MICHAEL ROSENGART - Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
PreHab
MOVE WELL.
PERFORM BETTER

Whether it is running, playing football or carrying the groceries in from the car, PreHab focuses on improving your body mechanics 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  your body as a whole. Therefore, if a training program focuses on improving your body mechanics, the program also creates the opportunity for an improvement in performance. And the benefits don't stop there. PreHab training can also improve longevity and quality of life, simply because your body is learning how to move more efficiently.

Improvements in body mechanics create the opportunity for improvements in performance.

Human movement is also innately task oriented, meaning your body creates movements based on the intention of accomplishing 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 your body to create new strategies in “how” to move in order to compensate for any weakness and imbalance in  your body mechanics. For example, walking across the room with a weak Achilles tendon 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 by a training program.
Strategies of compensation that exist in human movement limit one’s ability to move and perform.

The goal of PreHab is to develop efficiency in your body mechanics in order to create  functional movements tessential to performance. PreHab is designed to be a segment in your 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.






Myofascial Release
Importance of Soft Tissue Therapy while Training
Performance depends on both form and substance. Movement and body alignment is the form, while your body’s soft tissue is the substance. Soft tissue refers to the muscles, tendons and fascia in your body that are responsible for producing and coordinating the forces that create movement.  However, there is a cost on your body to produce the movements that are involved with running. The body is literally torn apart and continuously broken down on a cellular level because of the high intensity and velocity of the movements involved in running. Micro-tears will form in the soft tissue due to the stress and impact. The body, however, has a natural 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. Eventually, these adhesions create strategies of compensation in movement, if they are not addressed.

Myofascial release techniques, such as foam rolling and massage, restore the proper mobility of the body. These techniques increase range of motion at the joints and help your 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 your 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. 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 your 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.

Use Myofascial Release Techniques, i.e. foam rolling or massage, before training or running.

Myofascial Release can be performed in many ways depending on your resources. It can be self-performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball or even with your 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 your 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.

Foam Rolling is an easy and effective way to help prep the soft tissue to train.
Evaluation Exercises
Assessing Body Mechanics and Movement Patterns

The Single-Leg Squat Test
Single-Leg Squat Test
POSITION: Sit on a bench that matches the height of your knee, and lift one foot off the ground. Hold your arms parallel to the ground at shoulder-width, and lengthen the spine.

ACTION: Stand up onto one leg while maintaining balance. Make sure that your standing knee tracks over your foot by keeping the kneecap within the width of the standing foot. See diagram’s insert.
Use a mirror or have a partner watch the knee track over the foot.

SIT WITH HIPS AT KNEE HEIGHT
STAND UP ONTO ONE LEG
TRACK THE KNEECAP OVER THE FOOT
MAINTAIN BALANCE

If all 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.




The Hip Hinge Test
Hip Hinge Test
POSITION: Stand with your feet together, and grasp a pole behind your back with two hands. One hand is placed at the small of your back with the palm facing out, while the other hand is placed directly behind your neck with your palm facing the body. Next, align your body against the pole so that your head, spine (just between the shoulder blades), and hips are all in contact with the pole.

ACTION: Now, slide your hips directly backwards while bending at the knees and keeping your hips, spine and head in contact with the pole. Keep your shins vertical to the floor. The primary movement in this exercise is the flexion in the hip socket, not a flexion or bending of the spine. Attempt to align your thighs and torso into a 90-degree angle or smaller, while maintaining the head, spine and hips in complete contact with the pole.

ALIGN HEAD, UPPER BACK AND HIPS AGAINST POLE
KEEP SHINS VERTICAL
PRESS HIPS BACK
LOWER TORSO FORWARD
MAINTAIN 3 POINTS OF CONTACT WITH POLE
MAKE 90 DEGREE ANGLE WITH TORSO AND THIGHS

If all requirements are met, then Hip-Hinge 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 is a great assessment to use before performing power lifts.




The Wall Squat Test

The Wall Squat Test
POSITION: Stand with your feet just outside shoulder-width or slightly wider, and place your hands on the wall with both of your thumb tips touching one another.

ACTION: Squat down and hold your hips at the same height as your knees. Keep your feet (including your heels) flat on the floor, and touch the wall with your kneecaps. Extend your arms straight up, and place your palms on the wall with the thumbs touching the and elbows fully extended. Hold for at least one-second.

HIPS AT KNEE HEIGHT
FEET FLAT ON FLOOR
KNEECAPS TOUCHING THE WALL
PALMS FLAT ON THE WALL
THUMB TOUCHING THUMB
ELBOWS FULLY EXTENDED
HOLD POSITION

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 your ankles to your hands. Failure to successfully complete this movement is an indicator of a lack of mobility with proper alignment. A corrective action to take would be to include more mobility exercises to restore range of motion throughout your body before conducting any loaded training or participating in competition.

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