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Can we train for injury prevention AND performance, at the same time??

November 08, 2021 3 min read

Can we train for injury prevention AND performance, at the same time??

The demands on the modern strength coach are lofty; expectations are that we get tangible increases in sport specific performance measures (power, conditioning, speed etc), whilst minimising injuries and not compromising skill training.

This might not seem too unreasonable at first, as long we you have a robust group of athletes. But when we consider the combined negative impact of early specialisation and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, it starts to look like a more daunting task.

The reason being that lack of early multi-sport exposure and too much time sitting and lying in poor posture can often lead to athletes that have large muscle imbalances. Their bodies adapt negatively to their sporting movement at an early age, and they don’t get the deep muscle system stimulus they need to maintain a properly stable spine and joints. When an athlete is in this state, they have the combination of a powerful engine along with poor brakes and suspension – not the safest combination!

 

Big engine, with poor brakes and suspension!

In this case have a responsibility to reduce those muscle imbalances and strengthen the deep muscle system, thereby making the athlete more robust and less likely to break down. The tricky part is balancing that responsibility with the need to train the performance capability, in a small window of time and limited training load………
If we agree that activating and strengthening the deep muscle system is key to injury prevention, stability and quality of movement, then we should aim to achieve this. But doing localised deep muscle / stability work can be time consuming, the results are often elusive and it’s usually frustrating for both athlete and coach!
 

My question is, can we find a way to quickly and efficiently stabilise and protect our athletes from injury, without adding training time or compromising our focus on sport specific physical capacities?

A solution that I have recently been exposed to comes in the format of a performance garment; the G-Suit by GravityFit. Based on the findings of the 30 year academic career of Dr Carolyn Richardson, the G-Suit essentially delivers an axial load to the body, which has an automatic activation effect on the body’s deep muscle system.

 

G-Suit, by GravityFit

The technical explanation for how this works is described in the image below, but in simpler terms, the load pushed into the distal segment (hand, foot, head) sends a message to the brain, which is interpreted and a message is sent back down to the deep stabilising muscle to switch on and tolerate that load.

 

Technical explanation of how axial load (GSI Technology) works

The person responsible for working out why this phenomenon occurs is Dr Carolyn Richardson. Her research with the European Space Agency, NASA and the University of Queensland concluded that the lack of gravity in space withdrew the key stimulus that our deep muscle system needs to stabilise spines and joints.

This has been recently validated by NASA sponsored research via MRI, confirming that applying the stimulus of axial load (GSI Technology) to the body via the G-Suit elicits an automatic activation of the key deep muscles (pending publication).

 

Because the G-Suit can be worn to perform any task – from jogging to olympic lifting –  its the only method I have come across that strengthens the deep muscle system whilst being able to train as normal. Thus having the potential to alleviate the dilemma of whether to prioritise injury prevention training over performance training.

Training the deep muscle system doesn’t have to be finicky and frustrating anymore, it can be functional and automatic. The G-Suit is a timesaver, and can guarantee that these muscles are being activated and trained, allowing us to focus on the bigger stuff. This should enable us to more easily produce athletes that have powerful engines combined with great brakes and quality suspension too!