Why Prehab Could Be Answer to Your Sports Injuries
According to the Sports Index 2015 from Sports Singapore, over 70% of Singaporeans participated in any sports or recreational physical activity in the past year3. As with any involvement with sports, there is also a tendency for injuries to occur. We all know that “Prevention is better than cure” but how do we prevent injuries? The answer to it lies in prehab.
What is Prehab?
Prehab, or prehabilitation simply means preventing injury in a proactive way. Prehab does not start when your sporting season begins but begins during the early pre-season.
What does Prehab Involve?
Pre-season training should encompass sports specific elements like strength training, regular stretching exercises and most importantly, sports specific drills. The demand for each sport is different so assessing your sport capability is essential. Each individual is different, thus each prehab program also should be individually tailored.
A study1 was carried out to observe the effects of a 10 week eccentric overload training on lower-limb muscle injury prevention and performance in young elite soccer players. The results showed a reduction in muscle-injury incidence and severity. It also showed improvements in common soccer tasks such as jumping ability and linear-sprinting speed among players.
Furthermore, a six-year prospective study2 on a professional basketball team by Riva, D et al. found that proprioceptive training programs led to improvements in proprioceptive control in single stance which could be a key factor for an effective reduction in ankle sprains, knee sprains, and low back pain.
Your tailored program should be designed by a physiotherapist or sports trainer who has a good understanding of your sport and must have carried out a detailed assessment of your physique to determine what needs to be done. The tailored prehab program should also target your weak and tight muscles and also to familiarize you with the demands of the sport. The improved strength will enable your body to withstand impact, and with an increased flexibility, the possibility of ligament strain would decrease.
Sports specific drills are the most important part of your prehab as it trains your body to anticipate any possible danger that might happen. The mechanism of anticipation is known as feedforward mechanism and is the best way to prevent injuries.
How Long Should Prehab Be?
There is no specific time frame for prehab as it should be an ongoing part of your training, from pre-season to regular season. Your prehab regime will have to be regularly reviewed and modified from time to time as your strength, flexibility and feedforward ability improves.
If you wish to have an injury free season, prehab should be an essential part of your pre-season preparation.
de Hoyo, M., Pozzo, M., Sañudo, B., Carrasco, L., Gonzalo-Skok, O., Domínguez-Cobo, S., & Morán-Camacho, E. (2015). Effects of a 10-week in-season eccentric-overload training program on muscle-injury prevention and performance in junior elite soccer players. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 10(1), 46-52.
Riva, D., Bianchi, R., Rocca, F., & Mamo, C. (2016). Proprioceptive training and injury prevention in a professional men’s basketball team: a six-year prospective study. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 30(2), 461.
Sports Singapore (2016) Sports Index Participation Trends 2015