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All of us have heard of rehabilitation or ‘rehab’. Rehabilitation from injury is well-known and well-understood within sport and exercise. However, prehabilitation or ‘prehab’ is less well understood and not applied as frequently as it should be, given the wealth of benefits it provides.

Here is a short summary of the key points to help you understand an emerging and important area of performance and health. 

  1. The key goal of prehab is to optimise physical capacity by improving musculoskeletal function, stability and resilience to injury. 
  1. Prehab differs from rehab in that it is proactive and preventative, with the intent being to reduce the risk of injury. Whereas rehab is ‘reactive’ and used to recover once an injury has occurred. 
  1. Prehab is a method that’s used in multiple settings, not just in sport. It plays a significant role in pre-surgery procedures such as joint replacement therapy, to promote faster recovery. The military also utilises prehab training as part of their preparation for the demands of operations.
  1. Research into the effectiveness of prehab within sports programmes has grown – largely supporting its use in both adult and youth athlete populations. The approach identifies your key areas at risk of a sport-specific injury, followed by the use of conditioning exercises that may help to reduce your predisposition to injury.  
  1. In order to access personalised and relevant prehab, you will usually need to complete some form of preparticipation screening to understand your physical health, lifestyle and exercise requirements – this ensures your prehab is specific to the demands of your sport / lifestyle and to your own medical history. 
  1. Prehab has been shown to reduce both the prevalence of injury and the duration of injury treatment times. Tailored prevention programmes should therefore be a core component of exercise routines. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to implement science based prehab into your routine, we can help. Download the Optimi app to get started. 

References

  1. Halloway et al., (2014) 
  2. Meir et al., (2007) , 7. Pearson (2006)
  3. Meir et al, (2006)
  4. Evans et al., (2017)

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