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Be ready for anything, train everything. Here's why.

March 20, 2019

Original story January 29, 2018

Break out of strict form to prevent injury

    About a month ago, I was challenged by my son and son-in-law to a long-drive competition on the 16th hole of our local course. I was already tired, and nursing a forearm "tweak" from working out. Stepping up to the ball, the competitor in me took over. The second I made contact, I felt my left forearm muscle tear. I was done. I still have pain from the tear with what's known as "golfers elbow."

The problem was, I overexerted a muscle with improper technique and over-range of motion. It was also a muscle that I only worked out in the gym using strict form. I'm suddenly asking all these other tiny ligaments and tendons who had been sitting around all year, doing nothing, to join the party.

This type of injury started in my brain, not in the gym. The older I get I have to be smarter about my form. But there is a way to workout without "proper" technique so you're prepared for things that happen in life, not in the strict confines of the gym.

Some injuries are just unavoidable. Some are not. Twisting an ankle while walking across your yard and stepping on a rock can happen. How you bounce back from them depends on your age and how you've been training.

Losing your balance stepping down from your truck bed is something you don't expect, and you don't train for... but you can be better prepared for the sudden movements your body will do to stay upright.

Chris Lofland of Breakingmuscle wrote an excellent article on Injury Prevention And Resilience Through Improper Training. In it, he asserts that "Proper dosages of “improper” alignment can help prevent injury when doing an athletic movement. You are being optimistic if you believe you will prevent injury by only training “proper” form. Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive for proper form but if you are truly doing athletic movements, playing, or in a sport, then you will not always have the luxury of being in the “perfect” position. 

Full Range of Motion Training

Progressive exposure to your body’s natural range of motion is fine and is actually good for you. However, it is still crucial that this is done with correct loading and duration of recovery. Full range of motion training can expose us to “awkward positions” that are more injury-prone, hence the reason we should train them. But if overdone or trained without control, in the beginning, we run the risk of causing more damage than growth. 

 If you don’t move your body in as many different positions as you can as often as possible, then you will eventually lose the ability to move in those positions.

   The next time you workout, think about your range of motion to stay ready for the real world.

Shoulders, back, knees, fingers, neck, and your ankles are areas you may have been letting get inflexible.

These exaggerated flexing/stress motions should be very progressive, over a long period of time and practiced regularly. You are safer going too light or less frequent at the beginning rather than the reverse.

Pain is not gain in this case.


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Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

Source:  Breakingmuscle, AP, Twitter, AASNSports








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