Physical Therapy Advice: Strength and Flexibility Training

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Stretching before exercise.
distelfliege (CC-BY-2.0)

Exercise has many health benefits, but if not done properly injury can occur. It’s important to incorporate flexibility and strength training into any exercise program.

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  • Physical Therapists' Advice: Strength Training Can Prevent Exercise Injury

    Physical therapists said people can take steps to avoid injury when exercising this summer. Namely, they can do so through focus on strength training.

    Lori Thein Brody, a physical therapist and athletic trainer with the University of Wisconsin Sports Medicine and Spine Center, explained that strength — or resistive — training helps improve the functional alignment of the joints.

    “Every time you take a step, you hit the ground with one to two times your body weight depending upon your gate mechanics. Proper resistive training can improve the strength of your hip and knee muscles so that those muscles bear the brunt of the load and the joint doesn’t,” Brody said.

    This means that stronger muscles built from strength training lighten the weight load to protect the joints.

    Bill Boissonnault, a professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and senior physical therapist at the Spine Center Physical Therapy Clinic of the UW Hospital and Clinics, said that addressing balance is also a way to avoid exercise injury.

    “If you don’t address balance, there’s increased chance for a fall,” Boissonnault said.

    There are different ways to approach balance issues. Some include simply turning your head or closing the eyes when doing resistive training exercises. It’s still resistive training, but now balance is incorporated into the program, Thein said.

    The two physical therapists said the most common injury they see is overuse. This occurs when people extend too far into their range of motion by lifting too heavy, too frequently and not getting the dosage right from their exercise program.

    “You should go to form fatigue. This is a term used in the medical field when you become so fatigued that you no longer maintain proper form. That’s the time to stop because you have fatigued that muscle and that’s the goal,” Thein said.

    Boissonnault mentioned that mirrors are useful when exercising because they allow people to watch their form, especially as they get to the end of the set when fatigue sets in. Posture, joint position and balance are important factors to remember when exercising, he said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Cheyenne Lentz Producer
  • Lori Thein Brody Guest
  • Bill Boissonnault Guest

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