Preparing for the Open

During the CrossFit Open, you need to be prepared for anything. Whether you’re scaling or going Rx, you will be challenged both physically and mentally.


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Preparing for the CrossFit Open

Preparing for the CrossFit Open​

The 2019 CrossFit Open registration has been released. Are you competing this year? Is this your first time or are you a seasoned Vet? To succeed at whatever level, it’s important to know what you’re up against and how to prepare.

What is the CrossFit Open?

The Open is the first Qualifying stage to make it to the CrossFit Games. It’s an opportunity for participants of all skill levels to pit their wits. Lasting 5 weeks, with a new workout each week, announced midday Friday (NZT). Athletes have until Tuesday at noon to complete the workout and register their score.

The format of qualifying for the Open has changed this year.

The Games are broken down into these stages:

The Open – Initial 5-week stage of competition, anyone can compete. The top 20 athletes qualify for the games.

Sanctioned events – 3-day invitational competition for the top athletes. The winners move on to The Games.

The Games – 4-day competition consisting of 40 men, 40 women, 40 teams. The Winner of each is earns the title, Fittest on Earth.

A large emphasis from the CrossFit brand is the community feel within each gym. The Open encompasses this on a global scale, as everyone can participate in the Open. It allows you to push a little harder, work on weakness’ and compare yourself against others.

What to expect from Open workouts

During a regular week of training it’s typical to expect the core foundational movements of CrossFit and WOD’s (Workout Of the Day) that you’re familiar with. The Open provides level of suspense in the wait for its announcement on the day. While keeping the foundational skills of CrossFit they always throw in unexpected movements to throw you off guard.

Sometimes they will repeat a workout from a previous Open, or use a new piece of equipment. In 2017 was the introduction of dumbbells to the WOD’s, which threw a lot of athletes off guard. 

How many times can I do an Open workout?

You have 4 days from Friday midday to Tuesday Noon to attempt the workout as many times as you want. This also depends on your gyms Open policy, as some only offer certain time periods.

Realistically though, you’re likely to attempt it only twice, sometimes three times depending on the workout. You’ll need time to recover from the first attempt by at least 1-2 days.

While it’s important to get the best result you can do. It’s also important to spend time at the gym to offer your mates moral support and help out as judges.

Prepare a workout strategy

If you’re doing this for the first time or just started training in CrossFit speak with your coach about a plan. Coaches will know your abilities and be able to offer you a realistic strategy to get the best result. The main thing for first timers, is to enjoy the experience.

For the more experienced athlete, you have trained long enough to know your limitations, your burn outs, you understand pace setting and max lifts. From this knowledge, whatever workout is announced you should be able to form an air tight strategy to get the best out of your ability.

Think about things like:

  • Where do I exert the most energy
  • How many reps before breaking
  • How to transition between equipment the fastest
  • What pace should I keep to maintain the best time
  • How long to take for a breather

Note: Once you’ve formed a plan let your judge know so they understand. You may also want to write it down to remain strict as you start to fatigue.

Being mentally and physically prepared

Preparing before the Open with only a few weeks to go, it’s unlikely you will learn new skills. Try to focus on the current ones you’re capable of and become more efficient at them. If you plan to do extra training, make sure you’re not over training. Try to focus the extra work on cardio, skill-based training or mobility.

The Open is equal if not more challenging to your mental capacity. This often is what sets two athletes apart. The ability to silence the voice inside that is telling you to stop. Strategies higher reps in your workouts leading up to Open before breaking. Also use visualisation techniques to be prepared in both mind and body.

Embrace the embarrassment or work on your weakness’

In CrossFit they call them goats. The movements you least enjoy and likely the ones your avoiding the most. The Open has the ability of exposing your weakness’. So rather than being exposed put in a little extra time after training to work on that skill. Whether it’s a double under you keep snagging or Olympic lift you’re struggling to catch. Getting better at these will improve your overall placement.

The Open does a good job at showing where your weak links are. Accept it and move on. The silver lining is that it provides you with an understanding of what needs more work for the new year.

