“Prehab”: Three Exercises That Will Keep You Pain-Free

Posted On Oct 17, 2013 By Tom Holland

Injury Prevention

Far too many people experience pain throughout their lifetime, suffering injuries that can lead to weeks and weeks of rehabilitation with a physical therapist. For example, experts say that at least 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. The good news is that much of this pain is completely avoidable by means of targeted strength training.

I have said it for years: there are a few specific exercises that you either choose to do now or you will pay a physical therapist to make you do later. Without having these exercises in your repertoire, it’s not a question of if you will do them but when. These exercises target three of the most vulnerable and therefore most problematic areas of our bodies: our shoulder joints, our lower back and our knees.

We need to be proactive and protect these areas by strengthening the muscles that support them. The weaker these body parts are, the more susceptible they are to injury. The great news that is that performing just one or two sets of one exercise per body part a few times per week will reap huge rewards when it comes to injury prevention. And it takes a ridiculously small investment of time. These workouts involve just about five minutes total to strengthen and protect all three body parts.

The Shoulder Joint: Internal and External Rotation

Our shoulder joints are the most mobile and therefore the most susceptible to potential injury. Rotator cuff problems are extremely common. Anyone who has experienced a rotator cuff injury is most likely familiar with the internal and external rotation exercise. People who participate in throwing sports like baseball and softball and racquet sports like tennis and squash are all at increased risk of a rotator cuff injury. But it is not just sports that can cause injury to these joints; our activities of daily living often lead to problems as well. So everyone can benefit from performing this proactive internal and external shoulder rotation exercise.

Shoulder Internal Rotation:

internal-rotation

Shoulder External Rotation:

external-rotation


The Lower Back: Back Extensions

It is incredible how many people experience back pain on a daily basis. Our sedentary lives and tendency towards carrying excess weight contribute greatly to lower back dysfunction. Performing just 1 to 2 sets of 10 repetitions a few times per week of a back extension exercise like the Superman will strengthen the spinal erector muscles and help prevent back pain from ever occurring.

lower-back-extension

 

The  Knees: Lunges

I cannot count how many people over the years have told me they have “bad knees.” What they really should say is that they experience knee pain; this is commonly due to lower leg musculature that is either weak, unbalanced or both. The simple stationary lunge exercise, a functional exercise and a movement that we perform dozens of times during our daily activities, will help strengthen and balance the muscles that support the knee joint, helping to make it as strong and stable as possible.

lunge

Prehab: It’s just a few minutes of exercise performed several times per week, but it will help make your body “bulletproof,” significantly lessening the likelihood of injury and allowing you to go through life pain-free.