Exercise progression: Rehab and beyond.
by Paul Mealling on 25 July, 2018 in Essentials
When you are first given specific rehab exercises to do they have to be appropriate for what your body can handle at the time. Too difficult an exercise could easily make things worse or get you into bad habits. Sometimes to undo bad habits we have to start afresh with exercises which may seem very easy.
Exercises which are very easy will only help you to a certain point however, after which the routine should be progressed to give a greater demand on the body. By doing this the body continues to have a suitable stimulus to become stronger, more supple, or better co-ordinated and so forth. If exercises remain unchanged the body can lack sufficient stimulus to improve further. Therapeutic exercise progression is essential because it prevents you reaching an unnecessary limit.
As your rehab exercise progresses it can seamlessly become more and more like 'fitness exercise' and ultimately athletic performance exercise if you go far enough. However, having said that, there is always a place for even the most basic of exercises within even an elite program.
If you train, what you learn from your rehab can become integrated into your training. It might be a subtle movement pattern, or how to engage a certain muscle better. Integrating rehab lessons can help improve your fitness or performance beyond where you were before your injury.
We should all be doing some form of 'health and conditioning' exercise or 'body care' regularly, regardless of how fit we think we are. And when you let go of the idea of "rehab exercise" and instead see yourself on a journey of improving your physical function, you continue even after your injury is better. Your exercises adapt with you.
With each injury you learn new things that you can progress and carry forward into your regular routines. This way, injuries and set-backs become a great opportunity for learning and gaining long-term benefits. But improvement is all about progression.