Whether it’s your first or tenth time, embrace the experience. Put in a good effort have fun and support the other athletes.

How can Physio help

As mentioned the Open challenges you in so many ways and knowing where you’re failing already provides a tonne of information about which body part could be at fault and how to direct your treatment plan. If you find yourself struggling with an injury leading up to the Open or throughout the competition have a look online.

Throughout the Open as each workout is announced I will be uploading videos of mobility drills to help prepare you for the whats to come. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram. 

Copyright 2017 © All rights Reserved.

How young is “too young” to lift weights?

There’s still controversy with regards to when it’s safe to begin resistance training. Find out the benefits of weightlifting for your child’s development.

In my last blog I covered the misconceptions of lifting weights as we get older. Today we go to the other end of the spectrum, which is as equally misinformed with regards to children starting resistance training.

Across social media we see a growing trend of children involved in barbell training. Whether it’s supplementary training for their sport or weightlifting for competition. But there still remains a stigma or controversy towards children and weightlifting. This can make it extremely difficult for a parent to make an informed choice if they consider enrolling their child into a programme.

What are the concerns?

The most common worries for parents is injury risk and belief that lifting weights may stunt their growth by causing damage to the bone.

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Injury risk is always there, in any sport. But statistically weightlifting has a fairly low injury rate when compared to other sports. In one study, the overall injury rate per 100 participant hours was 1.92 for rugby and 6.2 for football and 0.0017 for weightlifting.

The biggest factor keeping injury risk so low is supervision and good coaching within a structured setting. Especially with children, keeping them focused on correct technique and giving appropriate programming to match their ability.

Another common myth of children weightlifting is that it causes damage to growth plates of the bone which could stunt healthy growth. There has actually been no scientific evidence or case studies to show that growth plates become damaged from weightlifting.  The most common cases of growth plate damage come from popular high impact sports like football, hockey, basketball and volleyball.

What are the benefits?

Weightlifting has been shown to decrease injury rates by increasing bone strength, tendon strength and improving the strength of stabiliser muscles to prevent injury during practice and competition.

During preadolescence we have heightened neural proliferation and central nervous system (CNS) maturation. With increased load and stress on the body with resistance training provides an additional stimulus to the already natural proliferation taking place. This results in a boost in neural development compared to youth who do not partake in resistance training.

How and where to start?

  • Firstly this does not mean your 7 year old will be throwing around heavy weights. There’s a process to building up a child’s competence with functional movement.
  • Finding a gym that offers a programme for kids, which can be adapted to the ability of each child and that they’re supervised by a qualified coach.

Development of trainingTo begin with, every child needs to learn functional movement patterns without any weights to have competency and understand the movement. With repeated exposure it develops whats called their “training age”. This is not their physical age, the years spent participating in their chosen sport/activity. A child at 7 years old, exposed regularly to a functional skill movements programme will have a higher training age by the time they reach puberty. This gives them a greater advantage to grasp the more complex tasks and see greater fitness gains in later stages of development.

Hopefully this will give you more confidence entering your child into a weightlifting programme. It is safe for children of all ages to lift weight as long as it’s supervised by an experienced trainer. Understand that the reward far greater than the risk.

References

  • Hamill B, 1994 Relative safety of weight lifting and weight training.
  • Legerlotz et al, 2016 Physiological Adaptations following Resistance Training in Youth Athletes-A Narrative Review
  • Malina RM, 2006 Weight training in youth-growth, maturation, and safety: an evidence-based review.
  • Powell et al, 1999 Injury patterns in selected high school sports: a review of the
  • Neurological benefits
  • Negra et al, 2016 Effects of High-Velocity Resistance Training on Athletic Performance in Prepuberal Male Soccer Athletes

Training – Finding the Sweet Spot

Understanding your training load and tracking your acute:chronic ratio is a great tool of avoiding injury but seeing regular improvements when training.

Bourdon et al 2017

Understanding your abilities with training is a constant adaption. In the gym or on the training field, knowing your boundaries of training intensity will allow you get the best results and minimise risk of injury.

