Monday, March 25, 2013

Prehab not rehab

I coach a limited amount of athletes so I can provide a high quality coaching experience to each one.  With this comes methodical athlete monitoring of each to ensure that my training plans are working in their physiological adaptation process.  As you read in my last post, balancing stress with recovery is very important but another aspect that is often overlooked in the athlete equation is allotting time for prehab.

Prehab, or better known as pre-habilitation, introduces an opportunity for athletes to reduce the risk of injuries by introducing specific movement pattern exercises that improve muscular balance and typically introducing the concept of myofascial release.  I would be willing to bet that one of the reasons that contributes to injury in endurance athletes is the lack of planned prehab exercises.  These exercises are usually not deleted on purpose from the training plan (like, say, strength training is) but are simply not included due to a lack of knowledge pertaining to the efficacy and the "how's" and "when's" of implementation.

There are many ways to fit in prehab exercises but what I have found works best for most time crunched endurance athletes is scheduling 5 minutes upon waking each morning and using something like a foam roller (I'm a big fan of the TP Therapy Grid) to do a few exercises to improve tissue tolerance and implement myofascial release.  The latter will help break up muscle adhesions and scar tissue that is common among endurance athletes along with improving blood flow.

Take 5 minutes each morning and roll the following areas, each for about 5-10 seconds and repeat throughout the 5 minutes (if you have more time, even better!):

  • Gluteals (maximus, medius and minimus)
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Quadriceps
  • IT band
  • Lower and upper back
Do this once and you will feel good.  Implement this on a consistent basis and you will be on your way to reducing your risk of injury!

Coach Bob


  1. I've always been devoting a few minutes for prehab exercises after suffering through cramps and strained muscles after running. I didn't want to risk getting an even bigger injury because I was too stubborn. Those few minutes are nothing compared to time lost due to being sidelined because of an injury and only being able to do light exercises as advised by therapists. Thanks for the insight, Coach Bob! I hope other athletes and fitness buffs can pick up something from this too.


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