Tissue stresses and Tissue health - A basic understanding.

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We as coaches constantly get asked; ‘why can I not do that movement or exercise’ or ‘why do I have a constant niggle here’, ‘coach, why are you making us do this weird exercise’ or my overall favourite ‘I want to do a muscle up or a handstand press up why won’t you let me!’.

For many years, (more so now than ever before) we idolise our elite performance athletes in our chosen sport/sports that interest us. Moreover, we use their success as motivation towards our personal training goals. This can be very effective given the safe management and application of the training that we undertake.

What we struggle to understand, as the general public, is that we have entirely different lifestyles to our sporting idols and undergo completely different physical and mental stresses throughout our daily routine.

Following an ‘online program’ or emulating an ‘elite level athlete, regardless of sport workout regime will either;

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a) Get you injured to the degree you need surgery to fix it

b) injure you to the point that you require copious amounts of Therapy and Rehabilitation or

c) Put you in that much discomfort you ache so bad and are in constant pain.

Most of these will probably put you out of work for some amount of time.

Either way without me putting this more bluntly it is completely thoughtless and stupid.

Tissue health – Tissue health is defined by what stress the tissue can absorb before becoming damaged (Brukner and Khan (2017). This is a function of the health of the tissue. For the same level of activity, the risk of re-injury increases with increasing damage to the tissue that is generally evaluated through the presence of symptoms (e.g. pain), signs (e.g. swelling) and diagnostic tests (i.e. muscle strength).

Tissue stress – Is the stress that that is applied to the tissue, directly related to the activity we do. Using the frequency, intensity, time and type (FITT) principle us as coaches can modify our program to suit the general public and then tweak individuals training during our classes on a 1-2-1 basis. All of the FITT principles create the stresses that are applied to our tissues so we MUST pay attention to them Joyce and Lewindon (2015).

Tissue stress is where we as coaches come in to determine what sets, reps, rest, optimal loading, optimal range, client readiness and many more factors allowing us to decide whether or not you as clients are ready for a particular movement or a certain level, i.e. intensity or volume (another huge discussion point).

Our discussion points were mainly to get you to understand our active daily living (routine) is far different from that of the people we spend so much time copying and idolising, so when your coach says you are not ready, then you are not ready. He will, of course, provide you with the best route of action to take to be successful, whether you listen to that or decide to skip the steps is up to you but consider your (ADL) active daily living routine and also whether you enjoy being in pain.

Earn the right to be successful in your movements by putting in the hard work and the time to allow your tissues to understand load and stress. I am confident your sporting heroes have done, so what makes you any different?

Prevent injury by; Listening to your coaches this will allow you to learn, develop and grow.

Article by Tim Fearnett

References

Brukner, P. (2017). Brukner & Khan's clinical sports medicine. Principles of sports injury rehabilitation, Brukner P, Clarsen B, Cook J, Cools A, Crossley K, Hutchinson M, McCrory P, Bahr R, Khan K. Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine: Injuries, Volume 1, 5e.

Joyce, D. and Lewindon, D. eds., (2015). Sports injury prevention and rehabilitation: integrating medicine and science for performance solutions. Routledge.