Think “Prehab” Instead of Rehab

Are you experiencing any minor but persistent and annoying aches or pains? What about poor posture? This post will help you improve your condition now AND later by preventing injuries!

You’re probably aware of our major muscle groups, like biceps, hamstrings, quads (quadriceps) and pecs (pectoralis). Most workouts are designed to build these big muscles, including the machines at the gym.

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But did you know we have a bunch of mini-muscles called stabilizer muscles that are just as important? They can prevent injuries and, if we’ve sustained an injury, can help us heal.

The stabilizer muscles provide stability and help support the bigger muscles and joints. We hardly work these muscles on purpose, but we use them everyday while we move around and do what we have to do during the normal course of our day (a.k.a. functional movements).

As personal trainers, we are HUGE proponents for “prehab” instead of “rehab.” Let us explain further, and provide you with a few tips and 3 prehab exercises!

Minor aches and pains, as well as poor posture, is a sign that you’re damaging your body by repetitive behaviour/positions and neglecting your body’s needs as nature intended. If this neglect is prolonged, some sort of injury will eventually happen and you’ll be forced to deal with it using rehabilitation exercises.

It’s like someone who knows their on the way to a heart attack but ignores their body’s warnings (maybe even their doc’s) until the day comes when their old ticker gives up the ghost. If they survive, they’ve had the dickins scared out of them and they suddenly realize how much their life means to them. They are now VERY motivated to make necessary changes.

If you’re ready to “prepare” your body rather than “repair” it, then here are a few tips and stability muscle exercises to strengthen your body so you can prevent injuries and heal faster if you do happen to sustain an injury:

Prehab Tip #1:

Do a few stability muscle exercises either in the morning or evening. If you’re a beginner, start off with doing them every other day as you’ll need more time to recover than more advanced people. Hire a fitness professional to show you proper form so you’re more effective with your time and you don’t hurt yourself. If you’re already fairly fit, you can do your stability muscle exercises everyday.

Prehab Tip #2:

Next time your heart-rate is up, whether you’re in the middle of a workout or just finished a walk or a team sport, use the time wisely! Instead of waiting for your heart-rate to come down, do some stability muscle exercises. (By the way, doing an exercise while resting is called “active rest.”)

Stabilizer Muscle Exercises

  1. Knee Rehab Exercise. This exercise works the quad stability muscles. Stand on 1 leg and do little squats, only about 40 degree movements. Keep your core strong, your back straight and stick your butt out when you squat. Attempt to keep your bent knee adjacent to your ankle (sticking your butt out will help you achieve this). Repeat exercise using the other leg.   
  2. Hip & Glutes Exercise. If these muscles are weak, your back will compensate and you’ll have back pain. Get down on all fours, like a dog. Keep your core strong, your waist should be neutral rather than caved in or rounded. Lift one leg out to the side at a 90 degree angle and hold for a few seconds. Repeat movement with the other leg.
  3. Chest Stretch. When we sit, our shoulders tend to round forward. This chest stretch will help counteract the lengthening of the shoulder muscles when we sit too long. In a sitting position, raise your hand to the side at a 90 degree angle. Move it back behind you and twist your body slightly with the movement. Hold in this position and lean your head in the opposite direction, you should feel a nice, light stretch in your neck muscles.

Many people must go through tragedy and trigger a strong negative emotional response before they are ready to change. This post will hopefully inspire you to be proactive rather than reactive. These exercises only take a few minutes to do. So choose prehab rather than rehab!

Do you do any stability exercises or a regular basis? Please share them with us! 

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