For many people who play winter sports like football, soccer, AFL, netball and hockey, pre-season training is just around the corner or may have even started already. Completing a whole pre-season program is not only vital for fitness levels and skill practice, it can be a massive component of preventing injuries throughout the season!
A 2016 study found that elite AFL players who completed <50% of their pre season training were 2x more likely to sustain an in- season injury than those who completed >85%. This isn’t just relevant for AFL though; it’s relevant for all sports at any level.
This is a telling stat, and one that needs to be at the front of all athletes’ minds whilst participating in pre-season training. Even if you’re injured, there is something you can do. Pre-season isn’t just about “getting fit again”, it can be used for rehabbing those niggly injuries still hanging around from last season. The is also lots of research showing that increasing strength can help prevent many common sports injuries including hamstring and adductor (groin) muscle tears, rotator cuff and other shoulder injuries, shin splints and other sprains and strains.
Research from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) also shows that avoiding rapid spikes in training load helps you avoid injury not only in pre-season, but during the season as well. Going straight in to in-season training and competition loads causes a huge spike in strain through your body and this dramatically increases your risk of injury during the season.
So make the most of your pre-season training. Get yourself to those sessions, and work on everything you can! Remember, the work you do now will pay off come start of season if you make the effort!
Not sure what to do for your pre-season training? Let one of our Strength & Conditioning coaches or Exercise Physiologists get you on the right program to boost your performance and reduce your risk of injury
Reference: Murray et.al 2016 Individual and combined effects of acute and chronic running loads on injury risk in elite Australian footballers
At Central Performance we see a lot of runners coming in either for physio treatment or running training with our running coach/physio superstar Ben Liddy. We know that runners love to run and can be like a bear with a sore head when they can’t run due to injury. One great, and often overlooked, way to both improve running performance as well as reduce the risk of injury is to add some strength training to your running training.
Traditionally it was believed that strength training won’t improve running performance as lifting weights will make people bulky and slow. However there is now good evidence that strength training improves running performance by increasing running efficiency. An increase in running efficiency means you to use less energy while running.
Strength training helps improve running efficiency by increasing the rate of force development (RFD) of a muscle. RFD is how quickly a muscle can produce force. The higher the RFD the quicker a runner is able to spring off the ground, reducing the ground contact time and therefore reducing the amount of energy they use.
Also contrary to popular belief, the best form of strength training for runners is not light weights with high reps to build endurance. Research shows that the most effective form of resistance training for runners is heavy weights with low reps and plyometric (power) training. Using heavy weights for low reps helps to increase neural drive to the muscle which helps to improve RFD. Plyometrics also help to improve RFD and power development. Plyometrics involve jumping exercises and help teach the body to use muscles and tendons like springs, reducing ground contact time and thereby improving running efficiency.
The best types of resistance exercises for running are compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats and lunges. These exercises use almost all the lower body muscles in a coordinated fashion.
Research shows that weight training twice per week causes significant improvements in running efficiency and performance. It has also shown that for competitive runners reducing weight training to once per week during the competitive season maintains the improvements made with twice per week.
Strength training also helps to reduce the risk of injury to runners and all other athletes. A recent review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that resistance training can lead to a 66% decrease in sports injuries and a 50% decrease in overuse injuries. The below picture does a good job illustrating why strength training is important injury prevention for runners.
As you can see the soleus muscle, one of the muscles in the calf, needs to handle between 6.5-8.0 times bodyweight on ground contact during running. Having to tolerate such huge forces obviously requires a lot of strength otherwise the rsk of injury is greatly increased. A good guide for having adequate strength in the calf muscles is to be able to confidently do 30 single leg heel raises on each leg.
Tendinopathies are a very common type of running injury. They occur when the amount of load going through a tendon overloads the tendon’s ability to recover from it. Commonly occurring tendinopathies for runners are hamstring and achilles tendinopathies as both the hamstrings and calf muscles are extremely important in running. One of the best ways to improve a tendon’s capacity to handle load is by resistance training. Heavy resistance training provides a beneficial stimulus to tendons to help them build strength, remodel and allow them to adapt to high volumes of load put through them during running.
You can book online or call us on 9280 2322 for more info.
This post was written by Hugh Campbell, our senior Exercise Physiologist. He has extensive experience and has attended numerous post-graduate courses on running biomechanics and the role of strength training in runners.
