Tight neck & shoulders? Aching lower back? Do you sit for hours a day? Do you play a sport or train regularly? Read on…prehab may be just what the doctor ordered…

What is it?

KP1_38782Prehab is a customised and ever-evolving exercise program designed to match your lifestyle, physical condition and goals for change and/or maintenance. It provides body-specific focused exercises and activities to best suit an individuals needs.

Used to keep high-level athletes in optimum physical condition for decades, incorporating prehab into your training regime is just as important for those of low to moderate fitness levels, if not more so. The philosophy is essentially to prevent injuries and to keep you fit to train and fit to sit! The development of postural issues, specific muscle weakness/tightness and pressure on joints is exacerbated by day-to-day life. Prolonged working hours, sitting (car, plane, desk, sofa), poor ergonomics in our work environment, stress and recreational sports/exercise can all play a role in causing a multitude of imbalances. Injuries often occur as a result of many years of repetitive strain. You’ll often hear someone say they bent down to tie a shoe lace and ‘put their back out’. The shoe lace is not the cause – it was likely the 10 years of sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day leading up to this event.

The development and execution of an effective program can be complex. The practice of prehab and its success relies greatly on an individuals ability to commit to prevention. The development of the program needs to be progressive and regularly re-evaluated to tweak and change with the individuals needs.

Who Needs it?

Individuals of all ages and fitness levels can gain great benefits from incorporating prehab into their weekly regime. The more stress your body is under, the greater the need for prehab. Too often repetitive actions and everyday stresses can have a negative effect on our body. Incomplete and limited training techniques may cause tightness in certain muscle groups, imbalances in strength, coordination and/or muscle stabilisation. It’s difficult to avoid such imbalances as they occur with most activities and are constantly reinforced. This repetition is at the core of many injuries and may predispose an individual to a greater risk of injury and joint degeneration. This is where a specific prehab program comes in.

What’s involved?

A customised prehab program takes into consideration any existing imbalances, lifestyle, posture, weaknesses and strengths. It balances and optimises your range of movement, strength, coordination and stabilisation. In designing your prehab program, your trainer will compare left to right, front to back and upper to lower. Exercises and mobility training are focused on correcting weaknesses and vulnerabilities, primarily stabilisation of the hips/glutes, and the core. This may require a combination of Clinical Pilates, specialised Personal Training and consultation with an Exercise Physiologist. Tools such as a foam roller, balance boards, Pilates Reformers and weighted balls are invaluable in such a program. A Nutritionist may also be enlisted to complete the Prehab program. It’s important to ensure your movement is not being impaired by carrying excess body fat and/or excessive inflammation, plus there needs to be focus on optimum nutrition to allow efficient muscle recovery.

Prehab programs can be as simple as adding a few exercises in a warm up or cool down or as complex as a dedicated workout focussed on correcting weaknesses.

Who can help me?

Individuals should be screened for imbalances, measuring active range of motion and strength, biomechanical observations, past medical history, overall lifestyle, goals and present health status. Such screenings can be initiated and monitored by a Certified Exercise Physiologist.

For further information, please contact Aston Fitness – or +61 3 9827 8671

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