man wearing black foam rolling

Most people have a reactive approach toward injuries. They train, get injured, and look for ways to recover.

As with most things in life, having a proactive approach is much better because it saves us aches, time off training, and all the adverse psychological effects of an injury.

The best way to be proactive about your gym longevity is to include more prehab activities in your training. Let’s see what that means.

The Problem With Common Training Approaches
Many trainees feel indestructible because they can run for ten kilometres or bench press 140 kilograms for a few reps. While beneficial and noteworthy, these feats of athleticism alone aren’t always enough.

The problem is, we all specialise in a particular training style. We enjoy it, so we do it often and get good at it. But, we get injured when we face a new type of stress. Why? Because we’ve trained ourselves to handle a specific kind of stress under particular circumstances.

For example, powerlifters are strong and capable. But they only teach their body how to be strong in a given movement pattern and with a specific range of motion. Give that powerlifter a new type of stress (such as playing sports) or have them train in a slightly different range of motion, and the risk of injury skyrockets.

So, what is the solution to this issue?

Prehab: The Missing Element In Many People’s Programs
Prehab, also known as prehabilitation, is a term that describes any activities you do to reduce your risk of injuries. Every training program includes some prehab activities, so the question isn’t, “How do I start doing prehab?” but rather, “How can I include more prehab work into my training?”

For example, warming up before a workout is a form of prehab training. You prepare your muscles, joints, and connective tissues, allowing them to handle training stress safely. Warming up also prepares your mind and helps you get in the groove, both of which are essential for safe and effective training. Resistance bands are a fantastic tool for effective warm-up sequences.

You can look at prehab work as a preventive measure. You might not get injured without dedicated prehab training, but the risk will certainly be higher.

How to Introduce More Prehab Work Into Your Training

1. Work on Stability
Just as we can’t build a house on a sand foundation, we can’t get strong if we lack stability. Doing unilateral training (working one side at a time) and strengthening our core muscles are two excellent tactics for improving our stability on compound lifts like the squat, overhead press, deadlift, and more.

Fantastic core exercises include:

  • Plank
  • Hip thrust
  • Dead bug
  • Bird dog
  • Side plank with rotation
2. Fix Your Technique

Using proper form, especially on compound movements, will always be your best prehab tactic. Working with a coach is one way to fix your form.

Alternatively, you can film some of your training sets from various angles to see what might need improvement. We often don’t realize our mistakes, but looking at ourselves from the side can open our eyes to various errors.

3. Do Self-Myofascial Release
Self-myofascial release (such as with a trigger ball) is a fantastic way to warm up before training, improve circulation, and improve your mobility. You can also do self-myofascial release on your rest days as a form of active recovery. Five to ten minutes are often enough to improve blood flow and boost mobility.

November 15, 2021 — Daniel Felstein

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