The rehabilitation process following surgery or injury can be short-lived and limited, leaving patients in a gap between clinical goals and performance goals. In this article, we look at how personal training can fill this gap, seeing patients safely on a trajectory back to full sports performance.
Rehabilitation – a gap in goals
Have you ever found yourself in a seemingly never-ending cycle of sport, injury and rehabilitation? Do you find those old injuries keep cropping up to haunt you, or you just get over one problem to find yourself hampered by another?
From a clinical perspective, rehabilitation aims to hit certain goals, which are mostly to do with daily activities. So, once you can walk, climb the stairs and drive your car without pain, you may find yourself left to your own devices, at best with a list of exercises (which you may well then forget to do!)
From the other perspective, personal training or coaching aims to drive the healthy athlete towards peak performance. Trainers are experts at exercise selection and progressive loading to improve fitness. However, there are limits to the trainer’s scope of practice. The transition of someone with a newly reconstructed knee ligament, for example, from basic function to training for full sports performance is a grey area and requires careful monitoring. A good personal trainer will always liaise with a treating clinician if there are any doubts.
Personal training – bridging the gap with corrective exercise
The practice of corrective exercise takes you on the journey from wellness – in a clinical sense – to full fitness, increased strength, or sporting performance. Your personal goals define the outcome.
Corrective exercise, as part of the rehabilitation process, gradually builds up strength and control. As healing takes place, personal training ensures the full integration of movement patterns. Incorporating the injured limb into full body movements mimics the needs of sporting performance, but it needs careful progression. Our Corrective Exercise Specialist understands how to build on your current level of function, whatever that might be.
If you already have rehabilitation exercises, a personal trainer will help you continue with them. It’s all too easy to lose the correct form or forget the specifics of these exercises. Having someone on hand to offer guidance can keep you on track.
Personal training with a Corrective Exercise Specialist then takes you further. It incorporates strength, flexibility and endurance skills that meet the physical demands of your chosen sport. If you’re a dancer, for instance, eccentric control in the lower limb is essential for landing safely.
A Corrective Exercise Specialist unpacks the requirements of your sport or activity. They ensure your training plan is tailored to your specific needs, while remaining within the limits of your current ability.
Rehab is good – but prevention is better
Assessing your movement quality and looking for weaknesses in the kinetic chains that are important for your sport may unlock the reason that your injury occurred in the first place.
For example, knee valgus (inward angulation) combined with limited knee flexion have been implicated in damage to the ACL, a main ligament in the knee. Knee valgus during movement is largely controlled by the gluteal muscles, so weakness here could predispose to ACL injury.
This kind of assessment is particularly useful if you have recurring injuries. Rehabilitation may only go as far as targeting the damaged tissue. Correcting your movement patterns can prevent that damage happening, interrupting the vicious cycle of injury.
And this is equally important for injury prevention. Personal training with a Corrective Exercise Specialist can identify issues and remedy them before you end up requiring rehab or even surgery.
Chronic injury or recurring rehab needs?
If the time for prevention has passed, and you’re already in a recurring cycle of injury and rehab, don’t despair. This is where corrective exercise comes into its own.
The full-body evaluation you’ll receive from a Corrective Exercise Specialist can identify the weaknesses or imbalances in your movement patterns that keeps you vulnerable to injury.
Rehabilitation of these chronic problems requires devising a plan that will address strength, balance and flexibility throughout the body. Ensuring that all parts are fully integrated into the whole kinetic chain is the cornerstone of successful and long-lasting rehab.
Interested in personal training?
If you’re looking for a way to break an injury cycle, or you’re keen to prevent injuries hampering your performance, consult our NASM-qualified Corrective Exercise Specialist, Jacqui Chan.
Specialising in one-to-one personal training, Jacqui works with people who are nervous about how to exercise safely or find gyms intimidating.
You can book with Jacqui here.