Aug10Stay Supple: Injury Prevention and Mobility Tips

“Everyone wants a fast car, but no one wants to grab a wrench to work on it when it breaks.”

Like that quote? I think that’s an original. Maybe. Anyway, how does that relate to health & fitness?

There are many people who are gun-ho about training hard and being a “workout fiend”, yet they lack that same energy when it comes to the not-so sexy stuff. There have been a million-and-1 different articles and videos about recovery, mobility, and injury prevention, and for good reason. We asked one of our coaches at H4, Tom Horvath, about some of his favorite quick tips on mobility and injury prevention.

 

Injury Prevention

1. Re-train proper diaphragmatic breathing.

Most people don’t breath properly. Re-train proper diaphragmatic breathing using “Crocodile Breathing” drill. Until this is automatic, focus on inhaling through the nose, and exhaling through the mouth. The reason why it helps is because it increases core stability when used properly, and can help lower blood pressure since we are taking deep breaths instead of shallow ones. Use link below for demo.

https://www.functionalmovement.com/exercises/823/crocodile_breathing_with_ankle_weights
*ankle weights are not necessary

2. Do not begin strength training without warm-up/ movement prep.

What does your warm-up look like? A few arm circles, a couple of squats, and BOOM – you’re ready to go. At least, you’re ready to injury yourself, if that’s your goal. Before a strength training session (or any type of workout really) you need to do some type of warm-up/movement prep. It doesn’t have to take long, but 5-10 dedicated minutes of dynamic mobility exercises goes a long way. For a quick primer, check out one of our warm-up videos below.

3. Avoid fatigue.

We all like to push ourselves and get tired and sweaty, but pushing too hard can have it’s drawbacks. With fatigue comes compensation, and with compensation comes injury. Pavel Tsatsouline, a world-renowned coach, cautions that “quantity should not come at the expense of quality.” For a simple and effective reference, Pavel suggests the “Talk Test“: when you can speak a full sentence, you are ready for the next set. The point is to avoid fatigue overload, as we tend to get sloppy with our movements, which is when injuries can happen.

Mobility

1.   Build from the ground up.

When we say this, we mean it literally.  Mobility should be gained on the floor before moving to drills in kneeling or standing positions. Actually, one of the best drills to start with is diaphragmatic breathing! After you master that, check out the tips below.

2.  Foam rolling.

If the foam roll or muscle stick “lights up” a certain area, scan the same area on the other side of the body for a similar response, as it could be an certain area that is just naturally more sensitive. However, if the sides do not match, spend some time rolling the potential problem area.  KEEP BREATHING and gradually increase pressure as you go. If no change is felt after two minutes, either the technique is incorrect, inappropriate, or unnecessary.  Move on for now.

3. Don’t stretch “tight” muscles.

This tightness is not the problem, but rather the result of a problem somewhere else. Stretching it could also exacerbate the problem area. Instead, follow tip #2. When in doubt, check the other side of the body. Our goal is symmetry.

“If you are limited on both sides, you’re slow.  If you are limited on one side, you’re injured.” – Gray Cook

Hopefully these quick tips on injury prevention and mobility help you on your daily routines. We all lead busy lives, and while it may be hard working these recovery practices in them, we owe it to our bodies!