Strength training & Injury Prevention

There are many myths and misunderstandings around strength training which can lead some people to favour a more cardio based approach to their fitness routine.

Some people may avoid this style of training because they believe it will lead them to build muscle and become bulky and, if general weight management is the goal, many assume that aerobic activity should be the focus.

Others simply may not know how to incorporate strength training into their schedule seeing it as complex and intimidating.


What Is Strength Training & Why Should We Do It?

Strength training, also known as resistance training, is moving the joints through a range of motion against resistance, requiring the muscles to expend energy and contract forcefully to move the bones. It can be done using varying types of resistance from machines, free weights, bands or even your own body!!

Done properly, resistance training strengthens muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments and increases muscle mass and endurance. Combined, these outcomes lead to many benefits that will help your body over the course of your lifetime. These include: weight management, increased bone density helping to avoid osteoporosis, increased athletic performance, and improved posture and muscle tone.

Often overlooked though are the benefits of strength training for injury prevention and, even more so, the role it can play in rehabilitation.


How Can Strength Training Prevent Injury?

Muscle imbalances are one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal pain and injuries, not just in sport, but also in everyday life.

When one muscle, or muscle group, becomes stronger than its opposing group, the stronger muscles get shorter and tighter and the opposing muscles become looser and weaker. The weaker muscles will fatigue quicker and therefore are more susceptible to injury if suddenly called into play!! Additionally, the shorter, stronger muscles pull your body out of alignment meaning your whole body has to make adjustments to compensate. Over time continuing activities with poor patterns of movement can lead to chronic pain and ultimately injury.

Muscle imbalances can occur when people do only one type of activity continually i.e. running, or when they remain in one position for significant amounts of time such as sitting at a desk.

A balanced strength-training program will help to counter these imbalances by strengthening the weaker muscles and tendons to help hold the body in proper alignment. This helps to protect the bones and joints when moving or under impact. Stronger bones and more flexible ligaments also allow the body to absorb more shock with less harmful impact during dynamic movements.


Strength training and rehabilitation

In cases where an injury has already been sustained, strength training can be a highly effective tool in the rehabilitation process. Once the areas of weakness have been diagnosed by a biomechanical expert (such as an osteopath) specific resistance exercises can be used to build strength in those areas. Not only will this help to speed up recovery but it also means that the patient can still keep up some form of physical activity and maintain a certain base level of fitness and strength from which to resume normal activities.

So, with benefits this compelling, it is hard to find a reason not to put some time and effort into incorporating strength training into your fitness regime. Practicing just 3 times a week for 30 minutes, you can begin to see a change in your body and health.

Thank you to our guest blogger, Vicki Clubley (personal trainer), for this blog.

Vicki is offering 20% off personal training through September and October 2015. To take advantage of this offer or more information on exercise/programme ideas and techniques please visit her website at www.glowhealthandfitness.co.uk or call her on Tel: 07970 38607

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If you require any other information or wish to book an appointment to see one of our practitioners please contact Teddington Osteopaths on Tel: 020 89773295.