In 2016 there was conference in Doha, Qatar bringing many of the worlds leading sports science experts to discuss monitoring athletes training loads. This is Journal draws together the key points from the conference.

The importance of monitoring your training load is to get the best out of training and make improvements. But also tracking this figure helps minimise risk of injury.

Acute-Chronic Workload Ratio.jpg
Training loads of each session is referred to as ‘Acute’ workload, this is compared to each week throughout the year, it’s referred to as your ‘Chronic’ workload. The objective is to make sure there is no big spike in acute workload compared to chronic workload. A spike in acute workload will lead to fatigue, poor performance and increased risk of injury. As displayed in the diagram a ratio increase increase acute:chronic of more than 1.5 results puts you in the red zone that indicates a greater chance of injury. Also worth pointing out, taking your training level below 0.8 of your chronic workload, surprisingly showed a higher risk of injury.

Staying within the workload “sweet spot” is your goal to minimising injuries. It takes time to build up training load and this should be done gradually.

Measuring Training Load

To monitor your overall effort in your workout there is a simple method of combining:

Internal Load: These are the biological/psychological factors. This could be heart rate monitors, blood lactate levels or rate of perceived exertion.

External Load: Power output, speed and acceleration derived from GPS and accelerometer devices.

Tracking your training load is a great way of assessing your own capacity to handle the session. Over time this can provide information on training load adaptation.

Internal Road x External Road = Training Load

In CrossFit there’s too many variables to monitor with different workouts each day. Use your strength component to measure your external load, this will be a more consistent figure. Whether it’s a dead lift, back squat or strict press. Record internal load a rate of perceived exertion, using a visual analogue score, see below.

The acute:chronic workloads apply to all levels of athlete, not just beginners and people returning from injury. Even at the top level our training intensity needs to be tailored to our own individual needs.

Below is a summary of the journal.

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Bourdon et al. (2017) Monitoring Athlete Training Loads: Consensus Statement Int J Sports Physiol Perform Performance

Complex movements and a neutral spine

Being aware of what a neutral spine feels like is a good start. But when incorporating it into more difficult movements, it requires patience and consistency.

Let’s start simple before making it complicated

Moving with integrity is essential to getting the best output from your exercise and with that, understanding the principals of neutral spinal position play a primary role. You could be pushing off to sprint or jumping up to block a shot or preparing for an Olympic lift, finding a neutral spine provides your limbs with a stable base to engage.

Maintaining a neutral spine

What is a neutral spine?sPINE

The design spine provides a wide range of movement in different directions, helped by having 25 mobile vertebral segments. This allows you to be highly functional. But not all spinal positions are efficient. It’s a neutral spine that evenly distributes stress through the complex tissue structures of the spine. This reduces the risk of injury when challenged and provides a strong platform for the arms and legs to work from. It also provides the least amount of tension on the nervous system as it branches out from the spinal column.

Looking at the supportive network of the spine, it’s made up of 3 arches. A slight inward cervical arch (neck), an outward thoracic arch (mid back) and inward curve at the Lumbar (lower back). Underneath the lumbar is the sacrum connecting to the pelvis.

Cannons being fired from a battleship have more power, stability and accuracy than once fired from a canoe.

Why do we need a neutral spine?

Physically it’s the most efficient position, but it doesn’t mean we need to be fixed in this shape at all times.

It does however become important when we throw complex movements into the mix. A complex movement is something that requires speed, power and timing from multiple muscle groups across multiple joints. Lacking the coordination of maintaining this posture during difficult movements not only compromises the spine but offers poor performance output.

An easy example of poor spinal position can be the dead lift. Often people race to get a heavier lift while ignoring the potential risks to the tissues of the spine. Finding a neutral position will not only be safe, but will offer better outcomes in developing strength.

Another example I see is the pull up. Coming over the bar there is often excessive chin poke and neck extension to clear the head over the bar. This compromises the neck, shoulders and upper back.