If you’re looking for a great personal trainer in Surry Hills then Central Performance has you covered. Many people know us as a physio or rehab-oriented facility, however you should know that a large part of what we do every day is work with healthy individuals, who are completely free from injury, using tailored exercise programs to improve peoples overall health and sports performance.
Here are some key ingredients that set our exercise services apart;
• it’s all about you. Every exercise program we deliver is specific just for that client and is based on their individual goals, wants, needs, current fitness level and preferences
• exceptional trainers who really care about you. We really make the time and effort to get to know you, your likes and dislikes, what you want to achieve and what might be holding you back. We make sure your time with us is a real highlight of your day, not just just another exercise session.
• a warm and friendly environment where you feel you really belong, amongst a group of people who always want the best for you.
• a dedicated team working hand-in-hand around you to give you everything you need for success. Because our team of trainers and coaches work right alongside our phyiso’s, exercise physiologists and massage therapists, if you do have any injury concerns then help and advice is always on hand.
We work with people at every level of fitness and sports performance, from gym newbies to athletes competing at national and international levels. Whether your goal is weight loss, sports performance, getting your body back to the way you like it, or maybe you just feel sluggish and you know you’ve got to get moving again, we can tailor an exercise program just right for you. Spending too long at the desk and putting on some kilos, or maybe your doctor says you need to get your weight or blood pressure under control with regular exercise? We can help.
Tendinopathy is a common condition that results from overloading a tendon. It used to be called tendinitis however research shows that usually not much inflammation is involved, hence the name change. Lower limb tendinopathy is common in sports including running, basketball, netball & football. Upper limb tendinopathies occur frequently in tennis & other racquet sports, swimming, & throwing sports like cricket & baseball.
Tendinopathy occurs when the tendon’s main tissue, called collagen, becomes damaged because it is no longer able to cope with the load being put through it. This overloading usually happens when there is an increase in exercise frequency, volume or intensity. This may be someone starting the gym again after a break, when stepping up training in preparation for a race or fun-run, or when you start pre-season training after resting from your sport in the off-season.
As the tendon becomes overloaded it starts getting irritable and in some cases swollen. You will usually feel pain in the morning after waking up, when you move again after resting or sitting at your desk for a while during the day, and maybe at the start of exercise. Often in the early stages of tendinopathy your pain will disappear as you warm up, but usually comes back again after you cool down, rest or sleep. It will usually get worse over time if you keep overloading it.
There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about how to deal with tendinopathies. Much of it is out-dated and we now know that old-style things like stretching and completely avoiding painful activities will actually slow or prevent your recovery.
For a great overview of tendon injury & management guidelines check out this video from Professor Jill Cook, a leading research expert in tendon management.
• Continue to exercise at a sustainable level. As a general rule a little bit of pain is acceptable during exercise in a tendon with tendinopathy. As a rule of thumb 3 or 4 out of 10 pain level during exercise is okay as long as the pain stops within an hour after finishing exercise and isn’t worse that night or the next morning
• Get your tendon assessed and begin treatment early. Like many things the earlier you get on to it the faster your recovery, the less treatment you are likely to need, and you give yourself the best chance for a great recovery.
• Start heavy, slow resistance exercise. Tendons need a load placed on them to allow them to repair themselves. The best way to start loading a tendon with a tendinopathy in a controlled fashion is with heavy, slow resistance exercise. Look for a tempo of approximately 3 seconds on the concentric (lifting) phase and 4 seconds on the eccentric (lowering) phase. Again a little bit of pain during heavy slow, resistance exercise is okay as long as it stays at a 3-4 out of 10 level and does not persist after stopping exercise.
• Be consist with your exercise. Tendons prefer to be used consistently and performing your exercises regularly will help with your rehabilitation from a tendinopathy
• Stop exercising or using the muscle completely. Like we said earlier, tendons need consistent loads to be placed on them in order to repair themselves. Stopping exercise completely may temporarily stop the pain but that pain is likely to return when you return to exercise as very little healing will have taken place.
• Stretch the tendon. Stretching a tendinopathy is similar to itching a mozzie bite, it might provide some short term relief for the pain in the long term it will likely slow the healing. This is because stretching a tendon will usually cause it the tendon to get squashed against the bone it attaches to. This compression against the bone will usually aggravate the tendon and slow down its healing.
• Try and rush your rehab. Tendons do not have a good blood supply and therefore are slow to recover. In some tendinopathy cases it can take 12-18 months for the tendon to remodel and recover. Be patient and consistent with your rehab. If you rush it and try and increase your exercise and loading of the tendon too quickly you will likely aggravate the tendinopathy and slow down your recovery.
