What is the first thing that comes to mind when an athlete “pulls” a muscle?
The most common response is that the athlete should’ve stretched more or that they need more flexibility to prevent that injury. Multiple studies have shown this to be an incorrect assumption. There is actually a direct correlation between aerobic fitness and injury prevention. Aerobic fitness levels can actually aid in recovery as well. This is why baseball pitchers engage in some form of conditioning on the days that they are not throwing.
So the answer may be evident but let us pose the question of which is better: static stretching or dynamic stretching?
Both, but only with an aerobic component and activities that emphasize strengthening, jumping, or other similar activities. A proper warm-up should include, but not be limited to, some form of running activity laced with a dynamic stretching program and a short static stretch.
Whatever it is that you as a coach, parent, sports medicine professional, or athlete choose to do for a pre game routine, make sure it has scientific validation. Don’t just do something because that is the way it has always been done.
It is important to have a plan when an injured athlete is returning to participation. Hitting and throwing progressions are a great way to slowly build the arm strength and mechanics necessary to return to practice and competition safely. Too many athletes jump right back into a full practice after they have recovered from an injury which in turn tends to prompt poor mechanics due to fatigue thus increasing their risk of future injury. Throwing a baseball, softball, or football is really no different then running a marathon. There is a level of conditioning that needs to occur prior to participating in a competetive environment. There are many plans available either from your treating physician or those included in the book. We have created very specific plans for all ages, positions, and needs. Have fun and play ball, play safe.
You don’t think that you can work out or stay in shape due to an injury? Here is proof that you can.
Athletes who are injured often worry about losing fitness during time away from training. Detraining or deconditioning is a fact of life when you stop training. You should want to maintain a base of fitness and strength. Before you do any exercise after an injury, it’s wise to get the approval and recommendations of your treating physician, therapist, or Athletic Trainer. Follow their recommendations for when you can resume exercise, how much, and what type of exercise is best. Studies have shown that you can maintain your fitness level even if you need to change or cut back on your exercise for several months. In order to do so, you need to exercise at about 70 percent of your VO2 max at least once per week.It may take some creativity and the flexibility to try new things. Most athletes find training through injury is possible and not terribly difficult. The key is to maintain the right attitude and protect the injured part until it heals. Use this time to increase your strength and foundation in other areas to prevent future injuries. It is important to maintain your fitness level while injured. This will not only decrease the risk of future injury but decreasing the lag time when you return to play.