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Monday, October 26, 2015

Prevent Knee Injury in Repetitive Motion Sports-Rolling/Stretching/Training

 We need to train specifically for strength and power in our legs. We can prevent injury by cross training which is working your opposing muscles we work all the time. For example, strengthen  your lower back as well as your abdominal muscles. Twisting and leaning are integral movements in roller derby. Incorporate side lunges and curtsy lunges to strengthen the areas needed.  
Repetitive motion puts high stress on one area and can cause imbalance in your muscular structure as well as your skeletal structure. Tight muscles can pull bones and ligaments in one direction and loosen muscles not being used as frequently. We need to lengthen specific muscles and strengthen others. 
Lengthening your IT band and strengthening your Vastus Medialis and inner thighs are key to knee injury prevention.
First, rolling or lengthening your IT (iliotibial) Band  is key. Here is a great stretch for your IT band as well as how to roll it.
Roll Slow. Make sure to hold it in the areas that you feel pain till the pain lessens. You then move on as you roll the entire side. You should not be rolling consistently up and down your leg.

With your legs crossed and folding forward, lean slightly to the outside of the base foot to create a better stretch on the outside of your hip and down to the back of the knee. 

If your IT band is tight which is caused by repetitive forward motion, there is tension on your knee. The IT Band connects from the hip to the knee, therefore pulling your knee outward and putting unwanted and uneven pressure on your knees and lower extremities.
With a tighter IT Band comes pulling of the inner thighs; primarily your Vastus medialus muscles (inner muscle of your quadriceps) and Gracilis muscles (inner thigh). 

We need to make sure to strengthen all areas of our quadriceps but this muscles is not only neglected but really hard to trigger on its own. 
To strengthen the Vastus medialus and gracilis muscles, here are a few exercises.
Perform a wall squat with or without a ball on your back making sure your legs are at a 90 degree angle. Then take another small ball and place it between your legs and squeeze it slowly. Repeat multiple times till you feel a strong burn. Stand, recover, then repeat set 2 to 3 more times.
Curtsy Lunges. Alternate curtsy lunges from leg to leg. If you can push off with inside of your front foot you will feel more work being done to your medialis. Repeat 10 to 15 repetitions on each side. Rest and repeat 2 to 3 sets.

Side Lunges. Make sure your knees are over your heals when stepping out. When pushing back to center, it is imperative that you place most of your weight on the inside of your power foot in order to get the proper stengthening in your vastus medialus. This will also fire up your glutes, hamstrings and obliques. 
Tradition is to train as we play, but it is important in order to keep balance in our bodies to work out bodies at least once a week in the opposite manner. For example in roller derby, we need to make sure to work our right side as much as our left side. Skate non-derby direction when possible. If  you are a cyclist, make sure to do lateral movements such as skaters and back lunges for your hamstrings. 
Make sure to work at your own pace, but you will see your performance increase in your specific sport or just in your daily lives by making sure your body is aligned properly. 
You may even notice your lower back or neck have less stress as you become more balanced. Your whole body will become more balanced and will reflect on other areas of your body and life. 
Written by: 
Michelle "Michbehavin" Rotell
Owner Sweat Cardio and Yoga