Tag Archives: Exercise

Strength and Conditioning to Improve your Soccer Game

Lets face it, we all like to think that we’re still as strong, fast and agile as we were in our prime. Unfortunately, aging will get us all. Our endurance, strength, balance and flexibility aren’t what they used to be. Injuries happen more often and take way longer to recover from. To top it all off, lots of us need to make a living, raise a family and maintain a household. Where is the time for working out? Many older athletes would rather spend their time playing the sports they love than pushing weights around a boring gym. Unfortunately, if you’re only playing soccer (or any other sport) 1-2x a week, and spend the rest of your time behind a desk on your tush, chances are you’re a ticking time bomb for injury. Spending most of your week sedentary will make your muscles weak, stiff and poorly conditioned for any sport. You don’t have to be a gym rat to see benefits; you just need to maximize your time at the gym and do the RIGHT exercises. Hitting the gym will not only improve your health and fitness, but it will also increase your success and performance on the field.

Where to Start and What to do?

Soccer requires endurance, strength, power and agility. Therefore, your workouts should focus on improving all of these areas. Strength training doesn’t need to be done everyday. If you’re short on time, make sure you’re doing a full body workout 2x/week.
***IMPORTANT*** Every athlete is different. Talk to a therapist at Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic if you have specific injuries or health concerns before starting an exercise program. The program described below is for a currently healthy, injury free individual. You don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership to perform these exercises. Remember, changes don’t happen overnight; it takes 6-8 weeks to see true strength and conditioning changes.

Unless otherwise stated all exercises will be completed for:
3 Sets
10-12 Reps
60 seconds Rest

If you’re short on time, go through each exercise as a circuit and repeat the whole circuit 3x with no rest in between exercises.

Back lunge to high knee:

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, step back into a lunge bending at both knees and then bring the back leg into a high knee position. Ensure your stabilizing knee does not cave in. Repeat 10 on one leg before switching to the other side. Progression: add a weight in each hand, medicine ball, kettle bell, band around your ankle etc.

WHY? Improves strength, stability & balance

Monster Walks

Start in an athletic stance with both knees slightly bent and feet together. Take a step sideways and then bring your feet together again. Repeat 10 steps in one direction and then ten steps back. Place band around knees to start and progress to ankles and feet. Placing the band around the feet will be the hardest but has the greatest activation of the glut med and max muscles.

WHY? Strengthens the glutes, a weak link in many athletes. Strong gluts will result in a more stable knee with decreased risk for injury.

Nordic Hamstring Curls

Can be completed with a partner holding your legs or hooking your feet under something heavy. Lower yourself forward, keeping your back and hips straight. Once you cannot go any further push yourself back into start position.

WHY? Eccentric hamstring exercises have been shown to significantly decrease the risk of hamstring injury.

Adductor Theraband

Tie a theraband around your ankle, start with your leg away from your body, stand upright and engage the core. Slowly bring the leg towards your other leg and slowly bring it back out.

Why? Kicking, changing direction and reaching in soccer puts a large eccentric force on the adductor muscles, which puts them at risk for injury.

Side plank with leg raise

Lie on your side with your right elbow on the ground. Your bottom leg should be bent and your top leg straight. Raise your body off the ground so that your elbow and knee are the only parts in contact with the ground. Hold this position and slowly lift your top leg up and down. Repeat 10x / leg.

WHY? Core strength and pelvic stability is crucial for soccer players for changing directions, kicking and sprinting on the field

Squats

Bring your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, imagine a chair behind you (or actually put a chair for better form). Squat down and touch the chair and lift yourself back upright. Add a weight in front of your body for added difficulty.

WHY? Squats help build strength and power in all the leg muscles.

Push-ups

Start from your knees if from your feet is too difficult

WHY? A stronger upper body will help with throw-ins and pushing through defenders

1 Arm Row

Keep your feet hip width apart, slightly bend both your knees, engage your core and rest one hand on a chair or bench for added support. Holding a weight in one hand bring your arm back bending your elbow.

WHY? A stronger upper body will help with throw-ins and pushing through defenders

How to Progress

If you want to take it up a notch you can add in high-intensity interval training to provide a more sport specific/game like situation (i.e., after every strength exercise add a 30 sec AMRAP, “as many reps as possible”) of drills like squat jumps, burpees, box jumps, sprinting, etc. ALWAYS REMEMBER QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. 5 perfect squats is far more beneficial than 20 mediocre squats. You can also add in simple ladder footwork/agility drills. These drills will help with changing direction, tracking the ball, and being quick on the field. Extra Goalie Exercises: Lateral Bounds are great for developing goalies strength and speed for quick side-to-side movements in the net. In addition, vertical jumping is essential for goalies looking to get a little higher reach in net.

