Tag Archives: injury risk reduction

Shorten Your Running Stride to Reduce Injury Risk

27 Apr

Steve Prefontaine of Oregon set a U.S. record in the 3,000-meter race on Saturday, June 26, 1972 in the Rose Festival Track Meet at Gresham, Oregon. His time was 7 minutes, 45.8 seconds. Profontaine will run 5,000 meters in the U.S. Olympic Trials which get underway on Thursday in Eugene. (AP Photo/Clark)

If you’re a runner — or if running is part of your training — shortening your stride can reduce your injury risk, according to research from Iowa State University.

Here’s the rationale: Reducing your stride length by as little as 5-10% places less strain on commonly injured areas, such as IT (Iliotibial) bands and knees.  The Iliotibial band is the connective tissue (ligament) extending from the pelvic bone to the shinbone. IT band syndrome occurs when this ligament becomes so tight that it rubs against the thighbone. Distance runners are especially susceptible to it.

Because shorter strides are less jarring, they help to reduce and ease the impact on these vulnerable areas.

Shorter strides are also more efficient, helping to improve your overall running economy.


Your thoughts?


Core Strength and Stability is the Key

15 Jun

bosu-ball-exercise-ball-elevated-push-up_-_step_2.max.v1[1]If you’re an athlete training to improve your performance, developing a strong, stable core — shoulders through hips, and not just abs — should be a priority.

Since every athlete’s strength and power are generated from the core musculature, movement-based, multi-joint exercises — including rotational and anti-rotational exercises — are important components of a well-designed strength and conditioning plan.

Here’s an article from EXOS titled, Why a Strong Pillar is Critical for Soccer, that discussed and simplifies the benefits of a strong, stable core, including:

  • Balance and stability
  • More effective and efficient movement
  • More muscular endurance/less muscular fatigue
  • Injury risk reduction

Although the article addresses soccer, the principles apply to all athletes and sports.


Your thoughts?

Use a Lightweight Baseball to Improve Throwing/Arm Swing Velocity

27 Jan

pitcher in controlWhen my son played youth baseball, weighted baseballs were all the rage.  Just a few ounces heavier than a regulation-weight baseball — and available in a few different weights — these balls supposedly helped players to improve arm strength and throwing velocity.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the effects of lightweight (4.4 oz.) baseballs with regulation-weight baseballs (which weigh between 5.0 and 5.25 ounces) on throwing accuracy, throwing velocity, arm swing velocity, and minimum shoulder external rotation, in adolescent players.

Study authors found that “pitching training with an appropriate lightweight baseball substantially enhanced the arm swing velocity and throwing velocity of the adolescent baseball players,” and can “reduce the risk of injury without altering pitching patterns.” (Yang, et.al.)

“Compared with regulation-weight baseballs, lightweight baseballs generate lower torque on the shoulder and elbow joints without altering the pitching movement and timing.”

Using a lightweight baseball “teaches” faster throwing motion muscle memory, whereas using a weighted baseball slows down pitching motion and, subsequently, muscle memory.  Similar studies have been conducted — with similar results seen — using a lightweight bat instead of a weighted bat, as it relates to the development of bat swing velocity.


Your thoughts?

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