Help... Unusual PT question- injury prevention related

  1. Help... Unusual PT question- injury prevention related

    I will be getting my certification as a personal trainer in March. I have been exercising for 8 years now, though the most intensity and true focus on it has been in the last year or so (although I was also very serious in high school). My first BIG gig as a trainer will potentially be in July/August.

    Here's the rundown- my dad runs a music festival for strings players (violin, viola, cello, and bass). In addition to being the outdoor activities coordinator, he also wants me to work with the students as an injury prevention coach.

    There has been some debate between my dad and I about how this will take place. He has it in his mind that I am going to put them through an array of shoulder and back exercises with ultra-light dumbbells, towels, and therabands. Essentially, the things that he has in mind are all rehab type exercises. I do have a good bit of experience with these exercises myself, having had an arthroscopic shoulder reconstruction a few years ago. I do see the value in these exercises, but I also disagree with him as to the place they take in a training regimen.

    In my mind, those exercises are for rehab and form correction. If someone is injuring themself because their shoulder is too far forward when they play, obviously one would want to train the muscles that will help roll it back a bit and prevent that injury. Same goes for a hurt rotator cuff- some degree of direct training is important to strengthen and get it back into playing condition. However, I feel that overall fitness would play a greater role in preventing injury than just direct training of potential points of injury.

    Though these musicians do use their bodies in unusual ways, it seems to me that by training them for natural muscular function would help them a great deal. I'm thinking along the lines of a lot of body weight exercises, as well as stretching, some yoga poses, and potentially buying a trx to help train their backs and core a bit. The key for them overall is improving posture, which will translate to easier identification of issues in their playing form. They get a lot of repetitive motion injuries (such as tendinitis), but also due to being seated awkwardly I've seen that they develop problems with their backs (at least this has been my experience- my gf is a cellist and I notice that her back is often overly-rounded, and I've noticed it in a few others).

    I guess my question is, am I wrong to think that not training the weak points directly unless there is a need to do so is the best thing for these musicians? Will overall fitness translate into fewer injuries through better overall body positioning? As I said before, the specialization of these musicians in the way they use their bodies makes training them a very interesting prospect for me. It's a much more physical job than what people might think.
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  2. You both are right.

    You in that a better overall level of fitness will benefit the players and improve their endurance and performance.

    Your father in that the posture and movements assumed put strain on the joints and cause muscular imbalances and tightness that will result in hampered performance/compensations or over use injury.

    You may want to do a search of pubmed or a physical therapy database to see what the most common injuries and imbalances are in these musicians. After you have an understanding of the, you can identify the weaknesses, overactive muscles, tightness, etc. and address that with PRE-hab exercises and stretching (as your father wants).
    My guess would be some kind of shoulder tendinitis, tight hip flexors due to always sitting, maybe excessive lordosis and shoulder protraction....but your search will tell you this in detail.

    Next, you can identify what they need to perform better. General fitness, core strength, endurance, etc. Seems aerobic fitness, local muscular endrance, and core strength would be the most important. You can run basic fitness tests to see what they need most.

    Finally, talk to the players. See what they would like to improve on: where they have nagging injuries, pains, etc.; where they feel fatigue first during playing (and watch them play to look for it yourself).

    Good luck, sounds like a unique and exciting experience.


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