Are You Still The Athlete You Think You Are?

Most of us think that we’re better athletes than we actually are. And that misconception may come from the fact that we think our fitness level and skill set are the same or higher then it was when we were younger and playing sports at the high school or collegiate level. We often forget that during our teenage and young adult years that we had plenty of time to exercise and maintain the fitness and conditioning that was necessary to have the athletic success that many of us experienced. Some of us may have even enjoyed athletic success at an elite level. It’s common in the progression of ones life that you obtain a career in chosen field, get married, have children and raise a family. And with those life changes, for a number of reasons that one we may not realize, your fitness level suffers because of the additional responsibilities that one takes on. And as a middle age athlete, we become "weekend warriors". We’re still very competitive with others when comes to playing sports, as we are in many facets of our life. But we either don’t have the time or haven’t made the time to ensure that our fitness level is what it should be to participate in sports safely and reduce the risk of injury. So often I hear from my patients or clients, I have a limited amount of time to exercise or play my favorite sport (golf, tennis, run, lift weights or cycling and etc). They often say if they have to choose between doing their corrective exercises, stretch or do joint mobility exercises and doing something they enjoy, they will choose the latter and take their chances. What’s interesting is these same weekend warriors will get frustrated about their poor or less than satisfactory performance! Or complain about nagging injuries or constantly sustaining new injuries!

I have a friend who qualified for the Olympic trials in 1996 and 2000 in the 200 meter sprint. Several years ago I asked her how many hours a day did she workout. Her response was 3 to 3 ½ hours a day. I asked her how much time did she spend running and her answer was 20-30 minutes! I said what did you do the rest of your workout? Her response: “I spent the first part of the workout getting ready to run!” That is an incredible difference in preparation versus playing. That ratio works out to be 6/7:1! Now one has to understand that ratio is pretty extreme, however is not unrealistic to ask typical weekend warriors to set aside 20-30 minutes a day to do their corrective exercises, reduce the risk for injury and give themselves the best chance to achieve success in their “favorite sport”!

Here are 12 Exercises that you use to be able to do in high school or college. See if you can still do them now correctly and without pain?

  • Reverse Stationary Lunge (Back leg at 90 degrees)
  • Sit and Reach (Sit and touch your toes)
  • Parallel Squat (Top of Thighs parallel to the floor)
  • Supine Bilateral Quad Stretch
  • Crab Walk
  • Bear Crawl
  • Stork Stand
  • Pull-ups
  • Plank
  • Shoulder Lift Test or Y’s
  • Standing Spinal Twist
  • Push-ups

If you have difficulty doing any of these exercises correctly and without pain, it may be in your best interest to come into LA Sports Performance Care for an evaluation. All athletes benefit from having a fresh perspective on developing their individual training programs. While you are not the athlete you used to be, you can still make gains in performance and participate in athletic events with a reduced risk for injury.