To Your Health
October, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 10)
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The Value of Sport-Specific Training

Resistance training can fortify muscles and make them less susceptible to injury, especially if the strength-building exercises involve movements that are similar to those used in the performance of the sport. As L.T. says, "Football is a movement game. You don't lie down, like you're on a bench press, and tackle somebody; skill players want to be quick, so you don't need to do a lot of heavy lifting, not all the time."

For example, if you are a thrower, then lots of time should be spent developing muscles at the front of the shoulder that increases the force with which you can throw, but you must also work systematically on the muscles at the back of the shoulder which control and stabilize the shoulder joint.

By following these simple recommendations, you can live an active life and enjoy the sports and other activities that make you feel great. That's what keeps LaDainian Tomlinson going strong, and that's what can keep you doing the same thing when you're working out, playing your favorite sport or just playing with the kids. To learn more about ways to stay in shape and avoid injury, talk to your doctor.

Injury Prevention Tips

  • Avoid training when you are tired; you should be strong and ready to exercise.
  • Increase your consumption of carbohydrates during periods of heavy training.
  • Match increases in training with increases in resting. (Rest is how the body regenerates.)
  • Precede any increase in training load with an increase in strengthening.
  • Treat even seemingly minor injuries very carefully to prevent them from becoming a big problem.
  • If you experience pain when training, stop your training session immediately.
  • Never train hard if you are stiff from the previous effort.
  • Pay attention to hydration and nutrition (water before exercise, electrolyte drink during exercise and water after exercise).
  • Use appropriate training surfaces.
  • Check that training and competition areas are clear of hazards.
  • Check that equipment is appropriate and safe to use.
  • Introduce new activities gradually and make sure you are clear on how to perform them safely.
  • Allow lots of time for warming up before your workout/activity and cooling off after your workout/activity.
  • Review training and competition courses beforehand.
  • Train on different surfaces, using the right footwear.
  • Shower and change immediately after the cool-down (after exercise).
  • Stay away from infectious areas when training or competing very hard.
  • Be extremely fussy about hygiene, particularly in hot weather.
  • Monitor daily for signs of fatigue; if in doubt, ease off your workouts for a day or two.
  • Get regular massages to keep muscles loose and blood circulating properly.

Alex Guerrero is a sports therapist who works with many professional and world-class athletes. He specializes in sports injury, rehabilitation, performance enhancement and nutrition.