If you’re struggling with maintaining this spinal shape when doing complex movements you might want to remove an element of difficulty, such as weight, speed or scaling the movement. Develop better body awareness before making it more more challenging.

How to find your neutral spine

On the floor – 

  • Lying down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Tilt your pelvis up and down to feel the top and bottom of your sacrum, at the back of the pelvis.
  • Then you want to feel the middle of the sacrum, adjusting your pelvis, it will lie between the top and bottom of the tilt.
  • Then tuck your chin in without fully flattening your neck to the floor.Finding neutral spine

Once you’re confident with the shape, get up into standing and attempt to maintain it through movement. The video below, using a stick will provide feedback to keep you well positioned.

… and then once you’re confident with keeping this shape, slowly start incorporating it into heavier, faster movements. This will put you in a safer position and improve the results of your training.

 

Takeaways from the CrossFit Open

The Open has finally closed and with it comes a range of experiences at all levels. But using your results in training could help you become better athlete for next year.

The struggle you are in today is developing your strength for tomorrow.

The 2018 CrossFit Open has finally come to a close. From seasoned veteran to first timer, the last 5 weeks have physically pushed you to new limits. We have all gone through it together but each of you will have experienced it differently. The Open provides us with a milestone, a measure of our fitness from the past year and offers us with data moving into the new season of training.

Finding weak links

CrossFit HQ gets more creative every year with their programming. This exposes weakness of skills, abilities and fitness. Whether it’s strength and endurance or struggling with certain gymnastic movements. The aim of the open is to not only select the strongest in the pack and gain a sense of achievement, but also offer individuals an insight into their weaknesses.

Spending a bit of extra time on movements you’ve struggled with throughout the year will help you develop into a well rounded athlete and become more equipped for the following Open.

Developing a strategy

Running head first into a workout, like a bull in a china shop is not a great strategy for success. Understanding your abilities for each movement will help you form a strategy, like how many reps you’ll do before breaking? how long your break will be? etc.

This knowledge doesn’t come cheap. You’ll have to train through the year and learn your max reps for each movement and apply it to your training.

Overcoming your own doubt

For those entering the open for the first time, it can be quite daunting, with personal expectations and the competitive nature of the event. But when coach recommends you to go Rx, how many of you were surprised by the result? Who got their first pull up or handstand pushup?

Just going beyond those comfort zones gives you a glimpse of what’s possible for the rest of the year with regular training.

Small things can make the biggest difference

Looking after yourself during the open was crucial to getting the best result. How was your sleep quality? hydration? nutrition; pre and post workout? breath work? Did you spend time warming up and mobilising before the workout?

If any of these areas were neglected it will work to your advantage by making it a regular part of your regime in the new season.

Leaving the ego at the door

This years prescribed workouts got more technical from the 3rd week onward. For many who’ve just started CrossFit it’s important to know if your abilities lie within Rx or still need to be scaled. Coach might even advise you not to Rx if unable to maintain form or safely lift the weight. Try not to be discouraged by this, it was only to save you from the threat of injury, allowing you to carry on training following the Open.

If you struggled to reach Rx for a movement, use this as motivation to develop the strength or to practice the skill to be ready for the next open.

Having Fun

Isn’t this what it’s all about? Accept the suspense of waiting for the new workout to be announced. Enjoy the friendly competition between other members in the box and the drive that gives to achieving more than you thought possible. Enjoy the feeling of support from the community to get the best out of each other.

Well done with everyone that took part in the 2018 CrossFit Open and good luck with training for the new season.

Anterior Knee Pain in CrossFit

Anterior knee pain is common in most sports. In CrossFit there is a lot of repetitive knee flexion, through full range. Look after your knees to prevent this condition.

Anterior knee pain or Patellofemoral pain is quite the common condition within sports. It affects up to 20% of active individuals (1). With CrossFit athletes, there’s no hiding from repetitive knee flexion. Whether you’re squatting, box jumping, running or doing pistols the load on your knee cap is being carefully balanced. If the load is too much it causes pain around the patella.

