Perhaps on of the most flawed concepts that has emerged in the last twenty-five years in the lexicon of training is prehab. The term originated with pitching guru Tom House in the mid 1980’s when he was the pitching coach of the Texas Rangers. Tom has his PHD in marketing and he is a good marketer. Prehab was a marketing term he coined for his exercises to prevent pitching injures. As the years passed more guru’s latched onto the term and it has taken on a life of it’s own. It sounds good, until you step back and look closely at the concept and implications. When I hear prehab I immediately think about someone who is preparing for a rehab program, not someone who is preparing to perform. Injury prevention is a key component of any sound well-designed training program. You should not be able to see the injury prevention component, it should be transparent, an inherent part of the overall program.
Don’t prehab prevent. Look closely at your training design. Does it address sport demands in terms of pattern of commonly occurring injuries in the sport? Does the program fit the athlete based on their current physical competency assessment? Does the training program respect differences and similarities of the individual athlete and their position or event? You must TRAIN, that will go a long way toward preventing injury. You cannot minimize the effect a good training program has on reducing the risk and occurrence of preventable injuries.
It is no coincidence that as injuries of all types are off the chart that the amount of prehab work has visibly increased. Step back and look at why? Perhaps it because we have trivialized training, made it secondary to prehab and corrective exercise. We need to shift the focus back onto preparing the athlete’s for the rigors of the sport. We need to revisit the performance model and put the medical model on the shelf where it belongs. The medical model has everyone walking on eggshells, afraid to move much less train without doing a laundry list of prehab exercises. By the time you complete the prehab routine there no time left for significant training. Train to compete and prepare for the rigors of the competitive arena. Train the complete athlete by addressing all components of physical preparation in a systematic, sequential and progressive manner and the risk, severity and incidence of injuries will be reduced. Commonsense?