by Dan Staton
The sportsman must possess confidence in his or her bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. The grind of on your feet hunting for 12+ hours on a day-to-day basis can be a recipe for injury due to the repetitive movement and tissue tolerance threshold. The muscles that commonly receive the most use day in and day out are the ones susceptible to overuse injury. As a sportsman, you should be concerned with repetitive loading of the shoulder joint (capsule), lower back, hips and knees. To be appropriately prepared for this type of grueling activity, we must address the smaller muscles that stabilize and keep the body in constant alignment. With injury prevention component of our program the outdoorsmen can rest assure their stabilizer and neutralizer muscles function properly and remain durable. These are the muscles that primarily make up your hips and torso. Keeping these muscles durable means you decrease your injury potential and last longer in the outdoors!
Injuries common to any outdoor enthusiast include muscle strains, tendonitis, ligament sprains, and bursitis. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon, or the structure that connects muscle to bone. Muscle strains are tears in the muscle belly or tendon and are also known as pulled muscles. Ligament sprains are tears to a ligament. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, which is a flat fluid-filled sac. Bursas are located in places of the body affected by high amounts of movement, IE your knees and shoulders. Bursa aid in reduction of friction and enable the parts to slide and glide more freely. The outdoorsmen are susceptible to bursitis in the shoulder, elbow, hips, and the knees.
To stay healthy requires many types of fitness and specific skills. Pushing too hard before your body is ready will cause injury. Always use good body mechanics in and out of the field. When exercising try to maintain good posture and a neutral spine when you lift, run throw, jump, and run. Good technique doesn’t hurt. Also, don’t train intensely before your body is ready. The easiest way to get injured is to train too hard, too fast. Getting in shape gradually means allowing your body a chance to adapt to the rigors of training when attempting to build general fitness. You cannot force your body to increase strength, power, endurance and speed overnight. Take your time and let your body adapt at its own rate. The best tool for injury prevention in my opinion is developing a well rounded fitness portfolio. Structure your program so that some days you emphasize endurance and other days you emphasize strength and power. If you are interested in high-skill sports such as tennis or volleyball, structure your program so that fitness development does not interfere with your capacity to learn sports movements. Basically, be good at a lot of things, keep your fitness broad, and your work capacity high.
Injury prevention is basically your proactive approach to protecting yourself from injury. Core strength, which is comprised of hip, shoulder and core stability, is the foundation to efficient human movement and is critical to optimizing performance and health.
Objective: Improves shoulder stability, thus further strengthening your rotator cuffs. Also to improve scapular strength and muscle recruitment patterns.
Movement: Pull your shoulder blades in toward your spine and extend your arms to the sides to create a “T” with your torso. Keep your arms long and straight, 90 degrees to your torso. Your thumbs should be up and pointed toward the ceiling.
Glute Bridge (Both Legs & Single Leg)
Objective: To activate, develop, and improve the firing and muscle-recruitment patterns of the posterior chain ( hamstrings, glutes, and lower back).
Movement: With abs drawn in towards the floor, bridge your hips toward the ceiling by firing your glutes of the leg that is planted into the ground. Only your shoulders and heel of your foot remain on the ground. Maintain a strong hip contraction through the range of motion. Hold, then your lower your hips toward the floor without touching it and then repeat.