Symptoms

Patellofemoral pain usually is at its worst when bending the knee, running, jumping, climbing stairs, squatting or kneeling. It can make a noise when the knee bends and sometimes there’s swelling over the knee.

Potential causes of Anterior Knee Pain

Unfortunately for the knee cap, it’s stuck in a tug of war from forces in different directions. This suspends the knee cap as it tracks within the grooves of the knee.


  • Muscle imbalances: The Vastus Lateralus (outer quad) and Vastus Medialus Oblique (inner quad) are the forces from either side. This is one of the most common issues where your VL is overly tight, sometimes with trigger points. This causes a shift of the knee cap away from midline resulting in more pressure on surface of the patella.

A tightness of the quads muscle, particularly Rectus Femorus causes an upwards force on the patella. When the knee is bent under load this puts extra pressure on the surface of the knee cap.

  • Biomechanics: Our body moves as a functional unit and often the knee pain is a result of something more global. The knee sits between two other mobile joints, the hip and ankle. The ankle may be rolling in or weak Glutes are causing too much internal rotation of the leg. This changes the direction of force through the knee and patella.
  • Overuse: Repeated movements especially with a new movement pattern can put higher demands on tissue. If you’ve only just started doing CrossFit or doing high reps of pistols or box jumps you may feel some anterior knee pain.

Prevention and Self treatment

This word strikes fear into most Crossfitters – REST.

While it’s understandable you still want to train, there needs to be a compromise. We want to reduce the number of days training the initial few weeks to allow symptoms to subside. We also need to restrict the some of the deeper knee flexion movements and high impact activities.

We want to offload the force reaction on the patella when bending the knee. The more knee flexion the more force reaction. Deep squats might not be a good idea to start with when feeling anterior knee pain (see the table).

force.jpg

Activity Force % Body Weight
Walking 334 N 1/2 x BW
Bike 905 N 1.3 x BW
Stair Ascend 1760 N 2.5 x BW
Stair Descend 4000 N 5.7 x BW
Jogging 7.7 x BW
Squatting 6375 N 7.6 x BW
Jumping 20 x BW
Schindler (2011) (2)

If you’re feeling anterior knee pain you want to stick within a comfortable pain-free range. Try to understand that this condition needs to be managed carefully and with patience to ensure a smooth recovery.

Stretching and mobilising is important, especially the quads. If you’re unable to lie on your stomach and pull your heel to your bottom it’s a sign that your quads are in a poor condition. Regular foam rolling and stretches of the quads, glutes and along the ITB will help prepare you for training and prevent the onset of a patella dysfunction.

Practice the movements you’re struggling with. Ask your coach to look at the movement for correction or to be scaled in the interim until you’ve developed the strength. Also, practice soft landings, if everyone in the gym can hear you land, that’s a lot of force being passed through the knees.

What to Expect from Fundamental Physio

If you’re struggling to recover on your own don’t wait too long. The longer you wait the more chronic it becomes and harder to recover from. Putting up with patellofemoral pain has been shown to accelerate the process of patella osteoarthritis (3). 

Firstly, assessing your knee to test the mechanics of the joint with a series of orthopaedic tests to clear for any other pathologies. Then looking at how your knee and leg moves with different functional tests. This will help identify where you’re struggling and where you may be compensating.

Once we’ve identified the problem areas treatment will be more specific to your problems. This may consist of manual therapy such as massage, joint mobilisation trigger point release and dry needling. Depending on the stage of your recovery, strapping techniques with rigid or kinesio tape.

First we must break you down and then rebuild you…

While the aim is to get you back to functional movements, there may be some individual muscles that might have weakened. You’ll likely start off with some isolated exercises to build strength and control. Then putting it all back together in a compound movement. Correcting your on position, weight distribution and depth. You’ll have a lot more body awareness, rather than just doing the movement and it’ll help prevent an injury like this happening again.

