The truth about prehab, and why you need it
‘Prehab’ has become a trend among fitness enthusiasts, but far from being a fad, ‘prehabilitation’ is an invaluable stage in any fitness or sport regimen. Find out how it can prevent injury, enhance fitness progress and results and ensure that your summer fitness kick is sustainable for the long term.
The annual pressure to ‘get in shape’ for summer results in ubiquitous ‘health kicks’, ‘fitness sprees’ and 12-week programs. Unfortunately, this sudden activity vastly increases injury risk. Whether you’ve returned to regular exercise after a sedentary winter, stepped up training frequency or intensity, started a summer sport or are embarking on a fitness regimen for the first time, you need to make sure your body’s up to the task (the last thing you want is to be laid up while everyone’s playing beach cricket).
The most common paths to injury are going too hard, too fast, incorrectly performing exercises and performing advanced exercises or sporting movements without first building up requisite strength and fitness. Most injuries result from overuse and muscle imbalances, which can be prevented by what’s colloquially termed ‘prehab’.
As the name suggests, ‘prehab’ or prehabilitation is the opposite of rehabilitation, or working to remedy injuries after the fact. In short, it’s a preventative protocol and investment in your long-term fitness and freedom of movement. Initially, prehab commonly focuses on whole-body stability and mobility focused-movements (think those targeting feet, ankles, hips, thoracic spine, chest and shoulders). These may be Incorporated into a dynamic warm-up [link to other blog post]. Foam rolling before a warm-up can also help to prepare the body for exercise.
Once primary prehab has instilled sufficient joint and postural integrity, prehab may advance to movement-based training around the five primary movement patterns. This may include exercises such as squats (bend and lift movement pattern), push-ups (pushing movement), woodchops (rotational movement) and lunges (single-leg movement).
If you’re not confident gauging your body’s readiness for prehab exercise, a Soaring Health Thomastown physiotherapist or Craigieburn physiotherapist can help you to achieve your summer fitness goals pain and injury free.