Monday, August 12, 2019

Injury Prevention in Grappling Sports - Part IIIc

Last week, we continued our discussion on neck injuries in grappling sports by diving into some range of motion exercises and stretches we can do as a part of our preventative routine.  Typically, as a part of our training, we will do some form of range of motion and neck strengthening as a part of our warm up for class.  Traditionally this will include laying on our back and going through 10-20 reps of chin to chest, looking over your shoulder and ear to shoulder.  This is a great to help with both range of motion and strength as a warm up however does not build the strength we need to prevent these types of injuries.  This week, we will dive into some exercises you can do in the gym that will help prepare you for when you are on the mat.

The following neck exercises are laid out in a progression.  These are progressed from ones we use in rehabilitation to ones we use in wrestling.  If you have not been doing these, start with the isometrics and as you gain strength and as these get easier, move to the next level of exercise.   
  • Level I - cervical isometrics - keeping your head stationary, you are going to push your head in various directions (like depicted here) without allowing your head to move.  You should do forward/backwards, rotation and side bending, 15-20 reps each direction, 2-3 sets.

  • Level II - cervical stabilization with CLX - this video shows how to do this same exercise against resistance.  The video only shows one direction but you can do the same thing in multiple directions.  

  • Level III - wresting neck exercises with hands - this series should be done only once a base level of strength in your neck is obtained.  Start with using your hands as support then progress to no hands.
  • Level IV - neck planks - this is the most advanced level and should only be done once all other levels achieved.  Should start at 10 sec and progress to 30 sec holds.

The final exercise is for your shoulder girdle and rotator cuff.  Several of the muscles (trapezius, rhomboids, levator scapula, etc) which attach to the cervical spine also attach to the scapula, proper neck strengthening should also include shoulder stabilization.  This exercise will help to create that stability.  
  • Retraction with external rotation - start with standing upright with band in your hands, palms facing up and elbows at 90 degrees.  Retract (pinch together) your shoulder blades and hold that position.  While holding that position, externally rotate (rotate out) your arm and pause for a 3 sec count.  Slowly return to the starting position while holding your shoulders back.  Repeat that for 3 sets of 10-20 reps.   
Including these exercises along with your range of motion exercises will help to maintain good range of motion and strength to your neck.  Doing this will aid in reducing your risk for a neck injury while on the mats.  Next week, we will start to dive into shoulder injuries. 

We hope you continue to enjoy this series and find the information valuable.  If you did, please share with your colleague and follow us on instagrm @ bjjpt_acl_guy and twitter @acl_prevention. #ViPerformAMI #ACLPlayItSafe

Dr. Nessler is a practicing physical therapist with over 20 years sports medicine clinical experience and a nationally recognized expert in the area of athletic movement assessment and ACL injury prevention.  He is the founder | developer of the ViPerform AMI, the ACL Play It Safe Program, Run Safe Program and author of a college textbook on this subject.  Trent has performed >5000 athletic movement assessments in the US and abroad.  He serves as the National Director of Sports Medicine Innovation for Select Medical, is Vice Chairman of Medical Services for USA Obstacle Racing and movement consultant for numerous colleges and professional teams.  Trent has also been training and a competitive athlete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for 5 years. 

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