Essential tips for injury prevention

As an athlete, you want to train hard, so you’re always ready to perform. But an injury can slam the brakes on your season.

That’s why it’s vital to prevent injuries with smart strategies that will help you stay in game shape.

The number one thing you can do? Sleep

It may be surprising to learn that getting enough sleep is at the top of the injury prevention list.

“Sleeping is one of our main and most crucial ways for our bodies to recover from hard workouts, games, matches, whatever that may be,” said Bryer Rogers, head coach at D1 Training Holly Springs.

Coming to practice tired not only hurts your training, it hurts overall health.

“If you’re not getting enough sleep, you are showing up to take on more workload with a more deteriorated body,” said Kennie Apilli, a strength and conditioning coach at D1 Training Holly Springs. “When we sleep is when those cells regenerate.”

Eat healthy

Another way of taking care of the body outside of a workout is eating properly.

“I’ve heard every excuse you can think of,” Rogers said. “I’m just as stubborn as my clients are: ‘It’s so hard to eat better.’ No, it’s not.”

A lot of teens undereat, but athletes simply need to eat enough protein and carbohydrates to fuel their bodies, he said.

Warm up properly

What likely isn’t a surprise on the list of strategies is doing proper warm ups.

“Simply put, don’t begin a workout without warming up adequately,” Apilli said. “It is never wise to jump 100 miles an hour into the meat and potatoes of the movement. When it comes to injury prevention, the body likes to be coaxed into the movement and out of the movement.”

While some people stand still and stretch, the proper way to stretch is while moving, Apilli said. A workout should both start and end with stretching.

“Don’t finish the hard run or hard workout and stop moving,” he said. “Don’t slam on the gas pedal to get the car moving. Don’t slam on the brakes to stop. The car’s not going to like that if you do it over and over again.”

A dynamic warm up will help with spine, hip, and shoulder mobility.

“If you’re in the weight room that day and your main focus is squatting, you may want to focus on hips, ankles, and knees,” Rogers said. “Make sure the knee is nice and warmed up. Also, make sure the lower back and the thoracic area is nice and warmed up as well.”

To start a workout, Rogers focuses on flexibility and mobility training with student athletes.

“Flexibility is, I can bend down and touch my toes,” Rogers said. “I can cross my arm across my chest and get a good stretch there,” he explained. “Mobility, it’s the ability to move freely and without hindrance.”

Rogers knows from experience that it’s important to focus on both to avoid injuries.

“Making sure the kids’ joints and bodies can move through every plane successfully without impingement or compensation is very necessary for their now and long-term health,” he said.

The warm up doesn’t have to take up half the training time. Rather, it can be partially incorporated into the training, with only one or two days a week focused on deep mobility.

“It’s not something you have to do in excess,” Rogers said. “If there’s one thing you should be, it’s efficient. You should efficiently use all the time you have and get as much out of the time as you can.”

All skill levels benefit

Even people who are not athletes can benefit from exercising and learning proper movement. For example, Rogers trained a man who couldn’t pick up items above his head without pain. They worked on external rotation in the shoulder, mobility, and strength.

“Lo and behold, his grandkids come into town and he’s throwing them in the air in the pool, had no problem,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Learn more about training options and sign up for a free session at D1 Training Holly Springs.

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