Injuries are part and parcel of any athlete’s life. Very few athlete’s get by a career without a major injury at some point. Gyms too are witness to a number of injuries on a regular basis; and to some extent it is difficult to completely negate it. Injuries can happen in spite of the best training practices and we cannot completely eliminate them. However, a few steps if taken may minimize chances of injuries to a great extent. An ideal training pattern would have the following steps-
1. Foam Rolling- Foam rolling for the uninitiated in self myofascial release or simply self massage. It will helps release muscular tension and “muscle knots”. Its an easy, inexpensive way to get your body ready for the training to follow.
2. Joint Mobilization- The human body is made up of different types of joints, with their own unique properties. Some offer a great deal of movement in multiple planes of motion while others are limited. Whatever the joint type, mobilization of them prior to training is always a prudent move.
3. Warm Up- When we talk about warm up it generally connotes getting the cardiovascular system ready for the training to follow. Intense training demands additional oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and the process is smoother with proper warm up. I have seen international athletes work up a good sweat during the warm up ensuring that the body is totally ready for training. While warming up it is essential to warm up smaller muscles and stabilizer muscles too. For example, one of the most common injuries that athletes suffer from are rotator cuff injuries. Once you incur it, it lingers on forever. So, taking the time out to warm these up thoroughly before training is key to improving your longevity as an athlete.
4. Training- This is the main part of the workout where you train according to your program. Utmost care should be taken to ensure proper posture, form and technique in the lifts or drills. Very often athletes compromise on form and technique to achieve higher PR’s and end up causing serious injuries. The layman on social media may gasp at the amount of weight you are pulling or pushing; but most coaches including yours truly cringe on seeing the appalling form on display! I also see athlete’s pushing through pain- don’t! Pain and soreness are two different things altogether. Athlete’s have a higher threshold of pain tolerance than regular people and we often tend to train through the pain- it seems the brave thing to do; but trust me- it can be counterproductive in the long run. Pain may be the sign of some injury which needs recuperation. Be smart- rest and allow the injuries to heal. I know how hard it is for athletes to miss out on training; but if you are smart you can still continue some form of training to ensure that all your gains are not lost.
5. Cool Down- Once the main training is over, it is time to get your vital parameters, like blood flow and pulse rate, back to normal. During training most of blood is diverted to the training areas, leaving less blood in the brain and other areas. So once the training is done reset and
allow the body to get back to its pre training zone. At this juncture brisk walking, jogging etc. can help- it has another vital role. It will flush out the lactic acid and other waste products from the muscles, formed during training, enabling faster recovery.
6. Stretching/Foam Rolling- Muscles are elastic in nature and they contract and expand. Post training, they need to get back to their original state. Stretching all the muscles one by one and deep breathing exercise are important. Foam rolling should again be employed to remove the tightness and get rid of the knots in the muscles. This will kick start your recovery process and prime your body for the next session. This part of training is often ignored- but do it at your own peril.
Once you take care to structure your training with proper planning, injuries can be greatly minimized. Of course, in spite of our best efforts sometimes injuries do happen and they need to be properly managed by your trainer or therapist. If you want to prolong your career, your best bet is to follow these steps to the T.
#sportsinjuries #stretching #recovery #muscles
The writer Angshuman Dutta is the founder of Transformers Fitness Academy. You can follow him on http://www.instagram.com/angshuman.fitness
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