Friday, October 1, 2010

Prehab? How much is too much?

Injury prevention is a top priority in Sports Training at every level.  Dan Riley, a long-time NFL Strength Coach with the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans once said. "It's my job to protect the owner's investment, the players."

This brings us to the point of prehab or movement prep training. Yes, it prevents injuries, but the question of how much is too much?  Does that mean one, two or three exercises for each joint or specific movement pattern? The real question then is how much devotion within each workout do we place on prehab/movement prep training.

First, this should be determined prior to starting a workout program.  Your assessment of the athlete's coordination and mobility are vital in determining the training volume and intensity within each workout.  This is why preparing the athlete for movement is vital.  In sport each athlete needs to be available at any even time.  This mindset makes preparing to play important for the major joints, especially  the shoulders, hips and spine. 

The shoulders need to move in every plane and the spine particularly the thoracic spine controls multiple movements of the torso and rotational movements.  Then you add the hips to control lower body movement and rotation.  All sports have emphasis on one movement pattern or joint more than the other. Our job as Strength and Conditioning Coaches is to maximize each athlete's potential. 

Vern Gambetta was one of the first to write about movement prep in America though we know the Eastern Europeans did extensive movement drills in sport training.  It is important to develop a philosophy, and mold it to your athlete's needs.  Whatever we need to keep our training sessions within blocks of time.

Blocks of time allow a coach to stay on task and we continually want to challenge athlete's.  Competition within the workout can push an athlete to another level, and our goal is to have each athlete reach a higher level of achievement.

I stay within a 15-minute period max for all movement prep and prehab and these anything from individual hip abduction to incorporating dynamic flexibility movements as long as we keep these goals in mind.

1.   Incorporate movements within all three planes: transverse, sagital and frontal planes.
2.   Minimum of one movement for each major joint: spine, hips and shoulders.
3.   Emphasis the joint(s) trained the most for the particular session.

What does this mean.

Foam roller shoulder be a major component each training session. Then joint movement at the hip or shoulder in the form of circular motions. (Look for my next blob on clubbells) Then add an additional one or two exercises for the joint of emphasis. All in all an athlete should be able to complete 4-6 exercises of low resistance and joint movement within this 15-minute period.

That's all for now.  Let me know what you think.

Train hard,

Todd Baden, MS, C.S.C.S., USAW Senior Coach, USATF Level 1

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