If you’re struggling with recovering on your own contact me on 09 5290990

  1. Lack et al (2015), Proximal muscle rehabilitation is effective for patellofemoral pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis. 
  2. Schindler (2011) Basic kinematics and biomechanics of the patello-femoral joint. Part 1: The native patella. Acta Orthop Belg.
  3. Crossley, (2014) Is patellofemoral osteoarthritis a common sequela of patellofemoral pain? 

The Holiday Workout

Most of us when on Holiday completely switch off from exercise. If you don’t want to miss out on training try some of these workouts.

This blog follows on from The Office Workout I published a few months ago. There are times we neglect exercise, most commonly in the Office and when taking time off, going on holiday.

The usual story is you’ve been training hard all year and then go on vacation. At home you’re a finely tuned machine with a strict routine. In holiday mode, that routine usually goes out the window. Now try not to fear, a week away from the gym will not cause significant losses in muscle mass or fitness.

But if you’re feeling fidgety and can’t just lie in the sun, I’ve put together some options. Also try making some up yourself, get creative with the movements you use in the gym.

Take a rope…

One of the easiest pieces of equipment you can take away. It’s small and light to carry. Work on singles or doubles. Develop your technique and surprise your training buddies when you get back.

75DU’s – 50 air squats – 25 burpees – 20 push ups – 25 burpees – 50 air squats – 75DU’s

Other DU options….

30 HSPU/Push ups – 40 Mountain limbers – 50 Sit ups – 60 Squats – 70DU’s

3 rounds: 20 DU’s – 30 Walking Lunges – 40 Push ups – 30 Squats – 20 V-sit ups – 10 Burpees

Use the ocean…

Unless you’re a CrossFit Games athlete, how often are you doing interval training with swimming?  Find a quite section of beach and jump in the water.

8 Rounds: 100m swim – 10 Push ups – 15 Sit ups

Other swimming options…

30 mins AMRAP 50m Swim – 10 Push ups – 15 Air squats

15 mins AMRAP 50m Swim – 30 seconds treading – 50m Swim 

Use the Beach…

The sand creates another challenge of instability that you don’t have in the gym. Train in the sand to make the workout harder.

5 Rounds: 10 Push ups – 15 Air squats – 50 Walking lunges – 10 Burpees

21 – 15 – 9 Push ups and Air squats – 400m run each round

15m Bear Crawl – 20 Push ups – 15m Crab Walk – 20 Squats – 15m Burpees broad jumps – 20 Mountain Climbers

Get Creative

Think of other possible ways of training on holiday. They might not always work but it’s worth trying.

What’s in a warm up?

There’s a misconception with the warm up, that it’s mainly used to raise the heart rate and body temperature. But there’s much more to this part of your workout. If applied appropriately it can enhance your overall performance.

Warming up before sport or any strenuous activity it’s important to reduce the risk of injury (1-3). For the typical adult most of the day is sedentary (sitting or standing). Would you expect to jump straight into your fastest 100m sprint or complete a heavy dead lift? No is hopefully your answer.

What structures am I warming up?

Vascular System

When you move, changes happen to your circulatory system. There is increased blood flow to muscles, resulting in increased oxygen supply, along with delayed lactate buildup. 

Myofascial System

During the warm up the muscle and fascia (the connective tissue between muscles) begin to increase in temperature. Muscle fibers are prepped for a smoother contraction. A warm up allows fascia to slide easier.

Nervous System

This is the most important part of a warm up. Your nervous system is connected to every other system in your body. A warm up causes increased neural activity, increased sensitivity of nerve receptors and increased speed of nerve impulses. This provides improved balance, faster reaction times, increased speed, strength and flexibility. 


Warming Up Excites Neural Pathways

The nervous system is constantly responding to a multitude of sensory information to adjust muscle tension, movement patterns and balance. If a light jog was your standard “warm up”, but you’re training for heavy dead lifts. Will you have channeled the right neural pathways for this activity?

There’s a study showing improvements in vertical jump performance following sets of squat repetitions (4). It also demonstrated increased EMG neural activity following the squats.

A baseball study showed improvements in batting speed following warm ups with a weighted bat (5). This enhanced the neural motor pattern of this movement providing more speed and strength.


