4 Completely Overlooked Methods of Bulletproofing Your Body
Getting hurt is just NOT an option! Whether you are an athlete, someone who needs a highly functioning body to earn a living or one who loves recreational activities, you need a healthy body that won’t easily succumb to injury.
Here at Curastream, we have a number of programs and tools to help you get healthy. However, that is only part of what we do for you. Once we get you healthy, we want to keep you healthy – for life. This is why we have devoted so much of our content to injury prevention.
The problem is that when most people think about injury prevention, they think of core training or small isolation movements often used in rehabilitation programs. While these can be part of a comprehensive injury prevention program, they are not the complete picture.
Here are four completely overlooked methods you need to bulletproof your body.
1. Real strength training
After spending the last 14 years working as a university head strength and conditioning coach, I have seen the same pattern repeatedly – the weak athletes are the ones that get hurt the most. I remember as a young coach working with one of our volleyball players. At the time, he was probably one of the strongest athletes at our school. He played 5 years of elite volleyball and never missed a game or a practice due to injury.
The process of getting strong teaches your body to create full-body tension that helps with bracing during impact. The stronger you are in relation to your size and weight; the easier it is to move your body around. If you are heavy and weak, you are an injury-time bomb.
Now, before you hit the gym and start pulling heavy deadlifts, you need to know that many people hurt themselves trying to get their bodies stronger. Effective strength training requires structure-specific exercise selection, proper technique and appropriate programming.
2. Proper conditioning
Along with strength, proper conditioning and work capacity is vital in keeping you healthy. If you are out of shape, you get tired too soon. When this happens, your movement quality suffers and so does your body. Countless sports, jobs and physical activities require not only things like strength and speed, but also require good levels of conditioning.
The problem with conditioning is that most people do it wrong. As a result, they run into injuries (literally) and fail to see the performance improvements they need. I’ll give you some secrets to effective conditioning in a future post so stay tuned…
Body fat is dead weight. Yes, of course there are times in life where it is helpful to carry around a little extra weight (e.g. Sumo wrestling, heat insulation), but for most people, most of the time, fat works against you. Unwanted body fat places extra stress on your joints and decreases your strength-to-weight ratio making you more susceptible to injury. On the flip side, getting leaner makes everything better. This includes your: strength-to-weight ratio, speed, vertical jump, agility, conditioning and resiliency.
The problem with fat loss is that most people do it the wrong way. Yes, tons of jogging and a near-starvation diet will cause you to lose weight. However, high-volume, high-impact running will run you straight into an injury. You will also lose a ton of muscle, strength and performance in the process.
An effective functional fat loss program needs to focus on increasing your metabolism, burning a ton of calories, building lean muscle and getting you stronger and more powerful. On the nutrition side, it needs to focus on improving nutrient quality, not drastically slashing calories.
4. Building functional muscle
Building muscle has benefits that go far beyond how you look at the beach. If you are playing a contact or collision sport, proper muscle building is as Coach Dan John puts it – armor building. As you age, holding on to lean muscle is one of the best anti-aging strategies you can implement. If disease strikes, the frail and weak are the least likely to survive.
Building muscle does not mean you have to start taking steroids and training like a bodybuilder. Functional muscle building involves selecting useful exercises (e.g. squats instead of leg extensions), keeping the reps low enough to still build strength (e.g. 5-8 instead of 12-15) and focusing on the most important muscles for sport, work and life performance – the ones you can’t see in the mirror.
The real secret with effective injury prevention is taking a comprehensive approach. Yes, things like mobility, stability, tissue health and motor control are all important. However, on their own they will fail to build a truly resilient body. That is why we design comprehensive fitness and injury prevention programs. We take care of all the ingredients you need to bulletproof your body AND improve your performance so you can enjoy doing what you love.