Rehabilitation after an injury is crucial to help the affected joint, nerve, or muscle return to its original level of function. There are several principles that guide the rehabilitation process and make it effective. Here are the 4 guiding principles for rehabilitation:
1 Choose the Right Exercise: The first step in effective rehabilitation is to choose the right exercise. The exercise should be specific to the muscle groups that need to be targeted and the desired adaptive change in the muscle. The exercise must be challenging enough to promote adaptation without causing damage to the tissue. The law of specificity of training states that the body responds specifically to the physical activity it is subjected to.
2 Progressive Loading: Progressive loading is the key to a successful rehabilitation program. The body must be challenged with increasingly greater training stimuli to generate fitness adaptations over time. The exercise should be adjusted to match the individual’s improvement without causing strain or injury. The form and technique of the exercise should be perfected first, followed by increasing the range of motion, reps, and weight or difficulty of the exercise.
3 Steady Progression: The 10% rule states that the progression should be steady and gradual. Overloading the body too quickly will cause setbacks and slow down the progress. A steady rate of progress allows for positive adaptations to take place and compound over time. The sweet spot is the middle ground between over-exertion and under-challenging.
4 Frequency is king: The 2nd and 3rd principle speaks about gradually progressing the workload, but this can only occur when one can recover, (an essential component of rehabilitation). The body needs time to recover and make positive adaptations following the stress of exercise. Overloading the body with a heavy or long session normally results in fatigue and a decrease in progress, as it overloads our capacity to recover. Exercises where you have something left in the tank stimulate a steady rate of progress without annihilating or reinjuring sub-optimal tissue. But to have enough impact these easier sessions must be done both frequently and consistently.
In conclusion, these 4 rehabilitation principles provide a framework for effective rehabilitation and help individuals return to their original level of function after an injury. By gradually increasing the intensity and or the amount of appropriate exercises that you regularly perform, you will be sure achieve your rehabilitation goals and prevent future injuries.
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