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Physical Training to Avoid Injuries

By: Dr. Austin Mennen

What is an injury?

When demands exceed your body's capacities. Think of a bank account and overdrafting that account, once here and there and you will come out OK, but make a habit of it and you’ll find yourself in trouble.

Optimal training is where the demands are equal to capacity, such that you are able to recover in a reasonable amount of time.


Starts with an assessment of capacity, ROM, Control, Strength

Program is then built to address and challenge these start points and build up both strong and weak points in order to create adaptation “gains”

Training must address recovery as well as rom and motor control in order to preserve the adaptations. If you increase strength and speed, but decrease ROM, did you really improve, or trade one thing for another? Did you broaden your base or narrow it?

Training should be broad spectrum to create an increase in general fitness and strength. This separates training from practice. In practice you define and hoan skills specific to sport. Confusing the two creates a narrow base of training, leading towards overuse injuries and an increase in spontaneous injuries due to the lack of general physical preparedness. Continuously training a football player like they are a football player will decrease their capacities because they will only be working on the sport specific movements, narrowing their groove. To simplify, if you only ever walk forward, and then abruptly you are forced to walk backwards, how are you going to respond? Too specific training will decrease tissue adaptations greatly. This is also seen with adolescents who “specialize” in a sport very young, say baseball or basketball where they play both a school season, a club season, and a summer season.

Some point in the training cycle of the athlete, or general population for that matter, there has to be a set time to broaden the base of general fitness. This should include low impact steady state cardio style exercise to be used both as a recovery tool but also to top off that energy system. As well as variations of the major exercises for the special strength developments.

The joints must be paid attention to as well. As earlier mentioned, if ROM is not maintained and ideally improved, is the strength and speed increase truly a positive? Joint control and range of motion must be continually improved and addressed. We as humans are continuously reaching a state of maladaptation due to technology and daily habits. This in and of itself is an injury risk that general training addresses. The goal of training must be to increase tissue capacity, leave skill and sport specific to the skill coaches by providing the best possible foundation for the field.

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