As physiotherapists, we specialize in rehabilitation after injury. Our goal is to get you back to your usual physical routine as soon as possible, and reduce the likelihood of future injuries. On the blog today, we discuss how prehab exercises will prepare your body for safe movement—and less injuries—over the long term.
What is Prehab?
Rehab is short for “rehabilitation”, which means to restore something or someone to original condition or health before illness, injury or incapacitation. If someone injures their knees running, they begin specific rehab exercises and receive manual therapy as a potential treatment. The goal of rehab is to return to the natural or previous state of activity. Rehab is a response to an injury or surgery. Though absolutely necessary at times, rehab is retroactive.
By contrast, prehab is proactive. Prehab means ”pre-rehab”, meaning the period before an injury occurs. It’s more than just a good warmup—it involves exercises that target commonly injured areas. By exercising specific areas, you will prevent smaller problems becoming bigger over time. The goal of prehab exercises are to reduce the likelihood of injury, or lessen the severity of an injury.
Think about it like car maintenance. When the oil is low, you fill it up before your vehicle dies. Before winter comes, you get it rust-proofed to reduce salt corrosion. There are certain components of the car that, if neglected, will turn into huge problems down the road. The same goes for the importance of prehab. Although our bodies are not machines that just need oiling once in a while, you get the point.
Why is Prehab Important?
Prehab prepares the body for healthy movement over the long haul. Prehab exercises promote better joint mobility, increased strength, and improved stability. Practicing better movement patterns will reduce the likelihood and severity of future injuries, as we discussed on the blog a few weeks ago. While rehab is essential to injury recovery, the goal is to reduce injuries in the first place.
Let’s be honest: doing bird dogs and hip mobility exercises aren’t as quite as thrilling as lifting heavy weights or beating your 10k personal record. But without a good prehab routine, the risk of injury increases significantly. If you still want to deadlift or run half marathons in 10 years, it’s time to get serious about smart training.
Start Incorporating Prehab Exercises Into Your Routine
Sadly, we can’t suggest a one-size-fits all prehab routine here, because it depends on each person. A long-distance runner and a weightlifter face different challenges, and thus require unique mobility, strength and stability exercises. Moreover, environmental factors play a role. Our modern lifestyles don’t exactly promote healthy posture or alignment.
Generally, prehab routines tend to focus on hips, knees, core and shoulders. Examples include:
- Controlled articular rotations (CARs) to improve mobility
- Bird dogs and dead bugs
- Banded lateral walks
- Banded pull-aparts
- Bear crawls
Proper form is absolutely essential when it comes to these focused movements. Our bodies remember movement patterns, so repeating exercises with non-optimal alignment won’t help in the long run.
Typically these exercises are focused, controlled and, frankly, tedious. But if you want to get ahead of an exercise injury, it’s time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Your body will thank you for it.
Get in Touch
Want to learn more about how to incorporate better movement patterns to reduce the risk of injury? Get in touch with us today. Through our TelePhysio service, we are fully operational and ready to get you on the road to recovery.