Injuries are the bane of many athletes lives.
Most people who go to the gym or take part in sport have been injured doing so at some point in their life. There are countless reasons for an injury. The cost to fix/recover physically, mentally and financially from and injury can be very significant.
I feel it is wise to monitor your body constantly and assess any areas which appear to be carrying tension, not functioning correctly, or that maybe causing another body part to be working inefficiently.
Gone are the days, in the world of high performance, where an athlete comes to training runs around does 10 press ups, 10 sit ups and is ready to rumble. The body is a machine which needs to be maintained, and i believe the higher performance the machine, the more emphasis there should be on it being maintained.
Below is a list of kit, which is relatively cheap, portable and incredibly effective at both rehabilitating an injury and preventing and injury occurring, whilst building excellent body awareness skills and increasing performance.
Foam roller –
Many people have seen them, some use them, and some have used them probably incorrectly for 30 seconds as they don’t understand its purpose and never looked at one again. Others (me) swear by them and have 2 different ones which go everywhere with me. In fact, when it comes to high performance training you will not find a top athlete or team without one.
The purpose of the foam roller is primarily for myofascial release. This is when the muscle fibres and fascia are compressed and the body responds by bringing a fresh blood supply to the tissue, providing it with nutrients and bringing blood to the muscle preparing it for exercise. Once the compression is released, so is tension from the tissue, creating a greater range of movement and tension release in that area.
Lacrosse ball –
This works very much in the same way as the foam roller but you can hit trigger points easier as it has a smaller surface area. With a smaller surface area comes a larger amount of discomfort, this is a very handy tool as it can be easily kept in a kit bag and can provide a very deep compression. It is ideal for getting out knots, and getting into tender tight soft tissue areas like the hip flexors, shoulders and glute’s.
Spiked ball massage stick –
Same principle as the other two methods the little spikes can get right into the tissue and its easy for the athlete to control the level of pressure. If you have scar tissue this is a great (but painful) way to break it down. Its also an excellent tool for the hamstrings and calves in particular, which are often a cause of lower back tension via a connective chain. On this note this piece of kit is excellent to use before and after running and sprinting and other hamstring dominant exercises, and like the other bits of kit, very portable.
Inversion boots –
These nifty little dudes have you hanging like a sleeping bat. Not the most common bit of kit to be found in a gym but effective and quite fun all the same. They are padded foam clamps which are securely fastened around the ankle and have hooks on allowing an athlete to hook themselves on to a bar and hang freely upside down. After a minute or two the body will relax, and the weight of the body whilst being inverted allows for the vertebrae in the spine to decompress, releasing tension, possibly nerve pain and create improved circulation also giving the lymphatic system a quick cleanse. This piece of equipment can also give a fantastic core workout helping to promote spinal health.
PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR GRIND HARD FITNESS VIDEOS COMING SOON SHOWING HOW TO BEST USE THE EQUIPMENT MENTIONED.
Keep up the Grind guys,
Coach Chris McClarence