React Fast

If you play a team sport you may be familiar with reaction training. Basically it’s training to react to situations quickly and continue play. 

For example in hockey or football you need to be alert as to where the ball is going, other players etc which could mean you have to stop and change direction quickly and frequently at speed. Being able to do this firstly makes you a better player but also having trained your body to do this means it is less prone to injury in this situation.

I also had a think about whether reaction training would apply to more solitary sports such as running or cycling and I believe the answer is yes. If you run off road then you constantly need to adapt to the ground underneath you, and if you’re a cyclist the terrain, other cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles could be moving around you that you may need to react to.

There are various ways in which sports teams add this into their training.

Here are a couple of simple ways you can help train your fast reactions.

  • Reaction ball-These little bouncy balls are odd shaped and when you bounce them on the floor they fire off in any direction meaning you have to react fast to catch it! 
  • Using a timer set it for say 20/30 secs then put it somewhere you can hear it but not see it. Sprint as fast as you can, then when the buzzer goes stop dead and change direction.

 

Pain got you Sidelined

If there is one thing I am totally obsessed with in training its Stability (I’m talking physical not mental we ain’t got time for that discussion!) 

Stability means strong and balanced. Strength is such an important part of injury prevention and of course in rehabilitation.

I see a lot of niggly injuries in my studio often hip pain, calf problems and lower back pain that can seem like they might put an end to that person’s sport. 

Often that person will have tried stretching to no avail, maybe it feels better for a bit but as soon as they run, cycle etc. the pain returns.

With some assessment of movement patterns it becomes clear that there is either a lack of strength, an asymmetry or a dysfunction in the movement pattern that although may not be repeated exactly in the sport will affect the biomechanics of that pattern too. 

You may think with a strong set of thighs on show surely that isn’t possible? 

The thing is, there is more to strength and stability than just the big muscles. We also have lots of stabiliser muscles that play a huge part in how those big muscles function.

I  often start with the hips as they are the centre of the body, and therefore responsible for a huge part of the stability of the whole skeleton. They stabilise the spine and therefore the limbs that attach to it. 

Hip Stability can be improved with some really basic (not necessarily easy!) exercises. 

 

Some of my favourites include.

 

Hip Hitch Single Leg Squat

Single Leg Squat -With a ball or TRX for support

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift – If you do have Calf issues try them on your tip toes to really work on your strength here. 

Curtsy Lunge to 1 leg balance. 

Recovery Rolling

If you take part in regular exercise or sport it is really important to do some mobility work to keep your muscles moving freely.

 

When we train, our muscles micro tear and then build back stronger. In order to maintain their length and therefore your flexibility we need to ease out the scar tissue that has repaired the micro tears. 

 

There are several ways you can do this but this week I’m going to focus on foam rolling and trigger point ball work.

 

Foam Rolling is essentially self massage. It stimulates the tissues, increases blood flow to the area which encourages the bodies natural healing process and releases the fascia-the long bands of connective tissue that connects you from head to foot.

 

So, how do you get started? Obviously you need a foam roller and you can get soft ones, hard ones, knobbly ones (stop it!) and it’s personal preference as to which one you like.

 

It’s really simple there is no great technique to foam rolling just do what feels good.

 

Today let’s focus on an area that most people find gets sore after a heavy training session -Legs!

 

The front of your thighs -Quads

 

and the back of your thighs-Hamstrings can be done by simply lying with your legs on the roller, your arms holding you up and rolling your legs up and down. 

The Glutes and Hip I like to do with a ball although you can do it on a roller. However, using a tennis ball, hockey ball or physio ball put the ball in your bum cheek and either sit or lie down and roll around a little on it. Rotate the leg in and out see how that feels, then move the ball further out towards your hip and start again. This can help to release the Piriformis which is often linked to lower back, hip and Sciatica pain.