I’d like you to take a minute and picture a car. Imagine driving that car for an entire year without stopping. It’s not possible, and even if it were, the car wouldn’t run as smooth as it would if you took the time to realign the tires or change the oil. If you drove this car all year without taking the time to focus on the smaller pieces that help the car run as efficiently as possible, then you’d run the car to the ground.
Rather than working your body, both physically and mentally, for an entire year without rest or giving some extra TLC to focus on the “smaller pieces” that make you run as efficiently as possible, you’ll run yourself into the ground.
You need time to rest and refuel, and you need time to allow attention to specific parts of your body (Also known as your weaknesses).
You need rest to avoid overexertion and promote muscle growth. When you stress your muscles or work out, you cause microtears in these tissues. When those tissues repair is when muscles grow and get stronger. You have to provide time for those tissues to repair to increase muscle mass.1 You also need rest to help prepare for the high intensity of “season,” whether that be a sports season or a time of the year where your activity is increased.
Spending time on your weaknesses is equally as important as rest. Your body is smart. Your body does a great job of finding the path of least resistance. If your left hip is weak, your left knee will put in the extra work to compensate. When we force our bodies to overcompensate, this can lead to injuries. This is why it’s so important to use your rest time, focus on these weaknesses, and avoid an overuse injury. It’s important to use your “off-season” efficiently and train to your specific needs. By doing this, you can decrease your risk for injury and increase your preparedness.2
So, you’ve worked out hard for an extended period, whether that be training for a race, competing in a sport, or being disciplined in the gym. Maybe you’re pain-free and want to be better or more efficient at certain aspects of your sport, or perhaps you’re feeling those familiar twinges that usually lead to pain. If your weaknesses aren’t glaringly obvious (like a sprained ankle or jammed finger), it’s hard to know what to focus on to make yourself better. Physical Therapists are movement experts and can assist you with identifying weaknesses in common movement patterns and provide you with guidance on how to turn those weaknesses into strengths.
There are also a few common weaknesses you can start addressing now:
Single-Leg Squat with Chair (you can add pillows, so you don’t have to squat so low)
TIP: Keep an eye out for your knee, staying above your toes, don’t let it fall in or out.
TIP: Watch so you’re not sticking your hips up into the air or letting them sag towards the floor.
TIP: Try doing this while you stand at a counter doing dishes or brushing your teeth.
If you would like to learn more, contact your nearest Athletico Physical Therapy clinic and schedule a Free Assessment. Free assessments are available both in-clinic and virtually through our telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Franco MF, Madaleno FO, de Paula TMN, Ferreira TV, Pinto RZ, Resende RA. Prevalence of overuse injuries in athletes from individual and Team Sports: A systematic review with meta-analysis and grade recommendations. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy. 2021;25(5):500-513. doi:10.1016/j.bjpt.2021.04.013
2. Stanek JM, Dodd DJ, Kelly AR, Wolfe AM, Swenson RA. Active duty firefighters can improve functional movement screen (FMS) scores following an 8-week individualized client workout program. Work. 2017;56(2):213-220. doi:10.3233/wor-172493