5 exercises to help athletes (possibly) prevent injuries


As strength coaches, the health of athletes should be a top priority. The role of a strength coach is to prepare athletes to engage in their sport and compete strength and fitness programs which were developed for raise athleticism.

More importantly, the job of a coach is to help reduce injuries both on and off the field. Head of Strength and Fitness at New York University and Assistant Athletic Coach, Joe Mosher(M.Ed, ATC, CSCS, USAW) considers that:

“We have a duty to our athletes to provide them with a program that not only helps improve their athleticism, but also, and more importantly, provides them with a higher level of injury resistance than they had before. It’s all based on the idea that if my athletes are healthy and can compete, then they have at least some chance of winning, no matter who we play with. If they are injured and can’t compete then they have no chance of winning. Even a one percent chance of winning is still better than a zero percent chance of winning. ”

No matter how much stronger, bigger and faster your athletes are compared to the opposition, if they are not healthy, they do not play. Add these five exercises to your programming to give your athletes the best chance to avoid injury and stay in the game.

Disclaimer: The content on the Breaking Muscle page should be informative in nature, but should not replace advice and / or supervision by a medical professional. Although many of our associates and experts have respected certificates and diplomas, and some are certified medical professionals, the opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as a diagnosis and / or treatment of health problems.

Eccentric slide for knee tendons

  • What: Knee tendon eccentric force and rear chain grip.
  • Why: Whether you are an athlete, runner or fitness fanatic, yours knee tendon health plays a key role in performance. Knee tendons are a critical component of strength development for jumping, running, pulling, Olympic weightlifting and strength training. In addition, the knee tendons work to slow down and absorb muscle force during the landing phases of the running / walking cycle and help with stabilize the knees and hips during open chain activities. Without proper knee tendon health in the concentric and eccentric phases of muscular activity, you could leave your athletes and clients open to painful injuries such as muscle pulling and straining and loss of training development.
  • How: Perform this exercise in the corrective or auxiliary segment of training. The key to this is controlled muscle lengthening (eccentricity), retention of tension and full range of motion (ROM) during movement. Try adding them to your training regimen twice a week, for 2-4 sets of 10-20 controlled (2-3 seconds eccentric) reps.

90/90 Breathing

  • What: This one diaphragmatic breathing technique from the Institute of Postural Restoration is excellent for teaching athletes and clients proper breathing and fastening during lifting and in life. Poor breathing techniques can create stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders, chest muscles, lumbar region and front of the hips. This rigidity, combined with intense exercise, can lead to serious injuries if not noticed.
  • Why: The ability to contract and breathe through the diaphragm and abdominal muscles is crucial for more stability and joint function in the hips, shoulders, and spine. By teaching athletes how to breathe in stressful and stressful situations, they can improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injuries while running, contact sports, overload and rotational movements, and life.
  • How: Perform this breathing protocol in a warm-up routine before resistance training. This exercise is a great way to mentally prepare athletes and clients to become more attuned to their breathing. More importantly, it gives them the core stabilization they need for optimal and safe operation.

X-Band Walk

  • What: Gluteus activation, external hip rotation and hip / knee / ankle stability.
  • Why: Gluteus development is critical to hip health, which is a key player in dead lift, squats, olympic weightlifting, jumping, landing and running, as well as energy production and injury prevention. In addition, the gluteus stabilizes the hip and knee joints, which are prone to injury without adequate stability.
  • How: Perform this movement in the corrective or auxiliary segment of training. Depending on the thickness of the strap and the position of the strap, the weight may vary depending on the athlete. The farther the straps are from the hip joint, the greater the resistance. Start with a few sets of 8-10 steps per leg, focusing on strong, controlled steps.

Marches and skips

  • What: Mechanics of running, jumping, sprinting and leg movement technique.
  • Why: Possibility to create force it’s one thing, but most fitness enthusiasts, and even some athletes, fail to apply maximum force using effective movement mechanics. The result is reduced running speed, economy, energy consumption and increased risk of possible injuries. By understanding and incorporating sound marches, skipping, and running exercises in warm-up sets and pre-competition exercises, you can teach athletes not only to run faster, but also safer and more efficiently.
  • How: Perform these exercises in warm-up sets and / or pre-competition exercises. It is imperative to teach athletes not to allow knee extension while the leg is moving upwards and to maintain the correct position of the base leg below the torso. In addition, be sure that the athlete is actively pulling the heel to the gluteus with the hamstring and driving his foot directly below the center of mass.


  • What: Scapular stabilization, rotator cuff stability, and shoulder awareness.
  • Why: Whether you are an athlete in throwing (baseball, football, softball, volleyball, tennis), a weightlifter (squares and jerks) or a passionate fitness enthusiast, scapular and shoulder stabilization they are critical for optimal strength development and injury prevention. The ability to anchor the back shoulder will increase the amount of force that can be controlled, slowed down and finally produced in the shoulder joint. In addition, Mosher states: “[T]the arm bar is a great shoulder separation exercise. It teaches the body to move around a stable shoulder. It also trains the rotator cuff in its first real joint centering role as it moves through full ROM. Ultimately, it allows the athlete to develop chest mobility at the same time as he teaches the shoulder joint to squeeze firmly, but to continue to move independently. ”
  • How: Perform arm bars in either the corrective or additional training segment. The key to this is controlled shoulder stability as you rotate your body. Make sure your shoulders and abs are taut as you stay “stacked” through your upper / middle back. Try them with 8-10 reps per hand, focusing on a short break at the top of each repetition.

Proactive approach

Take the time to respond to the needs of your athletes by incorporating these core exercises into their program. This proactive approach will protect your athletes from injury and keep them on and off the field for years to come.

Learn more about injury prevention:

Injury Prevention Programming: How to Maintain Athlete Health

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