Posts tagged with ‘prehab’

  • Knowledge Blog

    IMPROVING FITNESS THROUGH INJURY

    - by Imtiaz

    Health and fitness requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. For those committed to improving themselves daily – like the people we see in our gyms – there’s some risk involved too. You could cut your shin on a box jump, twist your ankle while running, or sprain a shoulder muscle while practising some gymnastics.

    You could also get hit by a bus while crossing the road, or by a buck while cycling through the bush. Those are all educated risks.

    You can either sit back to become overweight and unhealthy to avoid the short-term risk of a niggle from training, or you can overlook that small short-term risk for massive long-term benefits. Just as you can stay indoors to avoid the world, or you can go on with living your life.

    There are some educated risks to leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Every now and then you’re going to pick up a niggle or an injury. So how should you approach training while you are nursing an injury? I see two approaches: the pigheaded approach and the smart approach. Let’s talk about the smart approach because that pigheadedness (that is a word) is what gets you injured.

    Tip #1: Pain Free RoM

    The most common symptom of an injury is pain. While there are varying pain sensations, pain is inevitable and is a sign of damage. You should never move through pain. This might mean reducing the range of motion (RoM) about a joint for particular movements and in more severe cases it means not moving that joint at all.

    At the end stage of the recovery and rehab process you typically have no pain through the full RoM, but as soon as you add load there is pain. RoM is significantly more important than load. Therefore, reduce or remove load to ensure full RoM with no pain.

    Tip #2: Seek Treatment & Guidance

    If you have picked up a musculoskeletal injury then you really should have already seen a physiotherapist for diagnosis and treatment. If you haven’t then you’re veering towards the pigheaded route. A physio can determine which structure is injured and treat it accordingly. This manual therapy aids the recovery process.

    The physio and your coaches will then be able to guide you on what to do in training to ensure that you continue improving fitness while the injured area recovers (as long as you listen). You can’t do this alone or with Dr. Google, neither of you have the relevant skills, education or mindset. Even physios need physios.

    Tip #3: Make Strict Bodyweight Movements a Priority

    Injuries generally prevent you from moving external loads. Fitness isn’t just defined by how much load you can move, and gymnastics comes before weightlifting in your development as an athlete. So RE-focus your time and efforts on strict bodyweight movements. That means no kipping.

    This has the huge benefit of better strength with no downsides. And even though you aren’t doing them, when you do get back to more dynamic movements you’ll be MORE proficient at them thanks to your bigger base level of strength. Yeah, you should be doing that from the very beginning, but one can only lead the horse to the water, yeah?

    Tip #4: Prioritise Your Nutrition

    Nutrition is the most important aspect of your health and fitness. You need to eat enough to support your activity levels but not body fat. When you’re nursing and injury your activity levels generally drop. If they do drop, you should be eating less. “My nutrition is better when I’m training properly” is just an excuse to stuff your face because you’re feeling sorry for yourself.

    Less exercise = less need for calories. More importantly, what you eat directly influences your body’s ability to recover from any form of trauma.

    Tip #5: Have a Game Plan

    You’ll need to follow Tip #2 in order to have an effective and realistic game plan in place. That’s because the most common behaviour with athletes and injury is returning to their pre-injury levels of intensity as soon as they’re feeling “good.”

    You might be completely pain free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the injured structures are fully recovered. Soft tissue takes a long time to recover, and you also need to recognise that you aren’t just recovering from the injury itself – you need to recover from the inactivity too 😉

    Part of the game plan is continuing to train. One of the most important aspects of rehabilitation is ensuring that other parts of the body and other areas of fitness continue to improve while the injured area recovers. And that is totally doable. Take a look at the Instagram video below of Kevin Ogar. Kevin was a Regional level CrossFit athlete who was injured in a freak accident. He is now bound to a wheelchair, but his fitness has continued to improve – so much so that he is now able to sit in a squat!

    Tip #6: Be Smart, Not Pigheaded

  • Knowledge Blog

    TRAINING THROUGH INJURY

    - by Imtiaz

    Health and fitness requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. For those committed to improving themselves daily – like the people we see in our gyms – there’s some risk involved too. You could cut your shin on a box jump, twist your ankle while running, or sprain a shoulder muscle while practising some gymnastics. You could also get hit by a taxi while crossing the road. Those are all educated risks. You can either sit back to become overweight and unhealthy to avoid the short-term risk of a niggle from training, or you can overlook that short-term risk for massive long-term benefits. Just as you can stay indoors to avoid what could hurt you, or you can go on with living your life.

