Imagine what I would do if I did all that I could. - Sun Tzu
PREPARING THE BODY TO PERFORM
Whether it is running, playing football
or carrying the groceries in from the car, PreHab focuses on improving the body
mechanics that are essential for performance. The body is a large, interrelated
network of moveable parts and the actions (positive and negative) that take
place at each individual joint affect the movements of the body as a whole.
Therefore, if a training program focuses on improving an individual’s body
mechanics, the program also creates the opportunity for an improvement in
performance, as well as longevity, simply because the body is learning how to
move more efficiently.
in body mechanics create the opportunity
for improvements in performance.
Also, human movement is
also innately task oriented, meaning that the body creates movements based on
the intention of accomplishing a specific goals or objectives. For example,
when walking across a room, there is little focus placed on ‘how’ to walk
across the room, but rather on ‘where’ to walk. Unfortunately, this task
orientation of movement allows the body to create new strategies in ‘how’ to
move in order to compensate for any weakness and imbalance in the body
mechanics. For example, walking across the room with a weak Achilles, will lead
to limping as a strategy of compensation. These dysfunctions in movement will
eventually limit a person’s potential to perform unless they are addressed in
of compensation that exist in human movement
limit one’s ability to move
The goal of PreHab is to develop
efficiency in the body mechanics in order to create the functional movements
that are essential to performance. PreHab is
designed to be a segment in the training program, not a substitution. Peak
performance will still require skill development and conditioning at the
appropriate intensity range. So, runners still need to condition for specific
distances and athletes still need to practice their sports.
Assess Body Mechanics and Movement Patterns
Single-Leg Squat Test
Sit on a
bench that matches the height of the knee and lift one foot off the ground.
Hold the arms parallel to the ground at shoulder-width and lengthen the spine.
onto one leg while maintaining balance. Make sure that the standing knee tracks
over the foot by keeping the kneecap within the width of the standing foot. See
Use a mirror or have
a partner watch the knee track over the
HIPS AT KNEE HEIGHT
ONTO ONE LEG
KNEECAP OVER THE FOOT
requirements are met then the Single Leg Squat Test is PASSED.
This Evaluation Exercise will assess the amount of support that the hip and ankle provide in stabilizing and aligning the functional movement pattern of the knee while running. If it is difficult to maintain the kneecap within the width of the toes, then add more exercises into your PreHab Circuits to develop more stability in the ankle and hip.
Hip Hinge Test
feet together and grasp the pole behind the back with two hands. One hand is
placed at the small of the back with the palm facing out while the other hand
is placed directly behind the neck with palm facing the body. Next, align the
body against the pole so that the head, the spine (just between the shoulder
blades) and the hips are all in contact with the pole.
the hips directly backwards while bending at the knees and keeping the hips,
spine and head in contact with the pole. Keep the shins vertical to the floor.
The primarily movement in this exercise is the flexion in the hip socket, not a
flexion or bending of the spine. Attempt to align the thighs and torso into a
ninety-degree angle or smaller while maintaining the head, spine and hips in
complete contact with the pole.
UPPER BACK AND HIPS AGAINST POLE
POINTS OF CONTACT WITH POLE
DEGREE ANGLE WITH TORSO AND THIGHS
requirements are met, then HipHinge Test is PASSED.
This Evaluation Exercise will assess the learned mobility of the hips and the stability of the spine. If the Pole detaches from the three points on the torso, it represents a learned pattern of compensation wherein the spine adjusts for the lack of mobility in the hips. Consequentially, the spine loses stability and also disrupts the kinetic flow of energy through the body. This a great assessment to use before performing power lifts.
The Wall Squat Test
the feet just outside shoulder-width or slightly wider and place the hands on
the wall with both of the thumb tips touching one another.
and hold hips at the same height as the knee. Keep the feet (including the
heels) flat on the floor and touch the wall with the kneecaps. Extend the arms straight
up and place the palms on the wall with the thumbs touching the and elbows
fully extended. Hold for at least one-second.
