Injury rehab tips from James Wilson

Most of us eventually contend with sidelining injuries, and it is currently my turn. Here is my summary of James Wilson’s article, Injury Rehab Strategies. It contains some excellent tips for rehab as well as general training. Read on:

All injuries create a gap. Whether you suffer a full-on surgery and extended rehab or just need to take a long break, all injuries leave a gap between what you can do and what you must do to truly and safely rip.

Studies show that a well thought-out strength and conditioning plan will bring you back faster and reduce your chances of re-injury. If you go out there and randomly ride and lift, or just go back to your regular routine, you’re asking for an extended remix of weakness and possible long-term problems.

Here are some excellent general workout tips.

Train unilaterally. Bilateral exercises such as bench press and squats allow your strong side to protect the weaker side. Not only does the weak side stay weak, but your imbalance becomes even greater over time. You’ll never regain your full king fu, and you’re asking for other problems. — which leads to other problems.

Unilateral lower body exercises:

– split squats

– step ups

– lunges

Unilateral upper body exercises:

With one arm at a time …

– dumbbell bench press

– pullovers

– rows

– shoulder press

Follow the weak side rule. Always work your weak side first. Let it determine your weight and reps, then do the same work on your strong side. This is the only way to restore balance. (I’ve been doing this for about a year, and it makes great sense.)

Emphasize the eccentric. Studies show that the eccentric, or lowering, portion of an exercise 1) creates some of the biggest strength gains, and 2) is effective in strengthening tendons and ligaments. Since most injuries involve tendons and ligaments, it makes sense to train in a way that helps them recover with minimal risk of injury.

Here are two ways to emphasize the eccentric:

1) Slow down the “down” phase. Instead of dropping the weight, lower it on a count of 3-5, maintaining muscular tension the whole way.

2) The 2:1 technique. Raise a weight with two limbs, then lower it with one. Squat example: Set a bench behind you, lower yourself with one leg than stand back up with both legs.

Train movements, not muscles. Machines and isolation movements (like biceps curls) can help return strength to specific areas, but to braaap you need coordinated strength, where all of your body parts work well together. Push with your lower body, pull with your upper body, lift with your entire body, etc. The more joints a movement requires, the better.

Build confidence. Knowing you’re rehabbing in a systematic, safe and effective way will help you perform rather than worry about your injury. The fitter and more confident you are, the more fun you have. And that’s what it’s all about.

Read James’ full article:

Unilateral braaap!!!

— Lee