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Evidence based sports injury prevention exercises

Are you a sportsperson who is constantly getting injured? From your hip to knee, ankle to calf, its always something. Does this sound familiar?

Well fear not, there are strategies that you can put in place today that will significantly reduce your risk of injury during your sporting season.

There are many different exercises that can reduce your risk. However, your time is valuable and you want efficiency in terms of exercise effectiveness. The following are the first in a series of evidence based exercises that you should  implement before and during your season which will significantly reduce your risk of injury.

These exercises will target the most common sports injuries and highlight recent research techniques based on injury prevention so that you can have the same advantages as the top athletes in your chosen sport.

The first injury that we will target is the notorious hamstring tear. This injury is one of the most common acute injuries sustained during sport. A study by Ekstrand et al (2016) in which hamstring injuries were recorded in 36 football clubs from 12 European countries between 2001 and 2014 found that 22% of players sustained at least one hamstring injury during a season. The study also found that despite extensive injury prevention research, total hamstring injuries are increasing by 2.3%, which was more pronounced for training injuries which increased by 4% per year.

If not conditioned appropriately, the hamstring itself will not be able to accommodate the stress you place on it during activity. The hamstring being the powerful muscle it is can cause other injuries when not functioning properly. Such injuries include calf tears, lower back and hip injuries.

To prevent this injury, we recommend the Nordic hamstring curl. This exercise focuses on eccentric (lengthened range) strengthening of the hamstring which is when the muscle is at its most vulnerable, and more likely to tear or strain. This exercise will be the first of the Evidence Based Injury Prevention Program which should be performed by all high intensity athletes.

The Nordic hamstring curl has significant research supporting its use. A study by Petersen et al (2011) found that a 10 week preseason and weekly seasonal program consisting of this exercise alone, reduced total hamstring injuries by approximately 72%. This is a major reduction in injury rates resulting from only one exercise. Do not wait until you are injured to do something about your conditioning. Improve your performance, run faster and change direction rapidly with supreme control by implementing this exercise.

Step 1: Get on your knees and have a partner and apply pressure down on the back of your ankles

Step 2: Contract your hamstrings to lower yourself to the ground as slow as possible. Your partner should place enough pressure on the back of your ankles so that your feet do not come up off the ground.

Step 3: Use your hands to push yourself back to the starting position and repeat for 3 sets of 8 repetitions.

Try this exercise at the gym, training or even at home to assess your own hamstring conditioning. If you are having issues with it or it is just simply too difficult, a thorough assessment will depict other areas holding you back allowing our team to provide you with a starting point that is more appropriate for you.

Stay tuned for more exercises that will be a part of the Evidence Based Injury Prevention Program designed to keep you performing at your best with a low risk of injury.