Getting a coach involved with your training program can be a huge help in lots of different ways, but there are a few things to consider before taking the plunge. Whether your thinking of hiring a personal trainer, run coach, or whatever other sport you’re in to, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
It’s inevitable when you decide to employ a coach they’ll implement some changes to your current plan. If you’re someone that’s resistant to change or struggles to put your faith in someone, the relationship has a high chance of breaking down. Without a foundation of trust between athlete and coach it doesn’t matter how good the training plan is the results won’t follow. If you want to succeed using a coach you need to be open to change.
After sitting down with your coach you need to ask yourself whether what they’re asking of you is realistic. If you believe you’ll struggle to fit their plan in around the other commitments in your life you need to be open with them. Good coaches modify plans to suit the demands of the athletes they work with. However, there is still a minimum body of work that needs to be done to achieve certain results so you need to be prepared to commit to that.
Perhaps the most important part of any coach/athlete relationship is that of trust. The more important your goals are to you the more important the trust in the relationship is. There is no perfect training program and despite their best intentions a coach cannot guarantee their program will work for you. However, if you both trust each other and form a deep bond you’ll be able to see out any hardships along the way and ultimately find the right path to achieving your goals.
If you do decide a coach is right for you and go about employing one, you’re about to develop a new number one fan! You’ll have someone who is as committed to your goals as you are, someone who’ll be there to celebrate the successes with you as well as share in your disappointments. You’ll be held accountable to the process but most importantly you’ll develop a bond that you’ll will carry through the entire process. A coach/athlete relationship can be very special and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll have this relationship for life.
Sydney-siders love a good run! And with the Blackmores running festival coming up, beautiful scenery & awesome weather it’s easy to see why. So today we look at the most common type of knee pain that can affect runners as well as people playing many other sports that involve running and jumping.
The knee is the most common site for pain in runners, but it’s not just “runners” that are at risk. Many other sports that involve running &/or jumping have a relatively high risk of knee injuries. One very common cause of knee pain is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, which accounts for up to 40% of all knee problems in sports medicine centres. The pain is felt around or behind the kneecap & occurs when the kneecap (patella) does not align correctly into the groove on the end of the thigh bone (femur). It is common in young people, & affects more women than men.
Pain is either felt around the front part of the knee or along one or both sides of the kneecap. It can sometimes be hard to find a specific spot where the pain is felt the most, especially because sometimes it feels like it is hidden away behind the kneecap. Your knee may be making some grinding or clicking noises, & there may be some swelling.
Often there is no specific cause (eg a fall or twist) of patellofemoral pain. Sometimes you may be able to relate it back to an increase in running or jumping volume, or things like new shoes or more hill running. It often begins as a niggle then gradually gets worse if you continue to exercise on it, eventually stopping you doing your normal training. It usually settles temporarily if you stop exercising but keeps coming back when you return.
Patellofemoral pain is usually made worse with anything that increases the load within your knee, eg taking your weight in a bent-knee position. Examples of painful activities can include;
Some people also get pain from sitting in a bent-knee position for long periods of time, eg working at a desk or sitting in a movie theatre. This is because this position squashes the inflamed back surface the kneecap onto the end of the thigh bone, causing pain after a while.
The main cause of patellofemoral pain is when the kneecap doesn’t “track” properly in the femoral groove when we bend our knee. It can get pulled out to the side of the groove, meaning that it rubs on the wrong places & becomes inflamed. Excessive or rapid increases in loading, usually due to increasing training or running volumes too fast, are also common factors that contribute to patellofemoral pain.
Poor biomechanics (i.e. the way our body controls movement) is the major factor that contributes to incorrect tracking of the kneecap in the femoral groove. Common biomechanical problems include:
Females are more likely to develop patellofemoral pain than males (3:2). This is due to women having a bigger “Q Angle”, which is where the quads muscles have a more outwards pull on the kneecap because women’s hips tend to be wider than mens.
Assessing & correcting your biomechanics is a big part of getting your knee pain resolved. You need to release any tight muscles on your outer thigh & hip, usually by using a foam roller or spikey ball. You will also need to strengthen muscles that are not keeping your leg and knee in the right alignment. The usual problem is that your knee rolls inwards over your big toe too much, so strengthening your glutes muscles to correct this is critical. Making sure that your inner quads muscle (your VMO) is strong enough to balance your outer quads muscle (VL) is also important.
