One of the biggest training mistakes people make is that they don’t take into account the possibility of injury. Instead of focusing on a program that creates a bulletproof body from head to toe, they target certain body parts at the expense of others, only strengthening the neglected muscles when they become an issue. Targeting only certain body parts, such as only training chest and rarely back, or only arms and rarely core, can create muscular weaknesses and imbalances. These imbalances may cause discomfort, pain, and instability that may lead to strains or other muscular injuries.
To avoid injury, we need to take a long-term approach to workouts, strengthening weaknesses and our bodies as a whole. Adding a few preventative exercises into our repertoire, essentially “prehabilitation,” increases mobility and functional strength to increase athletic performance and daily living activities.
Do these three exercises throughout your program to strengthen the areas that need it most and ultimately avoid training setbacks.
The shoulder is the joint with the greatest amount of mobility and therefore the most instability, so doing these two exercises before a shoulder workout will help strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff.
Lying Dumbbell External Rotation
Lie on your right side, supporting your head with your right hand. Hold a dumbbell with your left hand, keeping your left elbow bent 90 degrees. Hold dumbbell in front of stomach with left elbow at side. While keeping left elbow tight to side, rotate dumbbell upward until forearm becomes vertical. Pause. Return dumbbell to start. Do all reps then switch sides.
Band Internal Rotation
Attach a resistance band to a static object. Stand to right of object and grab band with right hand keeping elbow bent 90 degrees and close to ribs. Extend hand out in front body, keeping band taunt. Move hand to left across the body keeping elbow stationary. When you can go no further, pause, then return to start.
Lie on your stomach with hands straight overhead and simultaneously raise your hands and feet. You should be trying to touch your heels and elbows to the ceiling.
Do 2-3 sets of ten repetitions several times a week to strengthen the spine.
Resistance Band Walks
Loop a small resistance band around your ankles and bend your hips and knees so you’re in a half squat. Take a step to your left with your left leg then another step to your left with your right leg—keeping the band taut—for 15 steps. Repeat going the opposite direction to return to where you started. This helps strengthen the gluteus medius muscles, muscles that are important in maintaining stability while walking and running.