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Wednesday, 10 October 2018 10:22

How important is YOUR off season?

Recovery from the soccer season: Signs you may need Physiotherapy

With the soccer season well and truly over, many players cast their body woe’s aside, pledging to pick them up again before next season. Learn why NOW is the best time to fix those last season injuries and ensure they don’t come back to haunt you in 2019!

By now most of your bruises, aches and pains should have subsided! Any acute swelling should have gone down and what you might be left with is a body that’s feeling reasonably good in comparison to the post game soreness of the last few months. However, that little niggle on your ankle, the pinch in your groin and the ache in your lower back are signs that your body hasn’t fully recovered and rather than waiting for those compensations to rear their ugly heads next year, why not get on top of them now!

Physiotherapist – Lana Johnson, explains why “the off seasons is often a time when players don’t think too much about training, but it is in fact THE BEST time for injury rehabilitation and skill improvement!” By addressing any weakness in the biomechanical chain and the necessary compensation you developed to get you through the semi’s, you can ensure that next season your back on the field for longer, performing to your best!

The reason being, during the playing season, there is little room for technique correction, unloading and skill enhancement. This is because so much time is taken up by conditioning, team skill set’s, game day and recovery. The off season is the perfect time for picking apart your weaknesses and zeroing in on them to ensure your core strength is where it needs to be, your hamstrings are as mobile as they need to be and your ankle stability is on point! 

Lana suggests the following exercises which she finds of benefit for many top soccer players in the down season, to ensure their game day ready when the next season rolls around!

  1. 1) Core Stability: it’s been a big buzz focus for the past few years, and for good reason. Soccer requires a lot of direction change under high speeds and all that agility comes at a necessary price. Good core control is essential on the field, and unfortunately is often over looked in a typical mid-season program. I find these following exercises great additions to your off-season protocol for reducing the risk of spine, pelvis and groin related injuries.

    • 2) Hip Dissociation: all that kicking required can mean soccer players are able to dissociate their hips from their pelvis at high speeds and under high loads. We often see this element of training ignored in mid-season training programs which are heavily focussed on fitness and ball skills. The following exercises are a must in the off seasons to continue to ensure players are able to dissociate their hip mobility from their pelvis stability and ensure a great kicking game. 
    • a. Bent Knee Fall Out: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bent-knee-fall-2/
    • b. Arabesque: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/arabesque-2/ 

If you have a niggle that hasn’t resolved by now it may well be worth while seeking out the advice of a Physiotherapist to determine if there is any lasting damage or biomechanical abnormalities they can be improved before next season! After all prevention, as always, is better than cure!

Published in Sport

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Ever feel like your running technique isn’t as efficient as it could be? Or you’re always prone to injuries or niggles in your knee, hip or back? Well, one of the key factors that may be stopping you from having an efficient running style is a lack of strength and control in your hips. In this article I’ll be talking about ways you can strengthen your hips, improve your running technique and stay injury free!

Let’s first have a look at the anatomy of the hip, the hip is a ball and socket joint that relies on two main muscles to provide it with stability, glute max and glute med. They are both important in keeping your hip joint centred during activities such as walking, climbing stairs and running. Unfortunately, due to our more sedentary and ‘chair laden’ lifestyles these muscles tend to be inhibited and become very weak leading to poor hip biomechanics, making our running more ineffective and our bodies more at risk of injury.

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Now most people know about the glute max and how to strengthen it (squats, lunges and bridges to name a few), but few people are aware of the importance of strengthening the glute med and how critical it is in providing stability at the hip. I commonly refer to the glute med as the ‘core of the hip’, due to its crucial importance in providing stability at the hip during tasks such as running and walking.

Below I have listed 4 exercises that have been found to be the most effective in activating and strengthening the glute med.

1.  Clam: Position yourself lying on your side with your knees and hips bent and your feet together. Keeping your knees together practice lifting your top knee towards the sky whilst keeping your feet together. Repeat 15-20 times with each leg. This is often a good way to get started with activating your glute med.

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2.  Standing Wall Press: Position yourself standing adjacent to a wall. Lift the leg that is closest to the wall and push it against the wall placing something soft between your knee and the wall. Practice performing mini squats whilst squeezing your lifted leg against the wall. Note that this exercise will strengthen the glute med on the standing leg. Repeat 10-15 times with each leg. This exercise activates the glute med in a standing position.

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3.  Single leg squat: Position yourself sitting in a chair (the lower the chair the more work it will be will be for your glutes). Practice standing up from the chair whilst only standing on one leg. Repeat 8-12 times with each leg. This exercise is a good progression from the wall press exercise.