What’s in a warm up?

Really a lot depends on what you’re preparing for. Consider what muscle groups and movement patterns need to be primed. You need to be firing up your neuromuscular system and increasing your heart rate to enhance the vascular system.

Mobility – If you’re not doing this in your spare time, then check-in 10 minutes earlier to do foam rolling or some static stretches for those notorious tight areas.

Cardio – The best way of increasing your heart rate is a light jog or cycle, jump on the rower or practice some skipping.

Dynamic movements – This is where our nervous system gets kick started. Working on these movements will fire up movement patterns used when performing. These movements should engage our core stabilisors of the spine.

Plyometrics – Implementing this into your warm up will help fine tune your motor skills and ensure precision when training.

Explosive strength – Once going through the above warm ups. It helps to use extra resistance to improve those neural connections. Back squats before box jumps. Chest passing medicine ball for passing speed. Weighted overhead throw for spiking or serving.

Take the warm up seriously. By incorporating these actions to your warm up you will see great results and minimise injury.

  1. Emery et al, (2010) The effectiveness of a neuromuscular prevention strategy to reduce injuries in youth soccer: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. 
  2. McCrary et al, (2015) A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury. 
  3. Al Attar et al, (2016) How Effective are F-MARC Injury Prevention Programs for Soccer Players? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med
  4. Sotiropoulos et al, (2010) Effects of Warm-Up on Vertical Jump Performance and Muscle Electrical Activity Using Half-Squats at Low and Moderate Intensity. J Sports Sci and Med
  5. McCrary et al, (2015) A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury. Br J Sports Med

Neck Pain

In New Zealand neck pain is a growing problem due to a more sedentary lifestyle. They can be tricky injuries to recover from. Take a look at how physio can help.

Neck pain is a growing musculoskeletal problem with more of us sitting over longer periods of time. But also from doing heavy manual jobs or exercise.

This condition can cause various symptoms, including the following:

  • PainNeck pain Symptoms 1
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasm
  • Referred pain (face, arm, mid back)
  • Headaches
  • Altered sensation (ie numbness/tingling)
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

These symptoms may be caused by strain to any of the structures around your spine. Structures such as the ligaments, muscles, joints, discs or nerves. Acute injuries are often brought on through excessive loading, this could be from an accident playing sport or in your vehicle.

Other more chronic forms of neck pain could have developed from an acute injury that was poorly managed. Or with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, the sustained postures can overload tissue of the neck.

Preventing Neck Pain

Your next posture is your best posture

Our body is designed to handle multiple positions. Set regular intervals every 20-30 minutes to change your sitting position. Try alternating between sitting and standing. See my other blog Sitting Posture how important is it really”

Lifting correctly

We’re not all Olympic lifters, but understanding the basic principles of lifting are important to preventing neck pain. Also understanding your limits to lifting. If it’s too heavy be honest with yourself and ask for help.

Keeping calm and dealing with stress

Stress can have a significant impact with pain and ignoring stressful situations can lead to the development of neck pain. Dealing with these gremlins will be great for you in so many ways. See my other blog on “Coping with stress”.

How can Physio help my neck pain?

Identifying the source of your injury is our primary goal with a detailed assessment. Once the root cause of your neck pain has been identified you will receive an effective evidence based treatment. Treatment may consist of the following.

The aim of the your rehab is to fully recover with the confidence to use your neck normally, without fear. Also to leave with a greater understanding of your neck to prevent any injuries in the future.

For an appointment, call on 095290990

Recovering from DOMS

Delayed muscle soreness after intense exercise is expected. There are proven ways of reducing these pains quickly to get back into your normal level of training

Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow

So we’ve discussed the specific differences of muscle soreness after a workout and soreness from an injury. When you get Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) it is quite annoying trying to continue with training. Knowing that with DOMS we get the following problems.

  • Strength can be reduced by up to 50%
  • Range of movement will be limited
  • Pain will last between 48-72 hours

Understanding these limitations, its important to scale the weight, the depths and distances to accommodate for these temporary draw backs. But there are ways of accelerating the recovery or at least making it more tolerable.

