“This program solves the injury yo-yo, builds an injury resistant body, and provides the professional guidance of an experienced Sports Physical Therapist who will help build injury prevention into your daily training.”
If you are hampered by injury and painful running year-after-year, this simple stretching and strengthening program is designed for you.
STRUCTURAL INTEGRITYRunners must address two primary areas of structural development: Bio-mechanical Efficiency and Musculoskeletal Resiliency.
What happens under the skin is crucial to athletic success. A well-conditioned athlete must develop physical and mechanical infrastructure that will withstand the arduous task of hill work and interval training that comes later in the Periodization training phases of running. The forces developed in these harder workouts put great demands on joints, bones, tendons and fascia.
RUNNING MECHANICS AND TECHNIQUE
Running the marathon requires a high degree of mechanical efficiency in terms of sound technique and form. Optimal running technique affords the well-trained athlete two advantages: first, proper technique provides the greatest economy in energy expenditure possible, i.e., movement that produces the greatest power for the lowest cost in energy, and second, proper technique avoids excessive stress on tendons, fascia, joints and bones.
Conversely, faulty technique wastes precious energy and overtaxes the mechanical parts of your body. Specifically, poor technique leads to early fatigue and further breakdown in the technique, which results in poor performance and puts stress on bodily structures resulting in injury.
Developing proper technique in Base Training involves a sound flexibility program, weight training, and drills. PHASE IV provides running and walking gait analysis that will correct improper mechanics.
FLEXIBILITY TRAININGFlexibility is defined as the range of motion of bones around a joint. Bones must have the freedom of movement to be positioned just right in the sequence of sport motion we call “proper technique”. Without adequate flexibility the muscles work overtime in an attempt to attain the best position of the bones. The muscles have to work harder as they fight the limiting effects of inflexibility. This exacts a cost on energy demands which accumulates during a race and as a result fatigue sets in and performance suffers.
Regular stretching will improve flexibility and promote efficiency while avoiding injury. (In addition, stretching promotes recovery).
A well-designed flexibility program addresses each of the major muscle groups in positions that promote relaxation of the muscles and associated structures and allows for ease of breathing. The target of your stretching program is the connective tissue elements of the muscular system not the fibers themselves.
The red-blood rich muscle fibers are elastic and will stretch without much resistance. Surrounding each muscle fiber and wrapping the muscles into bundles is the white connective tissue, which inhibits range of motion. Additionally, connective tissue is the material of tendons, (which attach muscles to bones), and comprises ligaments, (which attach bones to bones at the joint). Connective tissue is not immediately elastic and requires the application of slow sustained stretching to lengthen. Permanent lengthening of these structures equates to good flexibility and you are therefore one step closer to good technique.
STRENGTH TRAINING WEIGHTS AND PERFORMANCE
Done properly, strength training for the endurance athlete is in many ways the quickest way to achieve the structural goals of the Base Training Phase of training: Joint Stability and Musculoskeletal Resiliency.
Using light weights and FTS band exercises which isolate the small muscles around each joint will not only help prevent injury, but will directly improve performance throughout the season.
If you were to do nothing more than the low-intensity strength work of early season training, the payoff in developing musculoskeletal resiliency and biomechanic efficiency will benefit you all year!
Joint stability describes the blend of proper flexibility and adequate strength necessary to maintain optimal joint alignment throughout a movement. When aligned properly at the joint, bones work as levers to multiply the force of muscle contraction. In running the proper alignment of joints will optimize performance by improving the forces you can generate on the ground, whereas misalignment of joints wastes tremendous amounts of energy and causes trauma and injury.
The tendons respond to the stress of the weight training by increasing in size and strength. This adaptation is not obvious on the outside but is part of what’s happening below the surface that is so important.
Likewise, the bones will become stronger through weight training as the muscle tug and stress the bones at the attachment of the tendon. Again this adaptation is critical to avoid injury later.
The Base Training weight program called the “Anatomical Adaptation Phase” must strengthen all of the often-neglected little muscles that surround joints. Typical unscientific training creates imbalances in these small stabilizing muscles throughout the training year. Base Training is where these imbalances must be corrected to avoid injury and optimize mechanics.
Since these are small muscles, the weights must be kept light. For example ankle, shoulder and hip exercises requires no more than 2-3 pounds weights to start. Using heavier weights will only cause the larger stronger muscles to substitute and “protect” the imbalance. Furthermore, light weights and high repetitions will stimulate strengthening of the tendons, fascia and bones while avoiding over training these structures. The result is a musculoskeletal system that is resilient to injury.
The information garnered from this testing is utilized to design a personalized flexibility and strength program which is simple and easily performed at home. These are the essential exercises necessary to achieve functional stability of the lower extremities, pelvis, core, and shoulder girdle. This program includes:
- Structural Exam by a Physical Therapist and prescription exercises when necessary
- Two instructional training sessions with PHASE IV Performance Specialists to learn the nuance of each particular exercise.
- Instructional Manual complete with descriptions and photographs of each exercise.
- Two 5lb. adjustable ankle weights.