Prehab Mini Routine

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Time is money, but this old cliché is no excuse to negligently overlook or underestimate warming up before practices and games. Deposit this thought in your mental training bank: devoting just 10 minutes to an efficient warm-up is more profitable than 10 months of grueling injury rehab.

"A proper warm-up is the number one way to prevent an injury," claims Justin Robinson, director of strength and conditioning at Rehab United Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center [San Diego, Calif.]. There are two parts to a successful warm-up: a general warm-up and a specific warm-up. Robinson explains, "The general portion increases body temperature and fluid in the joints, while the specific warm-up mimics motions that will be used for practice or the game that day."

While no injury prevention plan is foolproof, Robinson offers the following mini routine to mitigate the risk of tears, pulls and blowouts.

Each of the following exercises should be completed in all three planes of motion:
1. Sagittal Plane: forward to backward
2. Frontal Plane: side to side
3. Transverse Plane: twisting/rotational

Balance Reach Matrix
• Stand on left leg with right foot in front and elevated two or three inches off ground
• Squat down on left leg, reaching right leg as far forward as possible (sagittal); return to start position
• Squat down on left leg, reaching right leg as far to right as possible (frontal) return to start position
• Squat down on left leg, reaching right leg back at 45-degree angle (transverse); return to start position
• Repeat pattern for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 1x5 each leg (one rep equals a squat in each of the three directions)
Coaching Points: Maintain weight on balancing foot // Squat down as far as possible

Lunge Reach Matrix
• Start in neutral position with feet together
• Step forward with right leg into forward lunge position (sagittal); return to start position
• Step to right with right leg into side lunge position (frontal); return to start position
• Step back at 45-degree angle with right leg (transverse); return to start position
• Repeat pattern for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 1x5 each leg (one rep equals a lunge in each direction)
Coaching Points: Keep non-lunging leg straight during each movement // Don't rush each rep // Use slow, controlled movements // Begin lunging with body weight, then progress to light dumbbells

Note: Perform all Jump Starts at end of your dynamic warm-up.

Sagittal Jump Starts
• Using tape or line on floor, quickly jump with feet together front to back over line for 10 seconds
• On coach's command, sprint 15 yards

Adaptation: For an "out-of-sync" Sagittal Jump Start, perform scissor jumps front to back.
Sets/Reps:
2x1

Frontal Jump Starts
• Quickly jump with feet together side to side for 10 seconds
• On coach's command, sprint 15 yards

Adaptation: For an "out-of-sync" Frontal Jump Start, start with feet spread apart, bring close together, then widen again; repeat wide to narrow pattern for 10 seconds.
Sets/Reps: 2x1

Transverse Jump Starts
• Jump and quickly turn hips left, then right for 10 seconds
• On coach's command, sprint 15 yards

Adaptation: For an "out of sync" Transverse Jump Start, start with feet spread and toes pointed in; jump and bring heels together so toes point out; repeat toes pointed in/pointed out pattern for 10 seconds.
Sets/Reps: 2x1


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock