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11 July 2013

Rehabilitation or Prehabilitation?

Pain is a big motivator.

People tend to do things when pain is involved. They tend to listen more, they tend to do their exercises more frequently and they tend to be more motivated to try to get out of pain.

This is because most people are very reactive in their behaviour. When something is broken, they will try to fix it. When something goes wrong, they will try to correct it. When they are in pain, they will try to get out of pain.

But how about if you took a more preventative approach to things? If you knew there was a certain problem that may arise, would you try to do everything in your power to try to avoid it from happening? If you knew that a certain activity would potentially cause you pain, would you try to minimise the risk of pain? This is where prehabilitation comes into it.

Prehabilitation is the act of realising a certain activity has its risks and certain factors may cause specific things to go wrong. So it takes these things into account and maps out a preventative approach to decrease the risk of these things happening.

To make this more clear, lets take the marathon runner as an example. Because of the distances and sheer volume of training the average runner performs in the build up to a marathon a little niggle or slight injury becomes accentuated in the lead up to the race. As the volume increases so does the pain. And that little pain in the knee, hip, ankle etc starts to become so painful that they have to stop training and see a specialist to get it fixed. This can mean that the runner misses out on weeks of training and in some cases can’t actually complete the event. If you walk into any physiotherapy practice about a month out from a marathon, you will see an office full of runners waiting for that magic cure to get them through the run.

A better approach is to get a complete analysis of the body before all of this high volume training commences, integrate a corrective and preventative strategy to their training and then hit the training hard without the risk of injury. Makes perfect sense really.

So as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So prevent the injuries from happening and spend more time doing what you enjoy, training and racing, and less time trying to get fixed.

We at Equilibrium Personal Training can help you devise a good preventative strategy to your overall training through our Whole Body MOT. If you would like us to help you, please contact us here.

Take care and happy training,



4 July 2013

Want to Ride Faster? Stabilise Your Pelvis.

Yes, Le Tour De France is here. For those of you into cycling, this is the race that everyone has been waiting for. This is ‘The Race’! Will your favourite rider win the ‘Maillot Jaune’? Will Cavandish finish in ‘green’? Who will be the ‘king of the mountains’? For others new to cycling you are probably just trying to work out why they put their bodies through so much pain for three weeks. Or why would you keep riding when you have a broken pelvis, like Geraint Thomas? Or broken clavicle, like Tyler Hamilton. Because it is Le Tour De France is generally the answer.

When you are watching this race, it is amazing that they go so fast with what seems to be very little effort. The television doesn’t really do it justice when you see them flying up mountains, or reaching speeds of up to 60km/hr in a time trial. The difference between the average mortal and these incredible athletes is huge, but for today’s article I want to focus on one area where you could improve to help you go faster. Pelvic Stability.

Next time you watch Le Tour, or any other bike ride for that matter, look at how much movement occurs around their pelvis…pretty much none at all. Now next time you are out for a ride look at other cyclists around you. Without making it too obvious of course. Look at how much their pelvis rocks when they cycle. I was out on a bike ride the other weekend and the cyclist in front of me was starting a climb. The more effort he put into pushing those pedals down, the more his pelvis rocked from side to side. About 30% of all his effort was being lost because his pelvis wasn’t anchored down sufficiently. Every time he pushed down on a pedal, the pelvis on the same side lifted up. This has two effects on the body. Firstly, it places a lot of stress on the lower spine, and secondly it decreases the amount of force being generated through the pedals. If that same rider had a very stable pelvis, then all of his efforts would be spent propelling him forward and a lot faster too.

The trouble with cyclists, and I am a cyclist, is that they only think about cycling to get their bodies fitter and faster. This is slowly changing, but a lot of work can be done off the bike to get the body stronger and more efficient. And the end result is that they ride faster. Now that is a goal that most cyclists want to achieve.

Moat people will think about strengthening their legs to push the pedals around faster. This is true, however, if your legs are much stronger than your muscles surrounding your pelvis you will be losing that much power as discussed previously. Your pelvic stabilisers need to be as strong if not stronger so that every pedal stroke is used to push yourself forward not just wasted effort.

When thinking about pelvic stability aim to attack it from every angle. When you are pedalling, you will be working mainly in the sagittal plane (forward plane) to produce force. You will be requiring a lot of frontal plane stability (side to side). When hitting the gym, make sure that you find someone who understands the biomechanics of the cycling action who is either a cyclist themselves or is a Performance Enhancement Specialist.

Every person will be different with their pelvic stability requirements. They will have their own special requirements depending upon what is working in the first place. Make sure you get a complete assessment to determine what is best for you. Otherwise you may be training areas that are already stronger and not focusing on areas that actually need the work.

If you need more assistance in this then we can help you by taking you through a Whole Body MOT.

Good luck with it all and if you need any further assistance, just drop me a line.

Happy Cycling,