When athletes think about performance, they usually focus on things like strength, speed, flexibility, and endurance. But it’s wise to spend some time also thinking about prevention… of injury. Here are some exercises you should be doing to help prevent injury.

Maintaining proper form and posture is important to keeping your back in the game. Try keeping your stomach slightly pulled in, shoulders rolled back, and chest out. Try this mini stretch every morning, or when you wonder if your posture is slumping.

The Posture Check Stretch: Begin by stretching your arms over your head and slightly toward the back. Now, bring your arms down and roll your shoulders forward three times, then backward three times. Now roll your neck in each direction three times, and stretch your neck by keeping your face facing the ceiling for 10 seconds.

Other exercises to keep your back strong:

  • Planks
  • Dead lifts
  • Supermans
  • Abdominal crunches

To keep your knees strong, you must keep the surrounding muscles strong. Pay attention to your stance. It may be somewhat crooked, which can cause your knees to turn out unnaturally, weakening them.

Here are exercises for the knees:

  • Duck squats — Stand in a typical squat position with your feet apart the width of your shoulders, legs bent halfway. Now, lower your bottom down to almost touch your heels and then rise back up.
  • Walking lunge — Step into a front lunge, but instead of coming back up to upright step the other leg forward in a lunge, as if walking.
  • Polymeric jump — Stand with your feet at hip width and bend down into a squat. Now jump straight up with as much force as possible. Land back softly into the squat position.

Shoulders support the neck and other areas, but are also prone to injury, especially the rotator cuff. These exercises should help.

  • Shoulder rotations — Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a weight in each hand. Lift the weights into a halfway biceps curl. Then keep the weights there, but rotate the weights and your lower arms out to the sides. Then bring the weights back to the half curl in front and then down.
  • Dynamic plank — Start from a plank position on your toes and the palms of your hands. Carefully bend one arm and lower it so you are down on one forearm. Repeat that with the other arm. Rise back up one arm at a time.
  • Diamond push-up — This is a push-up, but from a different position. Start in a push-up position, but then put your hands together so your thumbs and forefingers touch and form a diamond. Do the push-up from this position.

Call us at Great Lakes Orthopedics for more exercises and routines that will keep you on the field or the court.