For my third and final post on injury causes and prevention, I wanted to take a step back and look at the most basic reason we see injury. Often the most common injuries come from a lack of basic strength and body awareness. Especially with the more recent exposure to the Olympic lifts because of Crossfit, we are seeing more and more people pick up the barbell without first having some necessary body awareness and strength to support them.
One of the simplest principles in developing athleticism is a basic need for general physical preparedness. This is why the Russians had their young athletes spending 50%-70% of their workout time developing agility, balance, and coordination. This is the same reason why the Polish, even at elite levels, had their lifters playing sports on their off days. A basic body awareness and foundational GPP creates a base from which to build an athlete. Injury often comes when athletes with little or no background in athletics jumps into a gym and immediately wants to max their deadlift or push the envelope too fast. They have no strength or preparedness to support the load!
One of the easiest ways to prevent injury is to limit the program for a beginner in order to develop their basic fitness. If your athlete can’t do 10 pushups in a row they certainly shouldn’t be trying to snatch heavy or trying to do a muscleup! Put beginners on limited movements as they develop. Force a new athlete to do speed ladder drills, jump rope, complete basic bodyweight movements (pushups, situps, etc) before they are ever allowed to try complex movements. If you are working individually with an athlete, basic body awareness has to be developed. If you are programming or coaching for a gym keep this truth in mind to create healthy clients not injured clients.
The best program with the most elite coach will mean very little if your athlete can’t run in a straight line. Basic GGP must be developed in order to prevent injury. Trying to push the envelope on this timeline is tempting because we want to see our athletes perform well and we want them to do it as quickly as possible. However, negating basic fitness in order to speed up an athlete’s development will actually slow their progress with the onset of injury.
Patience and basic skill development is as crucial as good coaching and smart programming. Be patient to reap the rewards later.
Made it to San Antonio for regionals. Headphones on, hoods up…