Did you know there’s a quick and simple way to determine your risk for injury from sport? I’m not talking about contact injuries such as football or hockey where if you get run over enough times by a 300 pound lineman you’ll eventually break. I’m talking about non-contact injuries that we tend to develop at the weak links in our bodies. Well there is a way to self diagnose, to a certain extent, to determine our vulnerability for injury.
When we have a deficit on one side of the body relative to the other, and this deficit is greater than 15%, there is an increased chance of injury. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter if we are measuring strength or flexibility we want to see balance between the two sides of the body.
So if we want to pre-hab our bodies to minimize the potential for injury we should ensure that the left and right are balanced. Once we are equal, or as close to equal, on both sides, then we should look to eliminating weaknesses that may exist in the kinetic chain.
Next time you are working out test yourself to determine how much stronger you are on your dominant side. Choose an exercise you can do with one limb (your non-dominant limb) and see how much load or how many reps you can perform. Repeat with your dominant side. As well, when you are stretching have someone help you to assess if you have equal range of motion on both sides.
Using these quick tips will help you identify imbalances, prioritize these weaknesses and lessen your chance for injury.
Wishing you an injury-free holiday season.