How To Injury-Proof Your Joints: Knees & Shoulders
Team Grenade's ambassador and Exercise Specialist, Adam Whatley takes a look into how you can 'injury proof' and look after your joints to help with the prevention of injury. Part two of this article specifically looks at your knees and shoulders. If you missed part one, looking at your spine and lower back, you can go back and read it here.
Prehab For The Knee
The second most common complaint is the knee because so much force passes through. The hip and the knee are both to be considered during 'prehab', due to the closely linked function they both have. Therefore, knee rehab will focus mainly on hip strength, hamstring and glute strength, as it's these areas that stabilise the knee. I often see knee complaints and dysfunction regularly brought on by huge imbalances in the leg muscles, which in turn leads to poor biomechanics. Here, I will focus on some simple exercises to combat this.
Knee Prehab Focuses On:
• Knee Stability and Control
• Dynamic Stability
• Functional Strength
Prehab Exercises For Glutes (Improve Knee Stability)
Exercise (1) - Standing Hold On The Bosu
Standing on a Bosu Ball with a single leg, gently soften your knee and work on stability holds. Aim for 30 second holds on each leg.
Prehab Exercises for Hamstrings and Quads (Improve Knee Strength)
Exercise (1) - Side Lying Abduction
Laying on your side with your legs straight, slowly raise your leg, lifting towards the ceiling with your toe facing forward and your heel coming up first. Slightly rotate hips forward working the muscles of the side of your hip. Repeat this exercise for 12 repetitions.
Exercise (2) - Single Leg Deadlift
Stand on a single leg with a dumbbell held in the opposite hand. Slowly bend your knee and lower your dumbbell towards the floor, in front of your foot. Remember to keep your chin and chest up during this exercise so that you keep your back straight (note: push and drive up using your heel and try not to put weight onto your toes) Complete 10 repetitions, twice.
Exercise (3) - Lateral Jumps
Perform a sideward hop, controlling your landing onto the opposite leg. The opposite hand should come forward towards the standing leg upon landing. Perform this exercise 20 times (10 repetitions to each side). Repeat twice.
Exercise (4) - Lateral Band Walking Forward
Place a resistance band 3 inches above your knee. Open your knees until resistance is felt at the side of your hip. Then perform a forward walk, over accentuating your side step. Complete five steps forward and five steps backwards. Perform this three times.
Exercise (5) - Single Leg Bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90°. With one leg straight, slowly lift your hips off the mat. Perform 10 repetitions, twice.
Prehab Exercises for Knees
Exercise (1) - 4-Point Hops
Hop approximately 30cm and control your holds. Forward, right, backwards, left, then repeat. Perform 10 repetitions, twice.
Exercise (2) - Single Leg Squat On Bosu
Perform a slow single leg squat, standing in the middle of a Bosu Ball, so that it is flat on the ground. Control your movements. Perform 10 repetitions, twice.
Prehab For The Rotator Cuff
The shoulder joint is heavily reliant on being highly mobile, and it is therefore the job of the rotator cuff to keep this mobile joint stable. The rotator cuff is a specialised group of 4 muscles that often become irritated from repetitive actions. I see over and over again how athletes and individuals neglect these important muscles - 1) because they are not the ’t-shirt’ muscles or 2) because people simply don't know they exist. However, individuals who are seriously into their sport or exercises will understand the importance of the cuff, not just for injury prevention but also in sporting performance.
Shoulder (rotator cuff) Prehab Focuses On:
• Postural control
• Dynamic Stability
• Functional Strength
Prehab Exercises For The Rotator Cuff
Exercise (1) - Lateral Rotation On Cable Machine
With the elbow bent at 90° and kept tight into your side, slowly rotate your arm to the side and perform for 12 repetitions, repeating 3 times.
Exercise (2) - Prone Scapular Stabilisation Exercise
Control the shoulder blade and perform the arm movements as shown in the images below for 12 slow repetitions.
Exercise (3) - Bosu Press Up
Slowly lower down towards the flat surface of the Bosu Ball, then push back up. Complete this exercise for 15 repetitions, three times.
Integrating Prehab Into Your Routine
Prehab can easily be fitted into your standard training routine by:
• Adding prehab exercises into your warm-up
• Completing exercises before each major exercise or super-set
• As part of your cool down
Choose the rehab exercises relevant to the exercise or sport of your choice. For example: a football player would want a specific focus on knee prehab, a roofer would concentrate on lower back prehab, or a recreational basketball player would benefit from shoulder prehab. If it is just exercise you are interested in, then you should focus on rotating these exercises within your training routine.
Keep Working on Progression...
Everyone has a threshold for physical activities. Going above the threshold when you are de-conditioned can often result in injury. However, you can push that threshold higher with strategic strength and conditioning, which helps increase your body's tolerance to stress, and its ability to recover and heal. That's what the approach to prehab should consist of: progressive and structured increase of resiliency.
Stay tuned for more blogs from Adam to see further information and advice on posture, performance and injury prevention. You can read more articles from Team Grenade Ambassador Adam Whatley over on his blog.
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