Protein BCAA glutamine1Proteins 

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. As muscle damage is the precursor to DOMS, supplying it with a good source of Amino acids has been show to assist in recovery. While having a well balanced diet, additional supplements of glutamine and BCAA’s can reduce the inevitable weakness post workout. It may even help with soreness. (1,2,3,4)

Vitamin D

vitamin-d-en-fb.jpgGetting a little bit of sunshine might not be enough. The latest NZ Ministry of Health stats showed 32% of the population had lower than normal Vit-D levels. There is a link between people low in vitamin D and increased pain sensitivities (5). Taking supplements of Vitamin D3 may help additional soreness.

1023029.jpgHeat

Jumping in the spa pool or a using the hot water bottle. Heat is always soothing but it has longer lasting benefits to use heat with DOMS for the overall recovery (6,7).

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry Juice muscle.jpgThis one is an unusual remedy but the benefits have been shown in this study (8). Following Exercise there was a 22% less weakness from the cherry drinking group, but no effect on pain. There are many natural anti inflammatory agents in cherries that is thought to help.

CoffeeCoffee Muscle soreness

I for one am pleased this is on the list, it gives me more reason to drink it! Studies have shown that caffeine helps lower pain levels and improve weakness during DOMS (9,10). Also helping increase number of reps compared to control groups.

Compression sleeveCompression Garments

Not necessarily for training, but post workout studies show that wearing compression tights or tops can reduce weakness and pain levels (11,12).

backsquat technqueTraining with DOMS

Even following the above strategies you will still have soreness and weakness. Consider this when training. You want to ensure your training for quality not quantity. Studies show training with soreness is acceptable and will temporarily reduce pain levels (13,14).

Myofascial Rolling (Foam Roller/Lacrosse ball)

Using foam rollers and lacrosse balls into tight tissues is a good way of preparing tissue for working through full ranges of movement. Through changes to mechanorecptors and nociceptors. There are studies showing benefit post workout and regular intervals during 48-72hours of DOMS (15,16).

References

  1. Song-Gyu, (2013), Combined effect of branched-chain amino acids and taurine supplementation on delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle damage in high-intensity eccentric exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutri
  2. Volek et al, (2013), BCAAs reduce muscle soreness (DOMS) J Int Soc Sports Nutr.
  3. Tajari et al, (2010), Assessment of the effect of L-glutamine supplementation on DOMS Brit J Sports Med
  4. Glyn et al, (2012), Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc of Sports Nutri
  5. Plotnikoff et al, (2003), Prevalence of severe hypovitaminosis D in patients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain. Mayo Clin Proc
  6. Mayer et al. (2006), Continuous low-level heat wrap therapy for the prevention and early phase treatment of delayed-onset muscle soreness of the low back: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehab
  7. Petrofsky et al, (2017), The Efficacy of Sustained Heat Treatment on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. Cl J of Sport Med
  8. Connolly et al, (2006), Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damageBr J Sports Med.
  9. Maridakis et al, (2007), Caffeine attenuates delayed-onset muscle pain and force loss following eccentric exercise. J Pain
  10. Hurley et al, (2013),  The Effect of Caffeine Ingestion on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. J Strength Cond Res
  11. Hill et al, (2014), Compression garments and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage: a meta-analysis. Brit J of Sports Med
  12. Armstrong et al (2015), Compression socks and functional recovery following marathon running: a randomized controlled trial. J Strength and Con Res
  13. Zainuddin et al, (2006), Light concentric exercise has a temporarily analgesic effect on delayed-onset muscle soreness, but no effect on recovery from eccentric exercise. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab
  14. Trevor et al, (2008), Effects of a 30-min running performed daily after downhill running on recovery of muscle function and running economy. J Sci and Med Sport,
  15. Pearcey et al, (2015), Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. J Ath Training
  16. MacDonald et al, (2014). Foam rolling as a recovery tool after an intense bout of physical activity. Med Sci Sports & Exs