If you’re looking for a sports medicine clinic in the Oakville and Mississauga area to treat your current injuries or help put together a program to prevent future injuries, contact Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic at 905-849-4576.

The Most Effective Hamstring Injury Prevention Program

Hamstring injuries have been reported as one of the most common injuries across a variety of sports that involve repetitive kicking and/or high speed running, such as soccer, track and field, football, and rugby. Re-injury rates are also an issue affecting many athletes long term, with roughly 30% of athletes suffering a re-injury to the hamstring within the first year. In order to prevent hamstring injuries it is important to understand WHY they occur, and to develop a prevention program which targets these risk factors.

The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles, the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus, and the semimembranosus. Their main purpose is to bring the hip back and bend the knee. The majority of injuries to the hamstrings are strains to the biceps femoris long head muscle. Injury occurs mainly during sprinting, as the muscles contract eccentrically to decelerate the leg.

What are the Risk Factors?

Age
Unfortunately, the older you get, the higher your chance for hamstring injury. The age when the risk starts to significantly increase is 25 years old, with research suggesting a 30% increase in risk annually thereafter.

Decreased flexibility
Tight hamstrings aren’t the only problem; tight hip flexors and/or quads are also problematic.

Muscle Imbalance/weakness
Muscle imbalance within the lumbopelvic region and/or weakness in the hamstrings;

Previous injury
Previous injury to the hamstring, groin and/or knee.

The Most Effective Hamstring Prevention Program

Eccentric Strengthening Program
The majority of hamstring injuries occur during sprinting when the muscle is working eccentrically. As such, eccentric strengthening programs have been shown to decrease the risk of hamstring injury by 65-70%. The most popular and widely studied exercise for hamstring injury prevention is The Nordic Hamstring Exercise. We strongly encourage all athletes to add this exercise to their strengthening regime. However, it shouldn’t be the only hamstring exercise you do. While it has been shown to decrease the risk of hamstring injury significantly, it only activates part of the hamstring muscles (specifically the semitendinosus and short head of the biceps femoris). 80% of hamstring injuries occur to the long head of the biceps femoris, which is better activated with a hip extension exercise such as deadlifts. The most effective hamstring injury prevention program should focus on targeting all the hamstring muscles with both knee and hip dominant movements. Below you will find 2 different exercises: the nordic hamstring exercise and straight leg weighted deadlifts. We recommend doing both for the greatest benefit. See a progressive 12 week schedule below:

Frequency 2x/week x 12 weeks.
Week 1-3: 3 sets of 5-6 reps
Week 4-6: 4 sets of 6-7 reps
Week 7-9: 4 sets of 8-9 reps
Week 10-12: 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Nordic Hamstring Exercise: Can be completed with a partner holding your legs or hooking feet under something heavy. Lower yourself forward, keeping your back and hips straight. Once you cannot go any further push yourself back into start position.

 

Weighted Deadlifts:

Work on your core
While strengthening the hamstrings is important, you can’t forget about everything else that helps support, align and coordinate the hips. If there is an imbalance around the hip such as tight hip flexors, weak glutes, etc., the hamstrings will be more susceptible to injury. In addition, exercise programs that focus on trunk stabilization and agility vs. a traditional program of ONLY hamstring stretching and strengthening post injury results in a quicker return to sport and significantly much lower reoccurrence rate (7% vs. 70%).

Running Program
Most hamstring injuries occur during sprinting, especially later in the game when fatigue sets in. Therefore, strengthening and isolating the hamstrings in the gym is essential, but you must also include interval speed training to improve coordination, large hip/knee joint torques, and explosive strength. Weekly sprint workouts have been shown to prevent hamstring injuries. Like all training loads, ensure the sprinting load (distance, reps and speed) is progressed gradually.

Where to go from here?

If you currently are suffering from a hamstring injury it is best to book an appointment with a therapist and get on an individualized rehab plan. If you are currently injury free and would like to stay that way, then add the above hamstring exercises to your current strengthening program following the 12-week plan. If you want more bang for your buck, then add some core and hip stability exercises as well. If you still have questions or want more guidance on injury prevention book an appointment with one of the Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine therapists at 905-849-4576.

Heiderscheit et al., (2010). Hamstring strain injuries: Recommendations for Diagnosis, Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention. Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 67-81.
Liu et al., (2012). Injury rate, mechanism, and risk factors of hamstring strain injuriesin sports. A review of the literature. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 92-101.
Prior et al., (2009). An evidence based approach to hamstring strain injury. A systematic review of the literature. Sports Health. 154-164.

