Wednesday, 4 December 2019

I Dare You to Care this December....about yourself!

With Christmas fast approaching one cannot help but notice an increase in people and vehicular traffic out on the streets.  Stress levels increase as people frantically search for the perfect gift and struggle to fit in Christmas plays, Christmas fairs and Christmas parties into their already busy lives.

Christmas is a time of giving and caring not just about others but ourselves.  What good are we to our loved ones if we are tired, tetchy and irritable.  We need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of those close to us.  So that is why I am daring you to take care of yourself this December!  Relieve some stress and tension and revitalise yourself with a Sports Massage.

Treat yourself to an hour Sports Massage with me at About Backs and Bones in Derby, bring a copy of this post along, and receive a Gift Voucher for a 30 minute Sports Massage with me at the same clinic to be used during January or February 2020 by either yourself or a friend.

Call me direct on 07887 744819 or the About Backs and Bones on 01332 553332 and ask for an appointment with Nina.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Unravelling the types of muscular contraction.

When a muscle contracts it generates a force.
In injury prevention we typically begin with isometric contractions; but what are they?

  • Isometric contractions generate force without changing the length of the muscle.  (a)  An example is when the muscles of the hand and forearm grip an object; the joints of the hand do not move, but muscles generate sufficient force to prevent the object from being dropped.

  • Isotonic contractions generate force by changing the length of the muscle and can be concentric contractions or eccentric contractions.  (b and c)

b) Concentric contractions cause muscles to shorten, thereby generating force and changing the angle of the joint. For instance, a concentric contraction of the biceps would cause the arm to bend at the elbow as the hand moves from near to the leg to close to the shoulder (a biceps curl)

c) Eccentric contractions cause muscles to elongate in response to a greater opposing force. Rather than working to pull a joint in the direction of the muscle contraction, the muscle acts to decelerate the joint at the end of a movement or otherwise control the re-positioning of a load.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Preventing Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are a common problem for the non-sportsperson and sportsperson alike but can be prevented by maintaining correct form when lifting and carrying out daily tasks or athletic exercises and ensuring strong musculature through the legs and core.

I believe that the advice given below is sound for prevention of all types of knee injury prevention programmes and even rehabilitation after injury. Of course everything below is just some examples and you should seek professional advice to tailor it specifically to your needs!

Further into this article we will be focusing on the anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury of the knee as it is most commonly injured in sports where participants land from a jump, suddenly stop, change directions or pivot in sports like football, basketball, hockey, rugby, or skiing. (Brukner and Kahn, 2012).

So where do you start?

Strength Training
It is important to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee such as the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves as well as important functional muscles like the core stabilisers and
I tend to start people off with isometic (static) or small range muscle activation exercises focused around the simple squat and lunge and calf raise and lower for around the knee joint.  For the core and glutes we can go right back to basics with pelvic tilts, bridges and clams before progressing to more commonly known plank variations or stability ball exercises.

Practising Proper Stepping, Jumping, Landing and Multi-directional Movement Technique
This should be specific to the lifestyle and sport that the person undertakes.
As with the strength training exercises; movements should be executed with the correct biomechanics. When landing, the knee should follow the toes, ideally remaining in a straight line above the middle toe or slightly pointed outwards towards the little toe. The knees should never travel inwards towards each other as this puts stress through the ACL (valgus stress). The athlete should have a slight bend in the knee’s and the hips when landing and try to land in a controlled manner with more weight placed through the forefoot rather than the heel (Voskanian, 2013).

Plyometric training
Plyometric training involves high intensity agility drills which work to improve footwork by developing power and speed. This can involve agility drills like quick sprints, stops and starts, cutting, lateral movements and jumping, ladder drills or even dance mat work. These activities should mimic the quick motor responses that an athlete would perform in a game situation (Voskanian, 2013). 

When Should I Start And How Often Do I Need To Perform The Exercises?
For general conditioning a 15-30 minute training session between 1 (minimum) and 3 (optimal) times a week is effective. 
For the athlete Voskanian 2013 as found that an ACL prevention program would be most effective in preventing injury if it is initiated 6 weeks prior to engaging in high-intensity sporting activity. Sessions should be 3 times a week and the program should be completed through the competitive season and can be used as a warm up prior to engaging in sporting activity.

As a Coach...Where Can I Find ACL Prevention Programmes?
The FIFA 11+ injury prevention program already has a proven track record in reducing knee injuries in youth and adult footballers. You can find the whole programme here