Many of us are at home athletes. Lots of people enjoy an extracurricular activity that involve the use of the body. It could be golf or archery, belly dancing or softball, martial arts or running. Even playing some musical instruments can be considered athletic activity. In order to do what you love, longer, and be better at it make sure you add purposeful workouts to your schedule. 


All sports or activities that we do on a regular basis will affect our bodies either positively or negatively. Activities that require repetitive movement, are high impact, or push the range of motion of our joints are going to place us at a higher risk of injury. Tailoring strength and conditioning workouts to help balance the affects of our training will increase the benefits from our hobbies, enhance our performance, and help to insure that we can keep doing them. 


Most injuries sustained in our leisure activities are entirely preventable. The first thing to remember is that the biggest indicator of future injury is previous injury. Any old injuries usually remain a weak link in the body. This is even if it hasn’t been painful for a while.  A lot of times when we are doing something physical for fun we will forget that injury was a thing and push ourselves until it breaks again. Using movement assessments and customized workouts will help keep the weak link as strong as possible. 


Using certain muscle groups over and over is another huge reason why we get injured. Most sports require some kind of repetition. Over taxing some muscles and under taxing others causes adaptation to the imbalance of use. This imbalance can cause you to lose coordination, speed, and power as well as hinder performance in other life activities. A great strength and conditioning program is meant to compliment your sport and keep over training injuries from happening. If we can keep the muscles we don’t use as often, stronger, our ideal natural alignment will improve our game and make us more durable. 


Some activities are more heavy-hitting than others.  Martial arts, rugby, roller derby, or any sport that involves running are high impact activities. We are more likely to sustain injury purely because of the sport we chose regardless of how good we are. It is so important to make sure we are strong enough and move efficiently enough to absorb shock. I would highly recommend starting a strength and conditioning program months before even participating in these kinds of activities. Prepping the body beforehand will ensure you’re already better than you would’ve been at something hard, while preventing wear and tear on your body. 


We might be required to stress the end range of motion in our joints. Any time we approach end range and add speed, power, or load, we are playing with fire. It is either going to result in excellent performance or an epic injury. It is really hard to competently control the body in these ranges. This, once again, increases risk for injury. 

Take golf for example. Achieving maximal or near maximal amount of thoracic spine rotation is optimal for a good swing. After the back swing, the goal is to whip the club as fast as possible until the player is rotated in the opposite direction. Almost 30 percent of golfers have back pain after each round.

 In many sports, end range of motion is pushed. Sometimes we don’t have the mobility yet to be good at our sport. People with bad shoulder mobility, suck at throwing. Use strength and conditioning to make sure we have the mobility we need as well as the strength to control our body at end ranges of motion. Being better at something always makes it more fun. 


Random workouts or just smashing weights at the gym are not the kind of strength and conditioning programs we are talking about. Some times the fitness routine we choose can decrease our performance. Make sure to choose programming that considers your physical hobby and your personal strengths and weaknesses. Workouts without thought are just more stress on the body. Find a coach that perfoms a legitimate assessment, understands the demands of your hobby, and can re-assess to make sure we are progressing. Strength and conditioning can seriously up your game and keep your body happy. Train smarter, not harder. 


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