Do you consider yourself a competitive athlete or weekend warrior? Is a fitness a true passion of yours? Do you only work your nine-to-five job to earn the money to support your favorite activity? Do you rigorously train to be in shape for your favorite activity? From running races to triathlons to mountain biking to snowboarding to obstacle course races to tennis ladders to basketball leagues, there are thousands of ways to stay competitive well into adulthood.
One component of training and working out to stay fit for your favorite sport or activity should be “Pre-habilitation” or, simply, “pre-hab,” a term commonly used to describe exercises that can increase your balance, improve your flexibility, and allow your tissues to adapt to the training stimulus from your workouts, all of which can you prepare for your favorite activities. The purpose of pre-hab is to strengthen the connective tissues and joints as well as improve your balance, all of which can help you to stay injury free. Here are 5 things you should know about how pre-hab can help you get the greatest enjoyment from your favorite activities along with a recommended workout that can help you maintain the fitness for your favorite form of competition:
1. While high intensity exercise can help boost your aerobic capacity and running speed, the danger is that if you try to exercise at a high intensity everyday you run the risk of overtraining which could lead to short-term fatigue or a chronic injury; both of which can severely limit your ability to compete. Overtraining can turn minor injuries like rolling an ankle or straining a muscle into serious issues that keep us sidelined for an entire year. One of the most important outcomes of a proper strength training program is that it can help you avoid the risk of overtraining and remain injury-free so you can enjoy your favorite activity longer, making pre-hab exercises an important component of any strength training program.
2. Pre-hab exercises are perfect for lower intensity days when you’re recovering from a long run or high intensity workout and want to stay active in a way that will provide some challenge but not lead to overtraining. The goal of pre-hab exercises are to help numerous muscles work together to create stability or enhance range-of-motion at a particular joint or body segment. By design these exercises should not be too difficult, which can help you feel charged up and refreshed after a workout instead of fatigued and wiped out.
3. When strength training we often have a bad habit to focus on what we’re good at and avoid the exercises which might make us feel weak or unstable. Balance is an excellent example; we could all benefit from improved balance, but it can be tough to fit in a program because it can make us feel unstable or we perceive that it isn’t hard enough (meaning it won’t have a long-term training effect). Nothing could be further from the truth. Effective balance exercises require moving your center of gravity over a changing base of support can help improve the connection between your feet, knees, hips and core; the result is you can improve your coordination which can boost confidence levels.
4. Pre-hab exercises are the perfect opportunity to add a variety of movement patterns and exercises using different planes of motion to your training program. Doing the same exercises over and over repeatedly can increase the risk of an overuse injury on the involved muscles; exercises that have some variability (COUGH COUGH – ActivMotion Bar) increase the strength of involved muscles and improve resiliency against many common injuries since variable force vectors are always acting on the body at different angles, challenging the body differently every time.
5. The ActivMotion Bar is a perfect tool for pre-hab. The dynamic, shifting mass of the bars are great for challenging stability and creating variability in a way that develops strength without over-working the involved muscles. The shifting mass is the perfect stimulus for the dynamic balance and core exercises and can help you improve your functional strength while reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
Here are a few ActivMotion Bar (AMB) pre-hab exercises to focus on your hip stability, core strength and balance. Remember – the shifting mass inside the AMB brings a tremendous increase in core muscle activation and mind/muscle awareness to every exercise. Hips that are balanced and strong can support multi-planar movements can help you stay injury-free during activities that require a lot of running and rapid changes of directions.
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