The entire Bay Area, including us here in Berkeley, is holding its collective breath and hoping that Steph Curry’s knee injury heals quickly and the Warriors continue their historic run to an NBA Championship.
While accidents happen, and this seemed to be one of those “freak accidents”, wouldn’t it be great if we could actually train ourselves to be resistant to those types of injuries? If you look at the current trends in sports, athletes are becoming more and more strong and explosive and it’s phenomenal to watch. But we are also seeing a huge rise in what we call “non-contact injuries.” This means someone has been injured simply by falling or trying to move their own body.
Steph Curry’s knee injury on Sunday was one of those non-contact injuries. Granted, he slipped on a wet spot on the floor, but the movement and position he went into is a movement we have our clients learn to move into every day at our gym. The only difference is the speed at which it happened, and the fact that Steph is wearing a rigid ankle brace that didn’t allow his ankle to move, putting more pressure on the knee joint and causing a sprain of his MCL.
If our training is truly creating better “athletes”, we have to question why so many are getting injured doing normal, athletic movements (yes, falling is a normal athletic movement). The majority of strength training movements used today are very linear and angular. Squats, deadlifts, Olympic lifts, kettle bell moves and lifts… they are all angular and linear. Angular and linear movements are incredible tools for creating strength and torque (which is why body builders who spend hours in the gym every day are so huge). They have also helped many athletes gain strength and make huge gains in the weight room and in their sport. But, could we do even better?
If you look at sports, across the board, there are only 3 that require linear and angular movement only: Running, Cycling, and Crew. Every other sport contains rotational movements that require 360 degrees of strength and stability in all angles, ranges of motions, and speeds. It is in these awkward angles, rotations, and speeds that most non-contact injuries occur.
You see, the brain carries a “map” of all of our joints and movements that we regularly do. When we go into a position or range of motion that is new or uncommon (one that we don’t have a “map” for), a reactive tightening and bracing of the surrounding tissue happens to protect that joint. This tightening is what makes strains and tears more likely. If it is somewhere we have been before, and the brain has a map for it, we go into that position with less bracing and injuries are less likely to occur, or at least less severe.
Is it possible to train this? Yes! At Fitness Evolved, we train these types of movements every day because we know that this is key to having high quality movement, great strength, and injury resistance. We create maps for all possible ranges of movements and ranges of motion. We stress the tissue so it adapts by getting tougher and more resilient in those movements and ranges of motion.
In essence, we help our clients and athletes become “stronger in ways that matter.” This is the premise behind “The Strength Gym”, created by Z-Health Performance Solutions. (Available Here)
Here is an example of how we help create 360 Degree Strength for Knees:
If we want to continue to become more and more athletic and stay strong and healthy along the way, we need to continue to rethink the way we train!
We really enjoyed seeing Steph light up the NBA like he has the past few years. We wish him a speedy recovery and can’t wait to see him continue to push the Warriors and what’s possible further!