How to Combat Common Injuries in Strength and Sport

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2021

Ever tweak (insert body part) and then miss your workouts for a few weeks? What if you had the right tools in your toolbox so that you didn't need any breaks in training, even when injured?

 

At a basic level, any time we get injured it means that the load we're asking of our bodies in the moment exceeds its capacity. For example, if you're doing a broad jump (jumping straight out across a flat surface) and tweak your knee, whatever force you were asking of your knee in that jump was beyond it's ability to absorb the force required. It takes some detective work to figure out if you knee needs more flexion, extension, internal or external rotation. The best way to approach this is to train the knee in all of it's end ranges, so that when you jump the next time it's at a sub-maximal effort and your knee is familiar with bearing this load.

 

Before we get too deep into this discussion, if you have a serious or chronic injury, definitely see a doctor. Our opinions do not replace the advice of a medical doctor. However, from our experience we've been able to combat small injuries or aches and pains in our own lives as well as our students with a few consistent habits.

 

#1 Do your CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) every morning! This may sound like a broken record, but it truly works wonders. CARs not only allows you to access the current range of motion in any given joint, but it also allows your brain to continue to write neural pathways to these areas. It's kind of like moving to a new town and driving to your new local grocery store. The first few times you may need to load up Google maps to get around. But the more you drive there, the less you need directions. Your brain adapts quickly, but it does take continual practice to keep it automatic. If I move my spine every single day then my brain gets really good at knowing how to move my spine. If I neglect my spine for a year then there's going to be a period of working the kinks out until I re-establish that brain-body connection.

 

Do Your CARs

 

#2 In the words of Perry Nickelston, where you think it is, it ain't! Just because your elbow is hurting, may not mean your elbow is the problem. Take a look at the surrounding joints and make sure they have adequate range of motion for your lifestyle. In this case, take a look at your shoulder and wrist. Can they both move in all the directions that shoulders and wrists are supposed to move? Getting exposure to moving all of your joints comes into play during our Kinstretch classes. Each class we focus on a few joints and base positions to help you learn more about your own body and it's needs. Check out a hip intensive full length class, here:

 

Full Length Kinstretch Hip Class

 

#3 Chronic pain. If you've been in pain for weeks or months, this is definitely more of a chronic pain situation. Tendonitis is an example of chronic pain that can be more long-lasting. Common areas would be the shoulders, elbow, wrists, knees, ankles or heels. Some folks have tendonitis and can still move relatively pain-free and operate in a functional manner. Others may have poor function and a lot of pain.

One approach to treating tendonitis that has shown positive outcomes is training eccentrics. Eccentric contractions occur when the muscle is lengthening under load. For example, lowering a pull-up as slowly as possible, lowering into a squat as controlled as possible, or standing on a slant board and elevating to the toes then lowering to the heels as slowly as you can. In each of these examples, you can completely remove the concentric part of the movement by using assistance and train the eccentric part only. Tendons take much longer than muscles or bones to adapt, so overcoming something like tendonitis takes daily attention for long periods of time! If you want to do some more in-depth reading, check out this book:

 

Overcoming Tendonitis

 

These three approaches can't be attacked in a random fashion. You need a plan that is specific to your needs and a coach to guide you through the process. Once you feel confident in the way to troubleshoot your own aches and pains, it can be very empowering! The next time it happens, you don't have to worry about being sidelined for weeks necessarily. Consistent practice with CARs and achieving adequate range of motion in all of your joints will help keep chronic pain at bay. 

 

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