The warm weather is here and many of us have started thinking about getting back into our favorite summer activities. But don’t rush back into that first game just yet! To prevent summer sport injuries, it’s important to first check your joint mobility and muscular flexibility.
If you’ve had a more sedentary spring, rushing into an activity too quickly is a surefire way to increase the risk of injury. It’s likely that your muscles, joints, and connective tissue will be a bit stiff. If you’re looking for a way to ease into the season, or need an effective pre-game warmup, Essentrics® workouts can help you prepare and remain a valuable member of your team!
The greater the range of motion, the greater the muscle flexibility and strength.
– Miranda Esmonde-White, The Miracle of Flexibility
The importance of flexibility & mobility
The relationship between flexibility and mobility is key to avoiding injury and improving sports performance. Being flexible means that the muscles can lengthen to their full capacity; being mobile means the joints can move freely in their full range of motion. Stiff, inflexible muscles directly relate to stiff and limited joints. This lack of mobility can have a negative impact on performance, putting you at risk for injury and limiting your ability to generate speed and power.
We want to be able to lengthen the muscles around our joints adequately so that they can generate maximum power. Keeping our joints balanced and healthy is key if we want to reach our potential as an athlete.
Prevention is key when it comes to sports injuries, and Essentrics® workouts can help you prepare for any summer sport!
Here are 3 common injuries & how you can prevent them:
1. Hamstring Strain: This injury can occur during sudden powerful movements like lunging for a ball or sprinting when our knee joints and surrounding muscles aren’t ready for the challenge.
If we sit for long hours at work the muscles on the backs of our legs – our hamstrings- can become shortened and tight. This can make it difficult to straighten our knees fully. If we try to do this too quickly during a game, we can pull the muscles resulting in a painful strain.
Prevention: To avoid hamstring strain, we need to improve the mobility of the knee through gentle movement. We can then stretch the hamstrings properly and begin strength training which will improve our athletic performance.
2. Golfer’s Elbow & Tennis Elbow: Failing to warm up the arms and shoulders properly can result in elbow tendonitis, otherwise known as Golfer’s Elbow or Tennis Elbow. Absorbing the impact of hitting a ball of any type requires strength but we are only as strong as we are flexible. Recovering from these elbow injuries requires complete rest and once the inflammation subsides, stretching and strengthening of the area is necessary.
Prevention: Essentrics® builds strength throughout the muscles by working them in their full range of motion, while simultaneously increasing flexibility. This helps to rebalance the entire musculature of the arms and shoulders, preventing future injury. The arm can now withstand both impact and sudden movements, leading to a boost in athletic performance.
3. Overuse Injuries: Repetitive movements in sports like cycling can cause overuse injuries in certain muscles, leading to joint stiffness and limited mobility. In order to support the stress of these repetitive movements, some muscles will become stronger than others, leading to muscular imbalance and stiff joints.
Prevention: Rebalancing workouts (like Essentrics®!) that maintain the mobility and flexibility of all the muscles and joints will keep you pain-free and performing at your best!
Finally, if you live in a place where the summer sports season comes to an end, it’s important to add gentle exercises to your routine during the off-season. Essentrics® can improve your posture, increase your energy, and ease pain by rebalancing all 650 muscles and 360 joints.
By building and improving joint mobility and muscular flexibility, you’ll not only avoid injuries but also improve your athletic performance – helping you stand out on the field or court.
Contributing writer Beth Oldfield, Essentrics® Level 4 Instructor