Returning to Post Iso Sport?
Who knew we’d all be this excited to return to the gym, sports training and exercise?
Whilst I am as ready as the next person, I’m also very conscious of the collective inactivity occurring during these few months of lockdown. Now I am not negating the home workouts or occasional park runs, in fact well done for retaining your motivation and will to move! Having said that I think we can all agree that our intensity has dropped somewhat, our workouts have become less consistent, we are all suffering from a lack of drive – and understandably so! With this in mind, let’s not kid ourselves by thinking we are able to pick up exactly where we left off, or worse, go hell for leather and suffer the consequences.
How would you feel if I told you that we have seen a 300% increase in injuries amongst AFL players since their return, going from approximately 0.27 injuries per game, to 0.88 post-COVID. What about if I told you that back in 2011 when the NFL had a similar 4 month lock down, upon their return they saw 10 reported Achilles Tendon ruptures in the first 12 days of training.
Or that in the EPL, some of the major teams have reported season-ending injuries in just 2 matches.
Let’s just all take a collective deep breath for a second. What’s worse? 4 months of inactivity due to lockdown, or an extra 2-4 months of inactivity due to injury?
How do you avoid injury?
Enough of the scare tactics, what can we do? Firstly, patience is key! Give yourself this first month to work back up to where you were before. As an example, for this first week I want you to reduce your intensity/ load by 60% (compared to what you were doing before). Get a couple of workouts under your belt, then by next week I want you to increase that to 70%. Keep going in this manner, and after 4 weeks you’re back up at 100%. Not only is this a simple and easy way to progressively overload your muscles and tissues so they grow and develop in a healthy and sustainable way, but the little wins you will achieve from smashing those reduced workouts will only spur you on to want to reach that 100%, and then some more beyond this.
Prevention is the key
Second thing we’re going to consider is preventative exercises. As a physio, a huge part of my practice is injury prevention – helping you to avoid getting injured. And there is no better time to start. Let’s say your kids are returning to footy, lacrosse, soccer training. These sports have a heavy bias towards lower limb strength, and particularly the ability to rotate and change direction at speed. Seeing as we’ve had a few months break from these specific skills, why not consider strengthening our hips, glutes, adductors to tolerate this load. You’ll find a couple of really easy examples of this on our social media.
A good warm up is circuital
Are you a coach and you need something a little more detailed to protect and prepare your team? There are many injury prevention protocols available, but an easy one to implement during your warm ups is FIFA 11+. Not only has including this type of protocol shown to prevent injuries occurring, but it’s also shown to reduce the severity of the injury if it does happen. It includes simple strength movements, contact preparation and specific movement patterns to prepare the body for the sport. Take a look; https://www.fifamedicalnetwork.com/lessons/prevention-fifa-11/
Need more help?
Finally, if you’re still unsure, come in and get properly assessed. At Williamstown Health + Lifestyle we can use handheld dynamometry to provide us with an accurate and reproducible measurement of your strength. This can be localised to particular muscle groups or certain movements. It’s used primarily to highlight any asymmetries but also discovers hidden weaknesses that your body may be compensating for. A good level of strength is the base to any sport or exercise requiring you to move your body at high speeds, or in loaded positions, or in a powerful way. Ensure your body is capable of what you want to do and test it out. Book an online or over the phone and ask for ‘muscle strength testing’ in your physiotherapy appointment.
As always we at Williamstown Health + Lifestyle are more than happy to help with any questions or concerns. We want to keep you strong and injury-free so you can play the sports and exercise in a way that you love.