One of the biggest questions I get asked by athletes who are recovering from injury is “What’s the fastest way to get back to 100%?”
Of course, everyone’s story is different–and so are their injuries. Step #1 should always be to make sure there aren’t any red flags that require further imaging or a consultation with a healthcare professional.
Once we have determined that an athlete is ready to start training again, we focus on consistency.consistency-is-the-key-to-getting-back-in-the-game Our approach is making things simple: regressing movements to the point where an athlete can move successfully and then progress it gradually over time back to baseline.
I’ll be honest. Most young clinicians are guilty of trying to make things more complicated than they need be. Too often, they try to reinvent the wheel to make things look sexy or different.
But here’s the reality: Research shows us that simplicity and consistency are the keys to helping our athletes reintegrate training.
Let’s look at the simple example of a back squat. Imagine an athlete is having some discomfort or pain when performing that movement.
Once we ensure there’s no serious, deeper-seated problem, we advise our athletes to regress that movement. In other words, we lower the intensity of the movement to make it easier for the athlete to complete with success. Then, we begin building intensity and volume on the back squat, helping the athlete become more resilient. Next, we slowly progress them back to where they were before with the back squat.
Time after time, we’ve found this approach to be the most effective way to create consistency in a program. As we always preach at Physio Project HQ: consistency is key to getting back in the game.
As physical therapists, we have tools in our toolbox to get athletes back up and moving: from dry needling to soft tissue mobilizations to manipulation, but at the end of the day our goal is always to get them back to moving.
We use this program modification approach to get athletes back in a consistent manner. Once we do that, the sky’s the limit on what goals an athletes can achieve.
So the next time you see some instagram influencer or wannabe physical guru talking about a “new” approach to recovery, always remember that the simplest approach is usually the most effective. That means focusing on consistency.
Having trouble recovering from an injury or getting back in the game? Check out our Primed to Perform program. It’s a great foundational program to give you the tools to create consistency in your prehab or rehab routine.