Thursday, January 17, 2013

Movement Prep

Since I can remember I have always been active in one way or another. I played sports growing up and was lucky enough to play college soccer. I was a goalkeeper and although I had injuries here and there, I was never put on the injured reserve list. I was young and thankfully bounced back from injuries relatively quickly.

Fast forward to today....and although I have always maintained an active lifestyle and a decent level of fitness, I do not bounce back from injury like I used to. That and my injuries are so different now than when I was 20. Back then I would get kicked and end up with a huge contusion. Today, I get tendonitis and arthritic pain. What I wouldn't give to trade my arthritic ankle pain for a bruised muscle or brush burn. At least I knew that those bruises and scrapes, although ugly, didn't stop me from doing what I wanted to do.

Why am I talking about injury? What is Movement Prep? No, I am not injured, not right now anyway, but well, I am not getting any younger. It's been 15 years since I donned a soccer uniform and stepped into the goal. I don't play soccer anymore, I run and runners are prone to overuse injuries; tendonitis, stress fractures, PFS, plantar fasciitis, and the list goes on. In the past year I had to deal with a nasty case of ITB friction syndrome. It sucked. It kept me from training the way I wanted, which prevented me from performing the way I wanted. Not being able to run left me feeling depressed and stressed out. I hated it. Now that I am healthy and back to training for a half marathon, I am taking a proactive approach to my health, this is where Movement Prep comes into play.

Back when I was playing soccer our warm up generally consigned of a light jog around the field and some static stretching, you know, bend over, touch your toes and hold, that sort of thing. Before games we did more of a dynamic warm-up that involved us moving across the field while doing butt kicks, lunges with a reach, tin soldiers, etc...that is a dynamic warm-up and although I didn't known it then, this dynamic warm-up is key to injury prevention. Today, many strength coaches, exercise physiologists, and trainers will refer to this as Movement Preparation or simply Movement Prep.

Core Performance gives an accurate description of what movement prep is and have short videos on how to perform each movement. They describe MP as..."It involves going through a series of dynamic movements that increase your core temperature, prepare your nervous system for activity, and activate key muscles that you'll use in your training session. The word "warm-up" doesn't really cover it. That's why we call it "movement preparation," or "movement prep." More than getting warm, movement prep decreases your injury potential and improves your training. And it only takes about 5 to 7 minutes."

You can access a whole routine of MP here on the Core Performance website.

I used to tie my running shoes, wait for my Garmin to load and then start running. Not anymore. I can't afford to not incorporate MP into my routine. I have been doing it before I workout and/or run for about 2 weeks. It probably takes me less than 5 minutes. I can feel the difference it makes immediately. Yesterday I had a sore and tight hamstring and an achy Achilles, as I went down the list of MP exercises I could feel my muscles warm and release. I was able to complete my speed work with no concern about either.

My goal is to get more fluid with the routine and start every workout with these MP exercises. I'm hoping that with the addition of MP to my training routine, among some other changes I have made for a more well rounded plan, I will stay off the injured list and complete my goal of running injury free. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

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