Your foot position also needs to be checked. The most common foot problem is over-pronation, where your inner arch collapses & rotates your shin and knee inwards too much. You will need to ensure that you have the right shoes for your foot type, eg if you are an over-pronator then pronation control shoes or orthotics are likely to help you. However as physio’s we always find that shoe type or orthotics alone are not the full solution – they are only one component. You must correct your other biomechanical factors like hip control as well.
Every day our friendly & experienced physio’s work with runners & athletes at all levels, from weekend warriors to national champions. We can help you with fast relief & get you back out there on the road, track, field or court. We specialise in finding & fixing the underlying cause of your problems so that once we’ve got you feeling good, you stay feeling good.
Injuries are a common occurrence in sport, but no one wants to be sidelined for too long. We know that following your physio’s rehab program will help you recover, but nutrition is also an important part of your treatment plan. A good diet is essential for performance and recovery from physical activity, but when we get injured its easy to forget all the normal diet habits while focusing on recovering.
Food plays an important role outside of just fuelling your body. You may not know that food plays a significant role in inflammation, which is a key aspect of healing following an injury, so what you eat will impact your recovery. Food can also assist with rebuilding muscle, bone and repairing damaged tissue. So if you are currently injured or find yourself with constant niggles and aches, read below to learn more about the link between diet and your recovery.
When you are injured, your body produces inflammation. Pain, swelling, redness and heat draws healing chemicals to the injured area. The damaged tissue is removed, and a new blood supply and temporary tissue is built. Next remodelling occurs, where stronger, more permanent tissue replaces the temporary tissue. Inflammation is important in triggering the repair process during injury, but too much inflammation can delay healing and cause additional damage.
Strategies to help produce the right amount of inflammation can be extremely useful and this is where nutrition plays a big role. Choose anti-inflammatory fats such as;
At the same time, avoid a high intake of pro-inflammatory food such as;
Once the body begins the proliferation and remodelling stages of healing (building of new tissue), a balanced diet is necessary. Ensure you eat adequate;
It is common to reduce intake following an acute injury due to reduced activity levels and appetite, but energy expenditure may actually increase by 15-50% depending on the type and severity of injury. Reducing your intake could impact tissue healing and muscle wastage in the early stages of your injury, so guidance from a qualified sports dietitian can help you maximise your rehabilitation program by ensuring you are eating adequate protein, fat, carbohydrates and micronutrients.
It might sound like a cliché but a 2017 Scandinavian study found that a healthy diet with a variety of fruit, vegetables and fish reduced the odds of new injuries in adolescent athletes. Fruits and vegetables come in a range of colours which all have their own unique make-up of micronutrients essential for health and enhancing recovery between training sessions. Even if injuries sometimes seem out of your control, getting into the habit of eating a variety of fruit and vegetables in adequate amounts is not only beneficial for your general health, but could also play a role in reducing your risk of injury.
Tendons and ligaments in the body are made of collagen cross linkages. Several studies have looked at the link between gelatin ingestion and injury prevention. Supplementation with gelatin has been shown to improve connective tissue structure and function, potentially improve joint health, and reduce pain associated with strenuous activity. Ingesting gelatin with vitamin C increases the effectiveness as they work together to increase collagen synthesis and improve collagen crosslinking, e.g. in tendon tissue.
The most current recommendations are: ingest a gelatin supplement (such as 15g of Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate) with at least 50mg of vitamin C one-hour before training to assist injury prevention. If injured, collagen can be consumed daily to aid recovery by increasing collagen and tissue strength.
These are general guidelines only, so more specific individualised advice, speak to Kelsey our Sports Dietitian.
Bone health is critical for everyone; we’re taught from a young age to include dairy products in the diet for their calcium content, but vitamin D is the other main nutrient that we need to build strong, healthy bones.
Runners particularly are at a high risk of bone stress injuries, as well as those in indoor sports (because they are away from sunlight/vitamin D opportunity), non-weight bearing sports such as swimming, or physique-sensitive sports such as diving, gymnastics and body building. Studies have found runners with higher vitamin D intake recover quicker from injury, and those with higher bone density have decreased frequency of bone stress injuries.
