In this short article Steve Hines is going to discuss some exercises that can help rehabilitate any lower body injuries you may pick up exercising or playing sports.
Before you train in the gym your physiotherapist should assess your lower body biomechanics and muscle imbalances. These will include:
- Lumbar spine range of movement
- Pelvic alignment
- Hip range of movement
- Lower limb muscle length tension tests
The range AND the asymmetry between the heads of the hamstrings and between the left and right sides needs to be considered. The medial hamstring should be 85% of sagittal. A discrepancy between the sagittal and medial hamstrings leaves you at a greater risk of hamstring and groin injury. A tight rectus femoris exposes the hamstrings to injury. Tight hip rotators expose the groin to injury. Decreased ankle ROM is one of the biggest predictors of lower limb injury in sport.
It is important you correct any of these imbalances before you undertake a lower body exercise programme or you will be at a higher risk of injury.
Prior to exercise always start with fascial release and dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches do not lead to great gains in flexibility but increase the pliability of the soft tissues without deceasing strength / power potential.
Do fascial release, dynamic, PNF and then static stretches if doing a pure flexibility session. Static stretches lead to greater gains in flexibility, but neurologically inhibit muscles – thus not ideal prior to exercise unless you are trying to switch off an overactive muscle.
Tight fascia inhibits muscle growth
Prickle ball release the foot
ITB and quads
Foam roller 3-4 sweeps on the ITB and also on the junction between the VL and ITB
Release the TLF, the TFL can be up to 3 inches thick.
Low Russian twist 20 reps
Stretch the following muscles before lower limb workouts:
- Gastrocnemius (can statically stretch before a workout)
- Hip flexors (can statically stretch before a workout)