Prevention and Performance: The best of both worlds

By Kyle Schoenmaker

Part 1- The Warm up

The words rehab and physical therapy in the world of athletics almost hurts rolling off the tongue. It implies someone has incurred an injury and has had to take a step backward. Now what comes to mind when I say the two words “injury prevention?” It almost gives off the same feeling, but why? Media portrays someone training at peak strength and conditioning performance you think of someone grinding out long hours in the gym with blood mixing with sweat and a certain level of agony to achieve the ideal end result. Is it too much to ask for both? A smart training program with a healthy balance of mobility, agility, speed, and strength seems to either take too much time which most young athletes don’t have to offer. agility-blur

A proper warm up is one of the keys to the balance between injury prevention and top performance and sadly it is a component that most young athletes have a hard time with. It may take some extra time but the time spent warming up beats the added time spent in a boot, cast, or sling because the athlete was unprepared for the workout. The following steps should be taken before any strength or agility workout:

 

  1. Myofascial Release (Options below)
    1. Foam Rolling- Quads, IT Bands, T-Spine, Lumbar Spine
    2. Lacrosse/ Jug Ball- Traps, Shoulders, Lats, Calves, Feet
  2. Stretching
    1. Static- This should be limited but not all together avoided. The problem with static stretching is this limits explosive power in some athletes. The fact of the matter is dynamic stretching is way more beneficial for performance in a power/strength workout routine. If an athlete is sore or tight save the static stretching for the cool down and end of the workout.
    2. Dynamic – This should work on opening up the spine, hips, shoulders, and slightly increasing the athlete’s heart rate to prepare for Movement Preparation/ Agility Phase. The goal is not to exhaust the athlete. Below is an example routine
      1. Walking Spiderman w/ rotation x 5 ea
      2. Leg Kicks x 10ea
  • Lunge Matrix (forward, lateral, rotational) x 5ea
  1. Toe Touch Squats x 10
  2. Hip Hinge x 10
  3. Quadruped T-Spine Rotation x 10 ea
  • Bird/Dog x 6 ea with 3 sec pause
  • Leg Lowering x 8 ea
  1. Single Leg Hip Lift x 10 ea
  2. Mini Band Walks – Lateral x 10ea Forward &Backward- 10 ea
  3. Plank x 30 sec
  1. Movement Prep/ Agility– This is meant to be a faster paced phase of the warm up designed to not only work through all planes of motion but also implement agility and speed work. Below is an example of the Movement Prep and Agility portion of a warm up:
    1. Med Ball Chest Pass x 20
    2. Wrap Around Med Ball Toss x 10 ea
    3. OH Toss x 5
    4. Explosive Lateral Band Shuffle x20 yds ea
    5. Linear Hurdle Hops x 5ea leg
    6. Lateral Hurdle Hop x 5 ea leg
    7. Box Jump x 6
    8. Shuttle Run x 1 round

 

A well prepared warm up can be a key difference in an athlete’s performance. If any step is looked over this could lead to a bad workout, game, practice, or worse an injury. Take the necessary steps to make sure your athlete’s body and mind are ready for the task at hand.

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