F45 Fitness Training Oakville

How Does F45 Training Complement Sports Medicine?

Goodlife, LA fitness, Crossfit or Lifetime? There are so many gym and fitness options for people to choose from. How can someone know what is right for them? One of the newest gyms to start popping up everywhere in the GTA over the past year are F45 Training gyms. What is F45 Training? How is it different from other gyms? Is it right for you? Recently I had the opportunity to get my butt kicked by their workouts and sit down with the owner of F45 Training Joshua Creek, Vanessa & Dan Andrews, to answer all these questions for you.

Lets start with the basics “What is F45 Training”?

“F” stands for functional fitness; “45” is the total number of minutes each workout lasts. In a nutshell, F45 Training is a group exercise class focusing on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and functional fitness movements. Every day offers is a different program (there are 31 different programs and over 3000 different exercises), so you will NEVER see the same workout twice.

Can every level do F45 Training?

F45 is geared to all fitness levels. Every F45 gym has video monitors to demonstrate the exercise technique at each station. In addition, the trainers spend the first few minutes of every class demonstrating each exercise, as well as showing ways to modify it in order to make it harder or easier. Trainers will also float around the room during class to help people modify the exercises as needed. Whether you are just getting into fitness and need a little hand holding and motivation, or you’re an athlete looking for a new challenge, F45 may be right for you.

Is F45 Training good for losing weight, building muscle or cross training for sports?

ALL OF THE ABOVE! F45 workouts combine interval, cardiovascular and strength training. All of which are proven to be effective workout methods for burning fat and building lean muscle.

How can F45 Training help Sheddon clients get stronger after an injury?

Once a patient has been cleared to return to the gym, F45 is a great option since it focuses on building functional fitness. Functional fitness focuses on movements that people need in order to function everyday. As a physiotherapist, I laugh when people tell me they avoid squats. Squats are essential for life, you need to squat to get on/off the toilet. Going to a gym and strictly working on isolating different muscles on different machines will get you stronger in those isolated movements. However, everyday life, sports and work activities don’t normally happen in isolation. Multiple muscles need to work together to perform movements such as carrying, lifting, pulling, pushing, etc. That’s why functional fitness and F45 is beneficial for injury prevention and post injury to get you stronger.

How can the trainers at F45 Training work together with therapists at Sheddon?

The team at Sheddon will gladly get in touch with the trainers at F45 and give them an update on what you can/cannot be doing. Based on these guidelines the trainers will modify the exercises as needed. There will be ongoing communication between the trainers and your therapist to ensure your safety and to prevent injury.

How can F45 Training prevent injuries?

Functional fitness focuses on muscles working together which will help get you stronger for doing everyday activities (i.e., lifting a child, carrying a heavy load, crawling on the floor with a grandchild, etc.). It improves your strength, cardio, mobility, flexibility and core stability. The programs are well balanced and target the whole body.

What do people love about F45?

  1. It’s fun!
  2. Every workout is different so people don’t get bored or plateau; they are constantly challenged and improving.
  3. Every F45 gym is like a small community where members motivate and challenge each other.
  4. F45 gyms take pride in staying super duper clean, no sweaty mats or dirty equipment.

If you want to know more about F45 Training Joshua Creek check out their website and contact Vanessa or Dan here https://f45training.ca/joshuacreek/. They also offer a free one week trial to see if it’s right for you.

Book Your Appointment

Questions? Contact us

lower body injuries prevention Oakville Mississauga

Your Guide to Lower Body Injuries

1. ACL Injury

What is it? The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the strongest ligaments in your knee that provides stability, and prevents excessive forward and rotational movement. During injury it can be stretched, partial torn or fully torn.
Why does it happen? These injuries are caused by abnormal movement patterns during sidestepping or landing tasks with increased knee valgus motion and/or increased internal tibial rotation.
How do you prevent it? Focus on strengthening the core muscles, hip abductors and hip external rotators in order to prevent excessive knee valgus and/or internal tibial rotation. For example, loop a band around your stance leg (above the knee) and tie it to a stationary object so that the resistance of the band pulls the leg inward. Try to maintain that stance leg in neutral alignment (don’t let the knee cave in). Slowly lower yourself into a single leg squat position. Only go as far as you can with proper control of the leg. Repeat 10-15 repetitions for 2 sets.

2. Ankle Sprain

What is it? The ankle is made up of a series of ligaments that connect the bones and provide stability. Injury to the ankle can stretch or tear one or several of these ligaments.
Why does it happen? 50% of soccer related ankle injuries occur during contact with another player; otherwise it occurs during twisting, tackling or kicking. Have you already sprained your ankle? If so, you are 5x more likely to sprain it again.
How do you prevent it? Work on balance and proprioceptive exercises. Step/lunge onto a bosu (or pillow) from different angles. Repeat 10-15 repetitions per leg. As it gets easier you can progress to bounding onto the bosu and holding for control.

