High Intensity Workout Programs That Can Lead to Injuries

Problem: The P90X workout is one of the biggest fitness trends in the past several years, with enthusiastic endorsements across the cultural spectrum, including everyone from singer Pink to 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

But businessman Matt Lombardi says just one day of the program’s strenuous routine sent him into the emergency room.

Lombardi says he has “always been an athlete” and that he didn’t wander recklessly into the program. Instead, he says he wanted to try P90X to help lose the 20 pounds he had gained while developing College Spun. Read More here And watch video here.

The above article references what our physical therapists see all day. You can try to figure out what program will work for you and hope that you do not get injured or you can rely on a time tested and proven program that is safe and effective.

Solution: After a careful review of the P90X workout when it first came out we predicted a plethora of overuse and traumatic injuries. Since then I have had to explain to the many clients injured from these high intensity, ill designed training programs that not even my Olympians would hold up under the stress of these workouts. The creators of this training program were apparently not alive during the 1980’s when Jane Fonda type workouts caused an epidemic of joint and muscle injuries from jumping and running on hard surfaces and `performing body weight exercises with no regard for form and technique.

Whats a better approach to working out?

The basic premise of all well designed exercise programs is the progressive overload principle. Fitness must be “pushed” from below, i.e. starting slow and progressing to harder workouts slowly. In addition, what recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts don’t realize is that elite and professional athletes spend half of their workout time in the gym on injury prevention. All strength and conditioning programs must begin with a joint stability phase where the body is hardened against injury. This involves the use of light weights and other exercises to strengthen all the little “helper muscles” around the joints, which, along with a lot of stretching insures that each joint is functioning properly. This phase prepares the body for the more strenuous work to come later in the training cycle.

Secondly, no one can withstand high intensity training for more than a period eight weeks. Even if one was to avoid injury with this type of workout, in about 8 weeks the body will adapt to a certain level stress and as fitness plateaus continued training at the same intensity will cause burnout, injury or both. Conversely, the way we train elite athletes to win gold medals and set world records is with a periodization training program rooted in science and built specifically to avoid over training and prevent injury. This involves breaking the training cycle into phases and training for a specific fitness attribute for no more than 8 weeks and as the body adapts changing the training stimulus to foster further improvements. This is the key to achieving and injury free peak fitness.

At Phase IV our strength and flexibility programs are designed by physical therapists with over thirty years of experience helping athletes of all ages and abilities achieve their goals, injury free. Following a head to toe Structural Exam a personalized strength and conditioning program will be designed to meet your needs whether you want to train with us, at your gym or at home.

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