Vitamin D can be obtained mostly from safe exposure to the sun, and in smaller amounts from some margarines or milks fortified with vitamin D. You can also ingest it from mushrooms that have had sun exposure. Using a vitamin D supplement depends on your body’s levels of vitamin D, so this should be discussed with your doctor or sports dietitian before commencing.
Research in soccer matches found that injury risk increases towards the end of each half of the game. This is when players are fatigued, decision making and fine motor skills are impaired and running biomechanics are modified. The findings are transferrable to other sports – if you are fatigued towards the end of your game or race, you are more likely to injure yourself. Fuelling and hydrating adequately are the best measures to prevent injury by delaying onset of fatigue. Appropriate fuel and hydration plans that help you to maintain exercise intensity for longer and reduce fatigue need to be very personalised because they depend heavily on you, your body and the activity or sport that you are participating in.
Injuries are all too common in sport, exercise and even normal activities. Whether its rugby, running, swimming, gymnastics or even just DIY and gardening, injuries are a regular occurrence. Given the powerful effect of nutrition on our general health, its no surprise it also plays an important role in your recovery from injury. So if you have an injury, past or ongoing history of injuries, or even someone you know is constantly injured, make sure you book an appointment with our sports dietitian. Kelsey can provide you with a personalised injury management nutrition plan to assist your rehabilitation program and get you back into your sport, exercise and regular activity faster. Contact reception on 9280 2322 or head to our online bookings page to book in your first session with Kelsey. For more info you can also see our Dietitian’s page.
Have you ever wondered what people are talking about when the words probiotics and prebiotics get thrown around? It seems every food company these days is marketing their products on TV, magazines and bus stops as being beneficial for gut health due to their prebiotic content. But what does it all mean and do you need to be including them in your diet? Read below if you want help making sense of it all!
Probiotics are live microorganisms that live inside the digestive tract, and are found in bacteria, yeast or fungi. Probiotics are the good kind of bacteria that keeps the digestive system healthy, helping to break down food as it enters the system, and has also been found to be beneficial in relieving constipation, aiding recovery from diarrhoea, reducing harmful bacteria that lead to gas and bloating, and supporting the immune system. Probiotics can be taken as a supplement form or found in food products. If using a probiotic supplement, look for one that contains at least 10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units), check the storage recommendations on the label, and take the probiotic with breakfast for at least a month to be able to see the effects on your health. There are various strains of bacteria that will have benefits for different conditions, so your doctor or dietitian will be the best source of information when looking for a supplement.
Prebiotics are a type of non-digestible carbohydrate found in certain foods. These food components pass through the digestive system relatively unchanged and arrive in the large bowel, where they become food for the good bacteria living in there. Prebiotics help to balance the digestive system and maintain regularity by providing fuel for the beneficial bacteria that live in the body.
Tip: the prebiotic fibre in these foods break down over time and with cooking, so try enjoying them fresh and raw wherever possible!
Our dietitian Kelsey Hutton can help you with all your nutrition & diet needs including;
In Part 2 of this blog post series, we covered the hormone changes that occur in the first phase of the menstrual cycle, the follicular phase. This week we will go into the second phase of the cycle, the luteal phase.
The luteal phase occurs from day 14-28, assuming a 28-day cycle. We know this phase all too well as this is when PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms occur! Be aware of food cravings, especially if your symptoms sideline you from your usual workouts.
This phase is the high hormone phase with progesterone at its peak. Progesterone increases the body’s core temperature, lessening tolerance to heat during workouts and increasing sweat which causes the body to lose more sodium. Because of this you need to really make sure you stay on top of your hydration when working out in the hotter months of the year in the second phase of your cycle!
During the luteal phase, the body uses carbohydrate less effectively for energy, instead utilising fat. If you are trying to reach high exercise intensities or need to perform at your best during this time, extra carbohydrates around training sessions may be necessary for you to be able to exercise at your best. Protein breakdown also increases, so its really important to make sure you are recovering adequately with protein sources after a workout.
Examples of high protein snacks to enjoy post-workout includes plain yoghurt with nuts, a fruit smoothie made with milk, yoghurt and fruit, or some boiled eggs.
Try having red meat or salmon for dinner post-workout to aid your recovery and help you get in your essential nutrients during this time of the month.
If you are looking for an effective periodised nutrition plan to suit your cycle and training demands, our sports dietitian Kelsey Hutton can give you everything you need. Your initial assessment with highlight your goals, current nutrition levels & areas to focus on. Your personalised plan gives you a practical & effective way to fuel your body with everything it needs for peak performance.