    There are some educated risks to leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Every now and then you’re going to pick up a niggle or an injury. So how should you approach training while you are nursing an injury? I see two approaches: the pigheaded approach and the smart approach. Let’s talk about the smart approach because that will highlight pigheadedness. Yes, that’s a word. I just made it up.

    Tip #1: Pain Free RoM

    The most common symptom of an injury is pain. While there are varying pain sensations, pain is inevitable and is a sign of damage. You should never move through pain. This might mean reducing the range of motion (RoM) about a joint for particular movements and in more severe cases it means not moving that joint at all.
    At the end stage of the recovery and rehab process you typically have no pain through the full RoM, but as soon as you add load there is pain. RoM is significantly more important than load. Therefore, reduce or remove load to ensure full RoM with no pain.

    Tip #2: Seek Treatment & Guidance

    If you have picked up a musculoskeletal injury then you really should have already seen a physiotherapist for diagnosis and treatment. If you haven’t then you’re veering towards the pigheaded route. A physio can determine which structure is injured and treat it accordingly. This manual therapy aids the recovery process.
    The physio and your coaches will then be able to guide you on what to do in training to ensure that you continue improving fitness while the injured area recovers (as long as you listen). You can’t do this alone or with Dr. Google, neither of you have the relevant skills, education or mindset.

    Tip #3: Make Strict Bodyweight Movements a Priority

    Injuries generally prevent you from moving external loads. Fitness isn’t just defined by how much load you can move, and gymnastics comes before weightlifting in your development as an athlete. So REfocus on your time and efforts on strict bodyweight movements. That means no kipping. This has the huge benefit of better strength with no downsides. And even though you aren’t doing them, when you do get back to more dynamic movements you’ll be MORE proficient at them thanks to your bigger base level of strength. Yeah, you should be doing that from the very beginning, but one can only lead the horse to the water.

    Tip #4: Prioritise Your Nutrition

    Nutrition is the most important aspect of your health and fitness. You need to eat enough to support your activity levels but not body fat. When you’re nursing and injury your activity levels generally drop. If they do drop, you should be eating less. “My nutrition is better when I’m training properly” is just an excuse to stuff your face because you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Less exercise = less need for calories.
    More importantly, what you eat directly influences your body’s ability to recover from any form of trauma.

    Tip #5: Have a Game Plan

    You’ll need to follow Tip #2 in order to have an effective and realistic game plan in place. That’s because the most common behaviour with athletes and injury is returning to their pre-injury levels of intensity as soon as they’re feeling “good.” You might be completely pain free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the injured structures are fully recovered. Soft tissue takes a long time to recover, and you also need to recognise that you aren’t just recovering from the injury itself – you need to recover from the inactivity too 😉

    Tip #6: Be Smart, Not Pigheaded

     

  • Knowledge Blog

    DEVELOP YOUR BODY FROM THE INSIDE OUT

    - by Imtiaz

    “At CrossFit we endeavor to develop our athletes from the inside out, from core to extremity, which is, by the way, how good functional movements recruit muscle, from the core to the extremities.” 

    That sentence comes from the Foundations sections of the CrossFit L1 Training Guide. It’s right at the start of the book, naturally, and it of course contains all the aspects required to develop a fit and healthy body. But who cares about foundations, right? Let’s just build this here and hope for the best. Let’s just learn how to do butterfly pull-ups before strict or kipping, and hope that my shoulder doesn’t fall apart.

    You can rebuild a material structure, but without bionic body parts, you can’t rebuild your body.

    The little piece from the CF-L1 training has more than one meaning to it. Firstly, it pertains to all movement originating from the core/midline (hips and trunk) of the body. Functional movements cannot be performed properly unless the midline is stable, and the ability of the extremities to complete a movement will be diminished unless the hips begin the movement.

    When I look at what comprises the body’s core, however, I see all the small muscles set deep below the big superficial muscles. Many will refer to these deeper muscles as stabilisers. They do stabilise joints while creating small movements. Therein lies another meaning of the above sentence. By developing your body from the inside out, we’re developing your musculature from deep to superficial. We’re laying a strong and broad foundation BEFORE developing the outside.

    There’s an annoying misconception that CrossFit only develops your big superficial muscles while neglecting smaller and stabilising muscles. That’s not so. A well structured CrossFit program performed under the guidance of a good coach and performed with good mechanics is and should be a preventative AND performance based program. That means it will increase your fitness while keeping you safe and free from injury.

    It also means you shouldn’t need to spend hours doing “accessory” work. I don’t know when it started happening, but we noticed it in our gym too. People started waddling around gyms with bands wrapped around their legs, knees strapped and wrists taped up. “I’m activating my glutes and warming up my small joints,” they say. “You’re forgetting about what is and why you’re doing CrossFit, bro,” I say.