TOUCHING THE WALL
ON THE WALL
If all the
requirements are met, then the Wall Squat Test is PASSED.
This Evaluation Exercise will asses the mobility and alignment in a very board range, extending from the ankles to the hands. Failure to successful complete this movement is an indicator of a lack of mobility with proper alignment and a corrective action to take would be to include more mobility exercises to restore range of motion throughout the body before conducting any loaded trainer or participating in competition.
Myofascial Release Techniques
Address the Soft Tissue Before and After Training
Performance depends on both
form and substance. Movement and body alignment is the form while the body’s
soft tissue is the substance. Soft tissue refers to the muscles, tendons and
fascia in the body that are responsible for producing and coordinating the
forces that create movement. However,
there is a cost on the body to produce the movements that are involved with
running. The body is literally torn apart and continuously broken down on a
cellular level when because of the high intensity and velocity of the
movements. Micro-tears will form in the soft tissue due to the stress and
impact. The body, however, has a naturally way to repair and protect itself
that includes developing adhesions, scar tissue and knots around these
micro-tears to limit further damage. Unfortunately, the culmination of any
adhesions, scar tissue and knots will also limit how the body can move and
eventually create strategies of compensation in movement if they are not
techniques, such as foam rolling and massage, restore the proper mobility of
the body by increasing the range of motion at the joints and helping the
muscles to fully lengthen by breaking up the adhesions, scar tissue or knots
that limit movement. The build up of adhesions, scar tissue and knots in the
soft tissue will also slow down the rate at which the body can produce force or
react, resulting in a loss of speed, balance or coordination. Conversely, using
myofascial release techniques will improve the responsiveness of the soft
tissue as well as assist with recovery on a cellular level as these techniques
will help the blood circulation to carry nutrients deeper into the soft tissue
that will aid the repair of any micro-tears.
Reserving time at the
beginning of training for myofascial release techniques will certainly have an
impact on developing one’s running technique. The responsiveness of the soft
tissue will lead to higher accuracy in coordination and more speed production
capability. Additionally, eliminating adhesions,
scar tissue and knots before training, will limit opportunities for the body to
create strategies of compensation when running.
Myofascial Release Techniques, i.e. foam rolling or
before training or running.
Myofascial Release can be
performed in many ways depending on one’s resources. It can be self-performed
with a foam roller, lacrosse ball or even with one’s own hands using massage
techniques. Myofascial release can also be performed with a professional, i.e.
massage therapist, athletic trainer, or personal trainer. Regardless of one’s
personal preference and available resources, any myofascial release technique
is appropriate as long as the adhesions, scar tissue and knots in the soft
tissue are adequately addressed before training.
Types of PreHab Programs
Choosing an Approach that Works
programs analyze how a person moves with specific evaluations and tests that
will identify all of the weaknesses or imbalances in the body mechanics before
constructing the details of a training program. These PreHab programs are very
effective because once how an individual moves has been assess, the process of
correcting the body mechanics and eliminating dysfunction in movement is direct
and starts immediately.
Individual-based programs evaluates how a person moves in order
to eliminate dysfunctions and correct body mechanics.
These programs analyze a
sport or activity, such as running, to assess the body mechanics that are
essential for performance while also evaluating the risks of injury or
compensation due to the stress of repetitive movements. For example, running
uses specific movements repeatedly that create muscular imbalances around
individual joints over time as the lesser used muscles become much more weaker
than the frequently used muscles. The discrepancy of strength between muscles
around the joints will eventually distort the body mechanics and undermine the
integrity of a person’s movement patterns resulting in different strategies of
compensation that will erode performance, unless specific ‘corrective
exercises’ are put into the training program to counter balance these
repetitive movements. These corrective exercises create a synergy of forces on
each joint by bringing balance the cumulative movement patterns and will
strengthen the joints in all directions while exposing any weaknesses or
imbalances in the body mechanics to ‘corrective forces’.
Activity-based programs use specific exercises to
counter stress of the repetitive movements.
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