Most of you know me as a personal trainer but during my more than 10 years of training, I have had many clients come to me immediately after an injury after their physical therapy has been discontinued. They need help to return to pre-injury strength, and unfortunately physical therapy can end with no bridge between physical therapy and sport strengthening exercises. So what is the best approach to bridging the gap? Here are some tips on strengthening to pre-injury strength without risking re-injury.
Bilateral exercises force the stronger side to work harder to protect the weaker side, creating a muscle imbalance.
Weak Side Rule
The injured side being weaker, should dictate the amount of weight reps etc. Complete your first set on the injured side and then perform the same exercise on the other side even if it feels easy.
Emphasize the Eccentric Phase of the Exercise
The eccentric phase of the exercise not only yields the biggest gains but also focuses on building up strength in the tendons and ligaments.
Emphasize Compound Body Weight Exercises
Isolation exercises will help strengthen a specific area but the body also needs to learn how to coordinate that area with surrounding muscles. Compound body weight movements teach the body how to move using all the muscles.
Micro progressions are necessary to prevent re-injury. The biggest mistake made is progressing to quickly resulting in a re-injury. Just because it feels good doesn’t mean you should force it into pre-injury exercises just yet.