    Follow the program consistently, move as well as you possibly can (which is determined by how well you scale workouts to your abilities) and stretch your sticky areas all the time. Don’t be a geek either – there’s not fancy reason like “my glutes aren’t activating” for the lack of performance increases in any area. Move like you’re taught and built to move, and ensure that your BROAD foundation is rock solid before building up.

     

  • Knowledge Blog

    PRACTICE GOOD MECHANICS UNDER FATIGUE

    - by Imtiaz

    We like to use the cool-downs as an opportunity to reflect on the session, or to just catch up and have a chat. While the 5am crazies were stretching down yesterday, I asked them what happens to your technique (movement proficiency) when you’re fatigued. The quickest answer was “It goes to shit!” And then someone else said, “Nothing, it stays the same.” It’s no surprise to me that the person who had the latter answer learnt that lesson the hard way! What I was doing, though, was getting the group to think about what their movement quality is like during a workout.

    Think about what often happens as you near the end of a session, or at the end of a session. The quality of your movement tends to diminish, partly because you’re fatigued but also partly because you’re chasing the clock and the numbers! You often tell us just that during a workout when being cued to move better.

    Coach: “Delay the press of the arms, focus on your hips.”
    Athlete: “But I’m tired!”
    Coach: Rolls eyes and walks off….(read: Be More Coachable)

    It’s counterintuitive. The more fatigued you are the better you NEED to be moving. Remember, good technique = efficient movement = less energy consumed. And contrary to what you’re thinking at the time, slowing down to dial in your technique under fatigue will actually result in a greater power output by you completing more quality reps.

    I like to refer to the world’s leading athletes in all sports because they’re the perfect example. These athletes are partly the best because their technique is so good, and because they maintain near perfect technique throughout an event. In fact, they almost default to better technique as they fatigue. Yes, they move better and better with fatigue!

    Fatigue isn’t an excuse to be moving poorly. Laziness is. Instead, practice good mechanics under fatigue.

  • Knowledge Blog

    WHAT TO DO ON RECOVERY DAYS?

    - by Imtiaz

    So you know that recovery is important for progress and to avoid injury. You also know that active recovery is as important as complete rest days and have an idea of how to schedule your training week. You’d also like to do some form of activity on a daily basis, but want to ensure that what you do doesn’t hinder your overall progress. But what is best to do on those rest and recovery days?

    Firstly, always adopt the “do no harm” approach. If you’re thinking about things to do on your off days, think about activities that are different to what you might be exposed to in the gym but will keep you fresh for the next day in the gym (and for what life may throw at you!)

    Here are some groups of activities you could be looking at for those training days.

    • Steady State Aerobic Activity
      Also known as “cardio,” but I’d rather not use that term 😉 This is low intensity, monostructural activity like running, rowing, swimming, cycling. Duration is athlete and activity dependent but can range from 10 to 40 minutes. It should be of an ‘easy’ pace throughout.
      While we prefer to spend most of our time in training doing interval training and anaerobic conditioning (because it’s better at developing aerobic conditioning too), steady state aerobic activity has it’s place too!
    • Myofascial Release / Trigger Point Therapy
      This is where you apply local pressure to areas of muscle and connective tissue that have been exposed to trauma. For example, your glutes after Open workout 16.1! It helps to eliminate pain and restore range of motion.
      You can either do this to yourself using tools such as foam rollers, massage balls, and drills that involve barbells and kettlebells. We teach you many of these drills in class, but other great resources are Mobility WOD and ROM WOD.
      Or, get to a physio, chiro or sports masseuse. I generally find these latter options better because they have a detailed understanding of anatomy, and are more likely to apply the right types of pressure.
    • General Stretching
      These are the static stretches you are most familiar with. Mobility WOD and ROM WOD will again be some of the best resources above what we show you in class.
    • Work a Weakness
      To be specific, work a gymnastics weakness. This should be low volume (low sets and reps), low intensity and efforts should be separated by long rest periods. Pick just one weakness for a day. It could be holding a handstand, developing your ring support, or working on your kip swing. It should always be progressions to a movement as opposed to the full movement.
      You should avoid working on a weightlifting weakness. There is more risk of injury there, and a larger chance of developing poor movement habits that will take longer to remove than instilling good habits. Keep it to bodyweight.
    • Sports!
      Sports are where you express the fitness you develop – the application of fitness. Sports are also where you have the ability to develop skills that can only developed in that environment.

    With regards to the weakness and flexibility work, it can often be confusing what to work on. Schedule a private session with a coach to set some objective and tangible goals and to learn about how the UpSkill program can get you there.

    Keep moving!