Physical injuries are almost unavoidable for all athletes. But the major challenge is to recover quickly and return to the field with sufficient fitness. As a result, physios are the initial go-to professionals for injured athletes looking to rehabilitate their injuries. However, a thorough understanding of strength plus conditioning can double the effectiveness of a physio. While a physiotherapist is superlative in diagnosing and treating injuries during acute stages, he/she might lack the ability to treat for training returns. Here we try to elaborate on how an understanding of periodization, rehab, and progressive exercising can better equip physios to treat injured athletes.
PeriodizationTheraband external rotations can be a frustratingly normal prescription for athletes with shoulder impingements. Despite underlying advantages, such traditional rehab procedures can fail to deliver long-term outcomes with merely repeated routines. Rehabilitation, like strength and conditioning, requires adjusting variables. While activation and range improving exercises are essential for the acute stages, sufficient stress on expanding such corrective measures beyond can be a rarity with many physios. Even worse, some physios might suggest returning to theraband exercises again after a few weeks, which can do more harm than good. As clients proceed along with their rehab, physios should gradually increase the weight and training volume to constantly challenge the body. This approach applies to alternates, including the gym, field, and sport-specific demands as well. Instead of hiding in the corner of the gym with theraband rehab routines, after an individual has recovered some movement capacity, the focus should be shifted towards improving power and strength specific to their sport. Physios and S+C trainers must be familiar with workout prescriptions that can maximize these attributes.
S+Cs And Physios Should Work In TandemIt is imperative that for each injury, the physio and the S+C trainer require a thorough grasp of the rehabilitation phases and exit norms for each phase depending on performance results rather than time. Additionally, there should always be multiple alternate plans for reintegrating the athlete back into training. The physio and strength and conditioning trainer should collaborate throughout the recovery process rather than operate in separate bubbles. The physiotherapist does not have exclusive duty for the wounded athlete. Strength and conditioning experts should effectively train around an injury to preserve as many areas of the athlete's performance from the very start as possible. Similarly, when recovering athletes return to training, physios should evaluate pain levels, inflammation, and integrity of the affected area using clinical testing and S+C coaches. Collaborated decisions with open communication lines can yield the greatest results for any injured athlete.
The Process Of Rehab And Return To PlayUsually, an athlete's rehabilitation process is broken down into four stages.
Phase 1 (Physiotherapy)Reducing player discomfort and inflammation is the prime concern initially. A gradual increase in the active motion range might be an excellent way to start. Introduction to corrective exercises might be allowed without interfering with the healing to promote supporting tissues capacity. Theraband routines become major along with high volume moderate workouts.
Phase 2 (Strengthening)Once the intense pain and swelling have been taken care of, replace therabands with machines and weight training. Our goal at this point is to gradually strengthen the damaged region. With your fitness regimen, consider gradual overload. Begin with moderate volume that can gradually be decreased with improving intensity. The athlete should use weights that push them near to failure during this stage.
Phase 3 (Effectiveness)Now is the time to reduce the weight while increasing the speed with which you complete repetitions. Isolation exercises may give way to contrast methods. Ballistic training, banded resistance routine, plyometrics can all be appropriate replacements in this stage. The aim is to enhance the strength gained in the previous stage, but more rapidly. This might suggest doing 3 to 4 sets of similar repetitions with longer rest periods for effective power.
Phase 4 (Returning To Sport)Fulfilling certain RTS criteria is common for injured athletes’ return to the field. Building up to complete professional training over many weeks is a smarter option. A sudden jump onto professional training immediately after rehab can elevate the risk of recurrent injury. Major concentration should be put on sport-specific activities, avoiding reactive routines or sided games until further.
Progressive ExercisingImmediate cessation of exercises stretching any affected area comes as a common physio prescription for injured athletes. As such, sufficient knowledge of progressive exercising to your specific case might make a huge difference. This can substantially reduce RTS duration by sustaining load in appropriate movement patterns. Exercise regression can be equally effective for recovery as well. If some athletes can't squat due to lower spine difficulties, knowledge of the kinetic chain can always help. Regression through a four-by-four movement pattern (standing, kneeling, quadruped, and laying) can assist retention of strength for essential areas. Progressive exercising knowledge can reduce muscle and strength loss after an injury that can save substantial rehab time to action. A few of the progressive/regressive routines for eight crucial patterns of movement can be:
Squat - Bodyweight squat to goblet squat to front squat to back squat, or reverse.
Lunge - Split squat to Bulgarian split squat to reverse lunge to walking lunge, or reverse.
Bridge - Bodyweight glute bridge to weighted glute bridge to bodyweight hip thrust to weighted hip thrust, or reverse.
Hinge - Kettlebell hip hinge to a wall to Romanian deadlift to deadlift from blocks to deadlift from the floor, or reverse.
Horizontal Push - Push-up to dumbbell bench press to barbell bench press, or reverse.
Vertical Push - Kneeling single-arm dumbbell overhead press to standing dumbbell overhead press to military press, or reverse.
Horizontal Pull - Inverted row to seated cable row to dumbbell row to bent over barbell row, or reverse.
Vertical Pull - Lat pull-down to assisted pull-up to pull-up, or reverse. Physios aspiring to develop their S+C understanding for a collaborative approach can very well do so. Apart from reading relevant topics and articles, a more practical approach might be suitable to speed up the process. Try to get in touch with local experienced S+C coaches during their training sessions. Analyze their way of handling various rehab routines for different athletes. In return, offer them a visit or two to your training sessions, which might also help their enthusiasm. If you need any further information on this, please visit us at https://www.movement101.com.au/.
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