In order to build strength, endurance, stamina and resilience, it is common protocol to perform periods of prehab (prehabilitation exercises to avoid injury and subsequent rehabilitation) as part of pre-season or loading phases in athletes. Surely the concept of well-structured and periodised strength & conditioning programs makes for more sense. There’s no doubt that understanding mechanisms for injuries (which occur both in athletes and general populations) is of great importance. Furthermore, in order to stay fit, healthy and develop training/loading consistency, it would make sense to adequately prepare individuals and teams to avoid common injuries and imbalances, but isn’t that what well-planned strength & conditioning is anyway?
Faigenbaum and Myer (2010) highlight that regular participation in a multifaceted resistance training program that begins during the preseason, and includes instruction on movement biomechanics, may reduce the risk of sports-related injuries in young athletes. So, if athletes and general population alike undertake consistent, year-round training regimes for strength, resilience and general fitness, then this in itself is “prehab”. By moving the whole body and its joints/structures through full ranges of motion, and under load, we are naturally enhancing mobility, stability and strength capabilities, paving the way for greater resistance stress injury prevention.
Performing exercises such as a resisted lateral step (with resistance band around knees or ankles) has been highlighted to activate and strengthen the hip stabilisers (gluteus medius in particular), preparing the hips to negotiate unstable movement and environment requirements. Regardless of whether the hips are unstable or not, activating/preparing the hips and increasing stability, for example, is an important part of strength training for all involved. With this, rather than being an isolated, low intensity, low resistance “prehab” exercise, it’s a fundamental part of a structured strength training program.
Strength training encompasses movement patterns of varying loads and intensities, with initial movement preparation, pre-training activation, heavy lifting and of course recovery strategies all being key components of periodised programming, which should be performed all-year round. See my article here for more detail on this. With proper education, and principles of specificity and individualisation, any perceived “prehab” components will be taken care of within the phased structures. With these foundations in place, athletes and general populations alike can confidently minimise likelihood of injury and become strong, resilient and mobile machines.
Encompassing all of these aforementioned components, and aligning them with client goals, is at the forefront of programming. Movement preparation, loading (and de-loading) and individualisation are central to the work of the elite performance coaches at Absolute. If you want to feel stronger, fitter and more robust, then come in and see one today!
By Performance Coach Jonny Stahl
Faigenbaum, A.D. & Myer, G.D. (2010). Resistance training among youth athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects