generally fall into two categories, Stability and Mobility; either our movement is restricted and/or we can’t control the movement. In movement there are two key structures that regulate the application of force and load through our limbs, the Pelvic girdle and the shoulder complex.
We probably all know about posture and core strength, whether we know what good posture looks like or how to engage our core is a different story. The core stabilises our back and its only with good posture that we can engage the core effectively and load the spine correctly. Our back is the foundation of all movement, good movement begins here, but it doesn’t end here. Movement is then distributed through the next links in the chain, either up into the arm and hand via the shoulder complex or down to the leg and the foot through the pelvic girdle.
Mobility and stability of the Pelvic girdle or shoulder complex is an important factor in all functional movements. Without the correct range of movement or necessary control at this level we will incorrectly load joints, over recruit muscles or stress connective tissue, which will affect how we move and predispose us to injury.
For example you might notice limitations of your pelvic control when you are performing an unfamiliar movement like a bodyweight squat, or notice restrictions of shoulder mobility if you are beginning a new sport like swimming. We could also notice imbalances through sensation, like discomfort in the knee when we are increasing training load to progress distance in running or Playing a racquet sport at a higher level, or maybe a tight uncomfortable hip when we are trying to improve cadence in cycling, Or Pilates, we better mention Pilates.. we all know we have some limitations and discomfort there!..
When you have a sporting interest free time is limited and the activity itself takes priority, and if we are forced to think about these limitations, improving them seems like a bit of effort. So we default to the mentality of more is better, we’ll just spend more time on the bike, put more miles on our feet or spend more time in the pool, but this attitude is flawed and will ultimately only lead to injury or limited performance. The right way to correct these limitations is through Strength and Conditioning, focusing on identifying the cause and correcting it. Whether your goal is to move better or perform better Strength & Conditioning can have a significant impact on improving performance and when was there ever a better time to focus on this than now! So when you are free to get back out on the bike or court, hit the trail, jump on the reformer or back in the pool you no longer have that niggle, your efficiency is improved and you perform better than you did before.
With this in mind we have devised two simple, effective and FREE screening tools by which you can measure the mobility and control of your own Hip or Shoulder. You can use this screening as an assessment tool to identify any insufficiencies. Once you have completed the assessment, download our 30 day general conditioning plan for these structures. At the end of the 30 days you can revisit the assessment tool and compare how your mobility and stability has improved, but this should be evident in your movement and performance.
If you are already aware of an existing limitation of mobility or control and you want to address this with a physiotherapy consultation and tailored Strength and Conditioning plan then please contact us also.