The gastrocnemius is one of the two main calf muscles, which sits outermost and gives the calves their distinctive shape. It has two origins, one from the inside of the knee and the other from the outside. Both join the Achilles tendon about half way down the calf, which then runs to the base of your heel. This exercise emphasises a slow descent and working through the full range to help strengthen the tendon portion and the muscle through its full range.
The levator scapulae runs from your top of your neck to the top of your shoulder blades. Its main action is to lift the shoulder blade. The pocket stretch is a great way to target it and to ease off a tight neck and shoulders.
The vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and the vastus medialis muscles all run from the top of your thigh bone to the top of your knee, where they run into the patella tendon which attaches onto the front of your shin. Their main action is knee extension, so they are important in actions such as kicking. Here is a stretch to help both lengthen and strengthen them.
The quadriceps are made up of four muscles. One of those muscles is the rectus femoris. The rectus femoris runs from the front outside edge of your hip bone, down the front of your thigh until it attaches onto the patellar tendon on the top of your knee, running to the front of your shin. It is the only quadriceps muscle to run over both your hip and knee joints, playing a role in both hip flexion and knee extension.
The infraspinatus is one of four muscles we call the rotator cuff at the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff muscles stabilise the shoulder joint, by keeping your arm bone within the shallow shoulder joint. It runs from the inside edge of your shoulder blade across to the top of your arm bone. The main action of the infraspinatus is to turn your arm out to the side. Here is an exercise to help strengthen the infraspinatus.
Fleur and Sophie explain how sports therapy can help with bicep strain, tennis and golfer's elbow, MCL and LCL sprain, carpal tunnel syndrome and olecranon bursitis. And what exercises you can do to help yourself...
Coping with the recovery of an injury entails both physical and psychological resilience. Even though the predominate focus during the recovery period is around the physical rehabilitation, it is also essential to employ psychological strategies to help cope with the mental stressors which commonly arise when injuries occur.
Injured athletes may often experience negative psychological states and reactions such as anxiety, stress, anger, denial and depression. These negative factors can manifest if not addressed early and can result in prohibiting the recovery from going to plan. Although the different emotions can be overwhelming, it is important to move past the negativity and focus attention on positive coping techniques which can help to deal with the setbacks which have arisen.
Finding a way to relax is key as having an injury can be an extremely stressful phase. Relaxation can be achieved by developing different skills, eg breathing techniques, mindfulness meditat...
The tapering phase is a specialised exercise training strategy which requires athletes to reduce their training load to enhance performance.
Many runners seem to fear the idea of cutting back on their training plan as they believe it will negatively influence performance right before the big event.
There is no need to worry, as reducing your mileage is one of the most important parts of the training plan and will allow you to reach a peak in performance!
Various techniques have been specifically designed to progressively lessen the negative psychological and physiological influences of daily training in preparation for an up-coming athletic competition or event.
The reduction of the training load can be attained through the modification of different components which include: the volume of training, frequency, intensity, the taper duration and its pattern.
Training volume should decrease by 60-85%
Maintain/or slightly increase training intensity for a successful taper phase and to...
The time has approached where the London Marathon is on the horizon and everyone is thinking about their final long run of 16-20 miles. This brings the question of what should you be doing during this session to make sure you are sufficiently fuelled.
Performance nutritionist, David Dixon, offers some advice...
Unfortunately, everybody is different and there is no exact answer that will work for everyone as there are a number of external factors that need to be taken into consideration: current fitness level, average running speed, terrain, weather, current nutritional practices both generally and within current training.
However, I will attempt to give some basic tips and advice in the coming piece.
Everybody breaks food down to help us repair muscles and to provide energy to help us move around. The two main sources for this are fat and carbohydrates.
As you can see from the diagram, the amount of intensity will dictate the type of fuel we will predominantly...
Lower back pain affects most of us at some point in our lives, whether we play sport or not.
This presentation will introduce you to some of the common injuries associated with the back and give you some tips to manage them.
How can sports therapy help?
General lower back pain, whether it be long or short term, can be treated in a variety of ways - one being soft tissue therapy. This will release tight muscles which are causing restriction in movement.
Often muscular release of the glutes (buttocks) and hip flexors will also help with lower back pain, as these may become tight as a compensation to a weak core.
Exercises make a large contribution towards reducing pain and symptoms with lower back issues.
Here are some exercises you can do to increase your core strength which will help to support your spine.
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Foam rolling is the self application of pressure across areas to:
Eliminate/ease muscular tightness
Reduce existing scar tissue
It is also known as myofascial release or myofascial therapy.
myo = muscle
fascial = a sheet of connective tissue
What do you use?
A purpose-made foam roller
Hockey/tennis (hard ball)
A purpose-made massage stick
A rolling pin
Basically anything that helps to work into the tight tissue!
Why should I foam roll?
The goal of myofascial release is to stretch and loosen the fascia so that it and other structures can move freely. This results in decreased muscle and joint pain, muscle tightness, increase in circulation and improved mobility and balance.
When should I foam roll and for how long?
Foam rolling only needs to be applied for 20 - 30 seconds per area. It all depends on how tight the area is. If it is a sore area then let off the pressure slightly.
Don’t foam roll too quickly! Take your time to roll right...
As your runs get longer, the motivation to push through can get difficult, especially in the cold weather.
Have a read of these useful tips from sports psychologist, Andy Preston. These will not only help during your run, but through the course of your training as well!
1) Spend time to appreciate your running
Before a run starts, think for a few moments about how you feel right now. Ignore any thoughts/ feelings about what you are about to do. Focus on the physical sensations you are experiencing. As your run continues, continue to think about your physical experiences. For example, do you feel a sense of freedom because you are running?
2) Spend time during your run to appreciate your training session
Ignore your GPS watch. Don’t look at your mile splits, or distance covered. Before being asked to tell people about ‘how it went’, ask yourself what you appreciate about the run. Is it the environment you run in? Is it an interaction with a fellow runner? Or the solitude of bein...