by Red Deer Personal Trainer, Chantal Froehler -360 Fitness , CPT, SF
Over the past few years, I have trained quite a few young female athletes as a Red Deer personal trainer. In order to prevent injury, these young athletes must not over work muscles, must strengthen their core and back muscles, focus on strength training and of course use stretching as a tool for prevention and not only AFTER an injury.
One of the biggest things with female athletes is the over use of certain muscles. For example, if they are hockey players, their legs are over used along with their hip flexors. Muscle balance is one big thing that will prevent injury. Most young athletes need to focus on muscle balance and training all muscles regardless of their sport. When training or exercising, it is important to make sure they also work the opposing muscles; if they’re doing triceps, they must also do biceps. If they’re doing quads, they must make sure they’re also doing hamstrings. It’s important to work all areas and big muscles regardless which sport they are competing in.
Also of equal importance, regardless of what sport young athletes play, one big area that needs to be strengthened is their core and their backs. Strengthening their back muscles will help quite a few things and prevent injury. With a strong core, athletes reduce the strain in their lower backs. A lot of the time, athletes complain about stiff backs or very sore lower backs, and usually it’s due to an extremely weak core.
With strong backs, it helps athletes with their posture and will also make them much stronger and able to perform at a higher level. Things such as doing push ups with a tight core and touching chest to floor helps the back, along with pull ups and seated rows. Backs are often forgotten in training but are one of the most important muscle groups to remember. Keeping core engaged throughout every training session will help make the core stronger and maintain correct form during workouts.
Often people think strength training for young athletes is unnecessary, when in fact it can help athletes avoid injury and be five steps ahead of most of their team mates. As well, muscle recovery will be quicker and their performance on the field, court or ice will increase drastically. Strength training done correctly at a young age will help a young athletes performance and injury prevention but done incorrectly can be extremely dangerous.
And, lastly, stretching is one of the most important aspects of injury prevention and is often forgotten or done the least. As a Red Deer personal trainer, we promote stretching a ton to our clients and keep telling them to stayt ahead of the game here. Stretching helps avoid injuries along with prevention of muscle soreness and unnecessary pain in a lot of areas including calves, shins, hips, backs and along with tight hamstrings. If hamstrings are tight this puts a lot of strain on the lower back as it is pulling and causing unnecessary pain on the back.
Here is a sample full body workout:
3 rounds 12 reps of each:
Negative pull ups – jump up and slowly lower yourself
Burpees – keeping your core engaged the entire time
Push ups – chest to floor, lifting hands at the bottom keeping body in plank position
Plank- holding plank for 30 seconds
Squats- keep your chest up and make sure your pressure is on your heels