5 Injury Prevention Exercises to Build Bulletproof Athletes

***This is an article I published for BreakingMuscle.com, a fitness and strength website for athletes and coaches alike. 

READ THE FULL COACHING ARTICLE HERE, on My BreakingMuscle.com Author Page

 

As strength coaches, the athlete’s health should be our top priority. The role of a strength coach is to prepare athletes to play their sport and compete through strength and conditioning programs that are developed to elevate their athleticism.

 

More importantly, our job is to help reduce injury both on and off the field. New York University Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Assistant Athletic Trainer, Joe Mosher M.Ed, ATC, CSCS, USAW, feels that:

We have a duty to our athletes to provide them with a program that not only helps enhance their athleticism but also, and maybe more importantly, provides them with a higher level of injury resilience then they had before. I base everything off the idea that if my athletes are healthy and can compete, then they have at least some chance at winning, regardless of who we play. If they are injured and cannot compete then they have zero chance at winning. Even a 1 percent chance of winning is still better than a 0 percent chance at winning.
— Joe Mosher, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University

5 Injury Prevention Exercises for Bulletproof Athletes

 

#1: Eccentric Hamstring Slides

What: Hamstring eccentric strength and posterior chain engagement.

 

Why: Whether you are an athlete, runner, or fitness fanatic, your hamstring health plays a pivotal role in performance. The hamstrings are a critical component of force development for jumping, running, pulling, Olympic weightlifting, and strength training.

 

Additionally, the hamstrings work to decelerate and absorb muscular force throughout the landing phases of the running/gait cycle and help to stabilize the knees and hips during open chained activity. Without proper hamstring health in both the concentric and eccentric phases of muscle actions, you could be leaving your athletes and clients open to nagging injuries, such as muscle pulls and strains and loss of training development.

 

How: Perform these exercises either in the corrective or accessory segment of the workout. The key to doing these is to have controlled lengthening (eccentric) of the muscle, keeping tension and full ROM throughout the movement. Try adding these into your training regimen twice per week, for 2-4 sets of 10-20 controlled (2-3 second eccentric) reps.

 

#2: 90/90 Breathing

What: This diaphragmatic breathing technique from the Postural Restoration Institute is great for teaching athletes and clients correct breathing and bracing during lifts and in life. Poor breathing techniques can create stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders, pectoral muscles, lumbar, and anterior hip. This stiffness, combined with intense exercise, can lead to serious injury if left unnoticed.

 

Why: The ability to brace and breathe through the diaphragm and abdominals is key to more stability and joint function in the hips, shoulders, and spine. By teaching athletes how to breathe under both non-stressful and stressful situations, you can improve performance and decrease the likelihood of injury during running, contact sports, overextended and rotational movements, and life.

 

How: Perform these exercises in the warm-up routine prior to resistance training. This exercise is a great way to mentally prepare athletes and clients to become more in tune with their breathing. More importantly, it gives them the core stabilization they need to perform optimally and safely.

 

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