3. Achilles Tendonitis

What is it? Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and the soleus) to the heel bone.
Why does it happen? It is highly vulnerable to injury given the high amounts of tension put on it during sports. It can also be injured due to improper warm-up, muscle imbalances or poor footwear.
How do you prevent it? Strengthen your calves. Balance on a step and rise up onto your toes, then slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat 10-15 times for 2 sets. As it gets easier you can progress to doing one leg at a time.

4. Adductor Strain

What is it? The adductors are a group of muscles in the inner thigh that work together to stabilize the pelvis and move the hip. Injury usually involves a strain to one or more of these muscles.
Why does it happen? Kicking, changing direction and reaching put a large eccentric force on the adductor muscles, which puts them at risk for injury. Adductor strains are usually due to overuse and muscle imbalance.
How do you prevent it? Perform the Copenhagen adduction exercise. In a side plank position, rest on your elbow, raise your top leg and rest it on a bench. Your lower leg starts at the ground and you raise it towards your top leg. Slowly repeat 6-15 reps per side for 3 sets.

5. Hamstring Injury

What is it? The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles at the back of your leg that help with hip and knee movements. Injury can involve a strain to the muscle or a full tear.
Why does it happen? Injury usually happens due to the high loads placed on the hamstrings during kicking and sprinting.
How do you prevent it? The Nordic hamstring exercise is one of the most widely used exercises to prevent hamstring injuries. Start from a kneeling position. Use a partner to hold your ankles or hook your feet under something heavy. Engage your core and hamstrings and slowly move forward towards the ground. Keep your hands ready to assume a push-up position. When your hands reach the ground push yourself back up. Try to go slow on the way down with control. Repeat 6-10 times for 2 sets.

If you’re looking for a sports medicine clinic in the Oakville and Mississauga area to treat your current injuries or help put together a program to prevent future injuries, contact Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic at 905-849-4576.

Book Your Appointment

Questions? Contact us

SLEEP: The Key to a Quick Recovery

Do you want to boost your athletic performance? Reduce your risk for injury? Improve your reaction time, accuracy and speed? The secret is easier than you think, and doesn’t cost a single cent. Yet, most young athletes often neglect this essential component of their training: SLEEP! Sleep is a vital component of the recovery process following intense training and competition. It provides both psychological and physiologically benefits. However, sleep deprivation is very common in young athletes due to extensive training schedules, anxiety, lack of awareness of the importance of sleep and poor sleep hygiene. Why is catching enough z’s so important and what can you do to ensure a better quality sleep?

Most athletes are well aware of the benefits of proper nutrition, skill training and conditioning to improve athletic performance. So what exactly happens while you’re sleeping that is so important? The body regenerates and repairs cells, and allows restoration of several systems such as the immune, nervous and endocrine system. It also releases hormones that help with recovery. Certain hormones such as growth hormone and androgens are only released during the deep sleep cycle and they are vital for muscle repair, muscle building and bone growth. Therefore, the quality of sleep you’re getting is just as important as the quantity.

Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of detrimental effects on your athletic performance (decreased reaction time, speed and strength), cognitive function (poor attention, concentration and motivation) and risk for injury (compromised immune function, impaired muscle damage repair). Studies have shown, even a single night of sleep deprivation can impair your cognitive and motor performance equivalent to alcohol intoxication.

Current guidelines recommend that 7-9 hours of sleep is essential for psychological (ability to learn, motivation, and memory) and physiological recovery (metabolism and inflammation). Moreover, athletes require an even greater quantity of sleep to recover from injury and intense training. If you’ve struggled with getting enough sleep, read the strategies below for some tips on how you can change your sleep habits:

  • Avoid stimulating activities prior to sleep and limit electronic device use at least 1 hour prior to bedtime;
  • The optimal sleeping environment should be cool, comfortable, noise-free and dark (to achieve these conditions you may need to use a fan, eye mask, ear plugs, light blocking blinds, white noise machine or app);
  • Keep daytime napping to a maximum of 30 minutes;
  • Limit exposure to bright lights in the late evening, as they can have an alerting effect and decrease the release of melatonin. (i.e., dim the lights, and limit LED screen use several hours before bed);
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening;
  • Stick with a consistent time for going to sleep and waking up.

Marshall et al., (2016). The importance of Sleep for Athletic Performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 38,1,61-68.

Book Your Appointment

Questions? Contact us