Usually when you think of physiotherapy, what comes to mind is injury and rehab and returning patients to their pre-injured state. But it’s much more than that… more often than not there is a biomechanical issue that causes the injury in the first place, whether that be a weakness, muscle imbalance or lack of proprioceptive awareness for example. That’s why the physio-game is changing, the role of a physiotherapist should not stop at the just involvement when injuries occur, but throughout the constant development of human movement and function.
Physiotherapy is your training’s new favourite partner in crime, here’s why: a physiotherapist can identify abnormal movement patterns, muscular restriction and imbalance and other issues which may impede technique and cause injury down the line. This could be seen as a pre-habilitation phase but in reality, it is ensuring that the basics are done right.
When it comes to gaining strength and losing weight, numbers matter. Progressive overload, metabolic stress and time under tension are the three most well-recognised concepts of strength training but what is the point of strengthening compensatory muscles used in abnormal movement patterns. Similarly, weight loss is should be progressive and slow, nutrition is absolutely essential to weight loss. It is simple maths calories in vs. Calories out – if you consume more than you burn you will gain and vice versa. Your therapist should be able to guide you to more sensible food habits and choices but equally importantly should be able to make your functional strengthening movements safe and thus allowing safe progression in your training.
Seeing a therapist as only a resource to help when injured is a sort of ‘too little too late’ type of attitude in my mind. As therapists, we can be hugely important in injury prevention and treatment technologies such as sports massage, myofascial release and other manual techniques can certainly be used in conjunction with a detailed, individual exercise plan to maximise recovery and results. The timing of this treatment may vary with the type of exercise and with your normal daily routine but something as simple as a sports massage has been shown time after time to help speed up recovery as soon as 15 minutes after exercise.
Next time you’re in the studio think about swapping your next training session for a trip to the Clinic and see how it changes your results.