Movement, Stress, and Injury Risk

Building on yesterday’s post on the impact of the interaction between conditioning and movement efficiency on performance…

Movement quality and conditioning also impact injury risk.

This 2013 study found that military personnel with slow 3-mile times (i.e. poor aerobic fitness) and poor movement quality (defined as FMS Score ≤ 14) were 4.2x more likely to sustain an injury.

A few quick thoughts on why this matters:

  • If an athlete has restrictions in mobility and/or stability, they have fewer options to absorb force/stress and are more likely to “wear out” something along the path they’re using. Increasing movement variability not only has performance benefits, it allows stress to be distributed through joints and soft-tissue structures in different ways, which is a factor in injury risk reduction (particularly in overuse injuries).
  • If an athlete is poorly conditioned (whatever that means for the task at hand), movement quality and control will break down sooner and they’re more likely to reach an injury threshold and/or rely on passive structures to absorb force, which has both short- and long-term joint health implications.
  • Regardless of movement quality and conditioning, at some point, everyone breaks. Monitoring the volume and intensity of sport demands in some capacity is crucial for ensuring you don’t overlook major spikes in either.
  • Maximizing movement variability and optimizing conditioning levels for a given sport will help improve durability across typical and atypical sport/activity demands.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. If you’re interested in more information about how to profile an athlete’s needs and use the profile to individualize a training program, check out the videos at Optimizing Adaptation & Performance

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