INJURY PREVENTION EXERCISES
Strength training has been shown to decrease the risk of overuse injuries by up to 50%! I find that most runners know that they should be doing it, but that very few follow a regular programme. Some feel that they don’t have the time while others don’t know where to start or how to progress the exercises.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the strength you need. If you choose your exercises wisely, you can work all the relevant muscle groups in less than 30 minutes! Check out the All-In-One section for time-saving exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time.
The more advanced exercises all have “Before you start” sections where I list what you should be able to do BEFORE you attempt those exercises. I also provide you with guidelines that you can use to decide when you’re ready to move on to the next level.
Position sense or proprioception is exactly what the name suggests. It refers to how good your brain is at sensing where every part of your body is and at what angles/speed it’s moving. Your brain then uses this information to calculate with how much force it should contract your muscles or how long they should allow them to lengthen.
A good example of what happens when the brain gets it wrong, is when you step down from a step that is higher than what you expected it to be and stumble.
The research has shown that people who score low on position sense tests in their trunks and legs may be more likely to sustain a wide variety of lower limb injuries of the joints and muscles.
The explanation for this is quite simple. If the brain does not know exactly where your body parts are, it cannot produce well-coordinated movements. This means that you can easily overload specific joints, ligaments and muscles, which can lead to strains and tears.
For runners, position sense in their legs and trunks is the most important and this can easily be retrained through balance exercises.