Overuseinjuries are the curse (or cancer) that eat away the life of an athlete’s career. Most overuse injuries can be prevented or rehabilitated and can be blamed on three major factors.
1. Inadequate recovery
2. Bio-mechanical irregularities
3. Muscular imbalances
Unless an accident occurs, the injuries we often see in the gym, on the court or playing field can be traced back to poor functional movement screening and successive programming.
Whether it be running, squatting, cutting, or jumping your body is easily worn down.
Joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons throughout your body are under a tremendous amount of stress though repeated movement, and it’s important to give them the occasional break. By mixing up your routine, you give the over-used parts of your body a chance to rest and the under-used a chance to strengthen and catch-up.
By cross-training you can become a healthier, more complete athlete.
Let’s take cycling, running and swimming as references.
If you “cross-train” and recover from your runs by cycling only you do not address the bio-mechanical deficiencies that will occur by repetitive movement. Running and cycling use very similar muscles at the hips. If you swim you will benefit from improved circulation due to the water BUT you are not in a vertical position which is vital for function in life. Your internal organs are stacked one on top of each other and must be trained therefor in that position.
It is estimated that body weight is compounded up to five times during the heel strike when running or jogging. Cycling is a non-impact sport but gravity is still a factor. When submerged to clavicle level in a vertical position in the water, 90% of your body-weight is unloaded.
Training in the vertical position in the water is a main principle of The BURDENKO METHOD.
One of the main features of aquatic exercise is that it allows you to exercise without the jarring and jolting experienced when training on land.
If a bio-mechanical or muscular imbalance is seen in your pedal stroke, gait, or swing… it can be addressed by performing specific corrective exercises on land and in the water.
When exercising in the water your heart rate beats at a rate of 17 beats per minute (BPM) slower than land-based workouts. The pressure of the water makes breathing more laborious and will help improve lung capacity over time. Though your breathing and heart rate may indicate that the intensity is too low, you will actually be working out harder.
Instead of weights, the water provides a natural resistance to all your movements that is four times greater than on land. The faster you go the harder it gets.
The water is also the safest way to stretch. The natural release of tight muscles due to the assistance of the water makes stretching easier and recovery is enhanced due to the improved blood circulation to working muscles.
All of this makes the water an ideal environment for sport-specific conditioning or injury.
With the weight of the body unloaded up to 90 percent movement re-education is faster and safer. Seniors as well as people dealing with (Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia and Paralysis to name a few) are most happy to experience dramatic reduction in symptoms after incorporating the Burdenko Method into their physical rehabilitation programs.
If you are without pain, you can start off with a land-based assessment but keep in mind that every action has a reaction. The water serves as a magnifying glass into initial land-based assessments and any discrepancy will be more obvious. Your job and all the activities you do, even the way you walk, contribute to tight muscles, immobile joints or structural weaknesses.
All of this can be addressed on land but will be further challenged in the water.
Despite the numerous benefits of the water, it does not help in bone strengthening to combat osteoporosis.
Therefore it is of utmost importance to combine water and land-based exercise to get the desired results.
With a flotation vest or belt in a vertical position in the deep end of the pool you can mimic the pedal stroke or running patterns. The resistance of the water will help stretch the overworked muscles, strengthen the weaker muscles which will result in improved performance. Furthermore, the deep abdominal muscles work to improve your posture so less energy is being wasted, giving you the edge in endurance sports. Your respiratory muscles will work more because of the compression from the water.
We do what we do. We do what we want to do. Of course, the immediate goal with any injury is to resume normal training as soon as possible. But if you can’t resume normal training right away, your best option is to adopt a modified training program that allows you to maintain sport-specific fitness without exacerbating your injury or prolonging the recovery process.
The pool is a great tool.