It’s summer and its bloody hot, but most football and netball clubs are starting their preseason training to prepare themselves for the 2019 season.

Preseason is not just about developing fitness for round one, it’s also about developing a level of conditioning that sees you through the season without breaking down. Because let’s face it, Injuries cost premierships.

Soft tissue injuries such as hamstring and quadriceps strains are common in field sports including football and soccer, and they can have a real impact on player performance particularly towards the end of the season.

CONSIDER THIS SCENARIO:

Its round 14 during the season, you’ve got plenty of games under your belt and have developed some good match-fitness. Then you strain your hamstring. Let’s say that you miss 3 weeks due to recovery, which includes 1-2 weeks of modified training. This means you’ll be back playing round 18, which just so happens to be the last round before finals start.

The trouble is, because of the lighter weeks on the track, you will have lost some of your conditioning. If you look at Table 1 below, you’ll see what I mean.

As you can see, 2 weeks training at 40% then takes a further 2.5 weeks of full training to get back up to speed. So really, it takes 4-5 weeks to get back to where you were pre-injury. Which essentially means you’ll be going into finals underdone. Now if you have a couple players in the same boat, it’s easy to understand how injuries can devastate a team.

WHO IS AT GREATER RISK?

Risk factors for soft tissue injuries do vary depending on the muscle group, however there are two risks factors that are common for all:

  1. Previous injury
  2. Age (>30)

Now obviously you can’t change you age or injury history. However, you can significantly reduce to risk of soft tissue injury with a couple of simple eccentric-strengthening exercises. The benefits of these exercises are listed here, and they can reduce the risk of injury by up to 51%.

REDUCE SOFT TISSUE INJURIES THIS SEASON

Try adding these exercises at the end of you training routine, They don’t require any equipment and don’t take long to perform. But don’t be fooled, they are quite tough! Start with 2 sets of 5 reps and build from there as you become accustomed to it.

Nordic Hamstrings

Get a partner to stabilise your ankles, slowly lean forwards from your knees (you will feels your hamstrings tighten straight away). lean as far forward as you can, then fall to the ground catching yourself with your arms.

Reverse Nordic’s (Nordic Quadriceps)

Starting in a kneeling position, slowly lean backwards from your knees as far as you can control (you should feel this working your quads), then bring yourself back to the starting position. Try not to bend at the hip. You can also place or a roller or towel under you ankles to make it more comfortable.

 

Well done for all those who have started preseason, your effort now will pay dividends later the year!

For a pre-season fitness assessment, or for more information, give Peak Sports Physiotherapy a call on 03 5721 4162.

Cheers,

Todd Bird

 

References:

Frenkleton, G., Pizzari, T. (2013). Risk factors for hamstring muscle strain injury in sport: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47. 351-358

Al Attir, W., et.al. (2017). The effect of injury prevention programs that include the Nordic hamstring exercise on hamstring injury rates in soccer players: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports medicine, 47(5), 907-916

Australian Institute of Sport. (2015). Prescription of training load in relation to loading and unloading phases of training.