The Math Equation That Can Help Us Prevent Injuries
Written by Coach Calvin Sun
Most of us can agree that injuries aren’t a desirable outcome from our training or any physical activity we might engage in. Yet when you ask the average coach, “What can I do to prevent injury?”, you’ll usually get a generic answer along the lines of “make sure you warm-up and do some stretching…”. While sound advice, this doesn’t provide an individual with a practical framework to approach injury prevention. The goal of today’s post is to introduce the “model of repetitive motion” to help provide a framework for both coaches and athletes to systematically approach injury prevention in their training.
Dr. P. Michael Leahy, founder of the popular manual therapy modality known as Active Release Technique (ART), is credited with developing the model of repetitive motion. While most people often think of injuries as something acute, such as a broken bone or ankle sprain, repetitive trauma can also have a cumulative effect that results in injury. Because CrossFit is a non-contact sport that involves a high number of similar movement patterns, it’s reasonable to assume that athletes in the sport are more likely to experience injury due to repetitive motion instead of a blunt force trauma.
The model is simply stated with the following equation: I = NF/AR
I = Insult or Injury to the tissues
Most can agree that anyone who exercises will cause a degree of insult to their muscle tissues from training. This is necessary and a part of adaptation to a training stimulus; however, we want to manage the threshold to minimize our risk of causing injury. In our competitive athletes, we’re always playing tug-of-war on both sides of the equation. We can play with the variables on the other side of the equation to keep them below threshold in order to better their odds at staying healthy throughout the competitive season. Insult can be thought of as soft tissue restrictions that result from physical activity, which can include poor postural habits in addition to training in the gym or playing a sport. Injury can be viewed as harm or damage to a structure. In either case, the degree of insult or injury is dependent on the other variables covered below.