- Posted by Cameron
- On 30th July 2018
- 0 Comments
While everyone needs to look after their body, if you compete or perform professionally, your physical health is your greatest asset.
The same way that cars need mechanics, athletes and performers need physiotherapists. Here are the health and performance benefits of incorporating a physiotherapist into your training.
Physiotherapists help you train safely
While physiotherapy for the general public is focused on restoring the body to its natural functions, many athletes and performers have to do highly specific actions which don’t come naturally.
I work with a lot of ballet dancers, who have to perform precise techniques and poses which their body simply isn’t going to be able to do without months of highly specialised training.
As this demanding training is more focused on mastery than the dancer’s health, it’s important that they have regular physiotherapy appointments to make sure their hours upon hours of practice can be done safely.
Let’s say a dancer is practising their arabesque position. I’ll know that they need a certain degree of rotation in their back, hip turnout flexibility and strength to be able to hold their leg out for 90 seconds or more.
We can test and improve each of these elements individually so that when they need to combine all of them at once, they can do so without putting unnecessary strain on their body.
If we notice a certain muscle or tendon is becoming overloaded, we can redesign the training to allow them to keep making progress in other areas without jeopardising their health.
Physiotherapists improve your technique
If you’re an athlete, your coach is going to know if you’re not performing at your best, but they won’t necessarily know exactly why you’re falling short. When the cause is physical, trying harder isn’t going to be enough.
What we do as physiotherapists is start from the athlete’s objective, then work backwards to figure out what physical characteristics they need to be able to do the activity well, then design a programme to train them to that point.
For example, a high level tennis coach is going to know more than a physiotherapist about what the perfect forehand looks like, but they might not know exactly why their player isn’t able to complete one.
Physiotherapists are able to test the player’s performance to find exactly what’s holding them back. In the tennis player example, it might be tightness or weakness in the shoulder, the elbow or the wrist.
Once we’ve identified the problem area, we can design an exercise programme precisely tailored to resolve their handicap.
As a result, including a physiotherapist makes training less frustrating for everyone involved.
Instead of athletes struggling to follow a coach’s instructions without understanding why, we work backwards from the action they want to perform then train their body to be able to do it efficiently and safely.
Physiotherapists manage your rehabilitation
Few things are more heartbreaking for an athlete than an injury, and nearly all athletes will encounter an injury during their career which requires medical intervention.
Unlike the general population, athletes need to continue training during their recovery, and rehabilitation programmes need to be carefully designed so as not to cause further harm to already damaged tissue while still keeping the rest of the body strong and capable.
This management also needs to continue when rehabilitation has completed. Many high level athletes have a surprisingly colourful injury history and, as a result, have to carefully manage their vulnerabilities.
Part of this management is strengthening the affected area so that its risk of becoming overloaded is reduced. For example, if an athlete has a history of ACL injuries, we need to keep the surrounding muscles and tendons strong to compensate for weakness in the knee ligament.
Even if an athlete hasn’t had a serious injury, regular physiotherapy visits are still important so that we can identify and resolve weaknesses before they develop into an injury.
Get in touch with us now to learn more
If you have any questions about how to incorporate physiotherapy into your training or would look to book an appointment, you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist