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Injury - Top tips to avoid them!

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What happens if you push too hard going for that deadlift PB and the injury sniper gets you? Injury plays a major part of everybody’s training life, so we are going to look at how best to avoid injury, and what to do if you do get injured.
So firstly nobody wants to get injured, especially if your livelihood depends on it, now we are not just talking about professional sports people, but also the desk jockeys out there who couldn't make it into work because they wrecked their lower back.

So don't get injured...simples.

Or is it? Is it a case of just taking it easy on each and every workout to avoid injury? Train hard, but train smart.
You'll see many people walking into the gym, determined to make the most of the bi-weekly workout, load up the bar, grip it....and rip it with the sort of form you might see in an old peoples home...Injury will come readily to these sorts, don't be one of them and set aside some quality time with your body!
What exercises should you be doing to avoid injury? We asked that exact question to today's expert, and got swiftly told off for asking a stupid question, far too general, not specific enough to the individual, no quick fix...damn, there goes the article, or has it given us a renewed insight into the intricacies of injury avoidance?

I believe it has...

Rugby players get injured a lot, especially the pro's, it's part and parcel of the job, if you went for an interview and you looked at the job description, injury avoidance and rehab would be well up there.

Now that the players are getting big, fast, strong, more aggressive etc these injuries are only going to increase.

So our expert is Bob Stewart. Heard of him? Probably not, unless you were playing for Glasgow Warriors, Worcester Warriors, Gloucester Rugby, Scotland or the British Lions at some point.
Bob is the man behind the scenes helping to cart off the best rugby players in the Northern Hemisphere from the pitch and getting the gladiators of the modern era ready for the next battle.


These tips and advice will not just apply to the cream of the crop though, all you MMA guys, weight training freaks, crossfit nutters and everyone else in between all need to take heed, this man knows his stuff!

Injury Prevention or Performance Enhancement?

Bob Stewart - Head Of Medical Services at Gloucester Rugby, Scotland & British Lion in 2005, 2009 & 2013

"Aspects of injury prevention are now being integrated into most facets of all training programmes in professional sport whether it’s being driven by coaches, strength and conditioners or medical personnel. All coaches want their athletes to be fit all of the time, all athletes want to be fit all of the time and most medical staff know they are doing their jobs if the treatment room is empty or free from recurrent injury!

Many athletes see injury prevention or “prehabilitation” as a negative process. The initial athletic screening picks up faults and a programme is put in place to stop these faults from causing injury or more worryingly, recurrent injury. The screening should be an individualised process that primarily assesses an athlete’s functional movement patterns. Other orthopaedic based tests can then be performed but selection of these tests should be driven by the results of the functional testing. The programme should then be sold as being performance enhancing – making you more efficient will make you stronger, faster, fitter. What athlete or coach would say no to that?

So whether you’re an elite or recreational athlete, if you take your sport seriously and are looking for that extra 5-10% or you have suffered from recurrent injury that limits your ability to perform, it’s worth having a qualified health professional assess your functional ability and help you achieve your goals through this process. It may be what you have been missing.

"Almost all of our programmes revolve around the ability to control your spinal posture or “neutral spine” as it is frequently termed. This also includes your head and pelvic position which are obviously the two structures which sit at either end of the spinal column. The ability to control your spinal alignment both statically, but more importantly, in a dynamic setting, is key if you are to transfer this new found efficiency into measurable performance gains. It provides the athlete with a stable platform to connect and harness the strength and power provided by the upper and lower limbs and is therefore eminently transferrable into most athletic activity – the ability to recreate efficient movement patterns time and time again aims to reduce the effects of fatigue and the likelihood of injury. It also allows your muscles to perform the tasks that they have been designed for and your joints to use the full range of movement that they should have available to them.

Poor postural alignment, for instance, can lead to alterations in how you breathe as your diaphragm becomes compromised – through fascial connections this causes inhibition / tension in your hip flexors ( psoas ), then you get reciprocal inhibition of your hip extensors ( glutes )which in turn overloads your hamstrings as they now have to help your glutes extend your hips! Your quads then work harder as they have to help your psoas flex your hip! Your calves have to help your hamstrings flex your knee and then the muscles at the front of your shin are working like mad against a tight calf!! If you add in the tension we tend to get through our head and neck positioning when we are under fatigue then it’s no wonder that we encounter injury potentially at every turn!"

"As you can probably gather from what I have just written, this entire process has to be individualised as no two of us are the same – we all have different postural anomalies, different muscle and fascial tone, different daily loading demands on our bodies. It is virtually impossible to put together a generic programme that will suit everyone! It is also worth taking into consideration what soft tissue or massage work you have done routinely as if this is also targeted in a specific individualised way it links in very nicely with your performance enhancing programme – soft tissue work should not just be used as a recovery tool!

It is essential that once your programme is in place that you stick to it – you essentially need to train your brain and not your muscles. Exercises must be used almost on a daily basis as repetition is the key to changing movement patterns and efficiency – the recruitment needs to become automatic so that it carries over directly into your chosen sport or activity. Whilst it can be frustrating at times if you can’t quite get things right it is worth persevering with as ultimately we all want to spend more time being the best we can be."
Bob Stewart.
Head Of Medical Services at Gloucester Rugby, Scotland & British Lion in 2005, 2009 & 2013

So there you have it, the part that rings bells in my ears is the exercises need to be done on a daily basis, maybe more to make it a brain training exercise than your muscles, to make it automatic, and believe me when you have had Bob cracking the whip, making you repeat exercises twice daily for 6 certainly becomes automatic. Again I will reiterate the point of finding a good professional to assess you.



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