As the adage goes “Prevention is better than cure”. So, let us get down to the brass tacks on how to prevent sports injuries and different physical pains.
In my previous article, I have mentioned about agonist (supporting muscles) and antagonist (opposite muscle) groups, now since sports or playing a sport is not conditioning, we will be better off by practising conditioning to play a sport efficiently.
When conditioning is done for any sport in the form of resistance-training, the first rule is to do it slow. Every millimetre of any movement done with resistance should be done, even by default, slow.
Movement done with explosive speed against resistance will place undue stress on the connective tissue which is non-flexible — for example, ligaments and tendons — and hence is liable to snap. Only the muscle and fascia are flexible.
Of muscle strength & flexibility
As I have previously mentioned, when one group of muscle contracts, the opposite group stretches and the resistance-training protocol dictates that every movement must be done through the concerned joints’ full range which enhances the strength of the muscles concerned through its full length which further enhances its flexibility, thus reducing the possibility of injury.
Another perspective to practice resistance training is — a person’s energy is always higher than the resistance s/he might be using in the regular course of training and it has already been proven by science that force has the ability to cause an injury.
Diminishing injury chances
By virtue of training with resistance for the past 36 years, it’s my personal experience too that instead of applying unbridled force in the beginning of a set of an exercise, moving against the resistance slowly, will totally eliminate the possibility of an injury.
And when the muscle is taken to the point of momentary muscular failure, which, when given rest without making any further inroads into the muscle’s recovery ability, hypertrophies the muscle and the strength developed. Hence, it enhances a sportsperson’s performance and diminishes the chances of injury.
Remember, when training with weights, the chances of injury are more only in the beginning of an exercise and rarely towards the end, as one does not have enough energy at the end of a set to cause an injury.
The finishing repetitions of an exercise are rather the most productive as it is only when the existing muscle fibres are broken down (microtrauma), the system compensates by providing for bigger and stronger muscle fibres (myofibrils) which is called muscular hypertrophy.
Three kinds of pain
One should be able to clearly distinguish the different kinds of physical pains. Of them, our concern are the basic three: Injury pain, Chronic pain, Muscle soreness.
Injury pain: Its cause is majorly because of an accident or an impact which is beyond the body’s ability to tolerate.
Chronic pain: Pain which progressively develops due to muscular disuse and muscular atrophy which results in strength imbalances in antagonistic muscle groups due to which malalignment of the skeletal structure results.
Muscle soreness: Microtrauma, which is tearing of muscle fibre microscopically, causes this pain. This is also called good pain as it is voluntarily imposed and can also be a result of using the muscle from a new angle of contraction. This kind of pain signifies that the body will have to compensate for the microscopic myofibril tears by building up stronger and bigger fibres which is known as muscular hypertrophy.