The Fundamentals of Injury Prevention

The first step to preventing injuries is to understand what causes them. Your body is a well oiled machine that requires all parts to work together at the right time in order to move efficiently and safely. 

First, you must have the necessary RANGE OF MOTION available at all joints involved to perform the movement correctly. For example, in order to perform a common body weight squat, you must have enough mobility in your ankles, knees, hips, and spine. Stiffness in one joint can result in compensatory stress and potential injury to the surrounding joints. For instance, lack of mobility at the ankle or the hip are common causes of many knee injuries because the knee is located in between both joints. On the flip side, too much mobility leads to instability - which brings us to the next two components of the body system.

Second, you must have the muscle STRENGTH to execute the movement. In terms of our squat example - your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves (among other muscles) must all do their part to support the skeletal system and move the joints. Weakness in one area can result in compensatory overuse of another muscle group, or overload to the passive structures like the bone, cartilage, or ligaments.

The third component of the body system is MOVEMENT COORDINATION - or your body’s ability to control motion and use the right muscles at the right time to perform the movement efficiently and safely.  Much like an orchestra, you may have all the pieces to play a beautiful symphony, but the music won’t sound good if the conductor is off. Instead of a conductor, your body has a system in place called PROPRIOCEPTION which is essentially a feedback mechanism in your muscles and joints that tells your body where it is in space. You can train this system by working on performing each movement correctly so that your muscles and joints learn how to move in a stable way within the available range of motion. 

Finally, your body needs time to RECOVER in between training sessions. Even if your mechanics are perfect, the tissues need time to regenerate and there is no substitute for adequate rest.

Now that you understand the framework of the body system and the fundamentals of injury prevention - lets get started!