Why is load management so important to stay injury-free?
Did you know, there is no such thing as good and bad exercise? There aren’t exercises that are dangerous and there aren’t exercises that are safe. There are just exercises.
The factor that determines whether it is safe or not, comes down to your current capacity and your ability to manage load.
Any exercise can be an exercise that causes injury, just like any exercise can be one that can rehabilitate. Sounds crazy right?
Every single muscle and tendon in your body has its own specific load tolerance and if we consistently cross that threshold, damage to the tissue occurs – even with “perfect form”.
Repeated stress causes small microtraumas on the tissue – which if left untreated can develop further into things like tendinopathies, and muscle strains, etc…
This is where load management comes into play. But what does it mean?
Load management is used to monitor and manage the training loads of athletes to reduce injury and to help them perform to the best of their ability.
There are two ways we can increase the load when training.
- By increasing the mechanical difficulty of the exercise
(changing the angle of force production and or how long we spend in that position).
- By adding external weight.
Today I want to talk about the first option. Your setup and execution of an exercise is a form of load management and if done correctly, should determine the (external) load applied you add. Not the other way around.
For example, 2 people can complete the same reps, sets and weight of a movement and experience a totally different outcome due to the loading parameters and biomechanical levers.
By simply changing the joint angle, lever length or making one small change to how you move can have massive effects up and down the kinetic chain.
“Everything affects something and something affects everything”.
For example: An athlete may find that by changing their feet position during a squat will have a different effect on various parts of their body.
Some will prefer a closer stance, whilst some will prefer a wider stance.
The stance may affect their shin angle, hip angles and torso angle and therefore will have ramifications correlated. (positive or negative).
There is no such thing as a universal “perfect” position, but there are definitely parameters that we like to see as a standard and will determine whether someone is biomechanically in their optimised state.
It’s important to understand how body parts interact with each other and to be able to find the prime setup for performance and injury-free movement for each individual.
The body is an amazing thing and there are a million ways to skin a cat, however, rather than resorting to reducing range of motion, we much prefer to help our clients with a more technical intervention in order to see faster improvements and long term benefit.
Video your lifts, video the painful movements and look for solutions that will enable you to develop strength throughout a large range of motion without pain so that you can learn to produce force and manage your capacity.
Remember: Any exercise can be an exercise that causes injury, just like any exercise can be one that can rehabilitate