Are You Hitting The Right Target?

 In Excercise, Musculoskeletal Health, Sports Injury, Therapeutic Exercise

After a short break for the Summer Holidays, David Fitzgerald is finally back with a new video and this time he’s talking about a topic that can be interesting for many patients; Are You Hitting The Right Target?
As the motto of Dublin Physiotherapy is “helping you move better“, David has prepared a new video for his viewers to give them some tips and advice to understand whether or not they are hitting the targets they should be hitting.

In this article, we will go over the main points discussed in his daily vlog however, if you would prefer to hear what he has to say for yourself, then watch the video below.

As he briefly explains in the introduction of his latest video, David has chosen to talk about hitting targets after noticing that a few of his patients have pointed out that they didn’t feel any benefits from their specific exercise routine. To give you a more concrete example, if you were to be given a series of exercises to strengthen your core (such as an abdominal plank, squats or lunges) but didn’t feel any of the muscle groups being put under any form of strain that would mean you weren’t hitting your targets.

It is, in fact, very common for clinicians to see some patients that are very frustrated after putting all the efforts in an exercise routine that should be rehabilitating without seeing any improvements nor feeling any benefit.
This is a problem that, unfortunately, is quite common. As David adds, in fact, despite the patients executing the exercise the right way, the target muscle groups are often not activated, meaning that they will feel little to no benefit from the routine.

When this is the case, it’s a simple matter of muscle activation, a series of simple exercises aimed at the specific muscle to get it ready for the exercise routine.

What are the main issues deriving from this?

Missing your target is not only going to lead to an unsuccessful exercise routine; it is also going to affect other areas of your body. For instance, it often happens that you see people at the gym lifting more than they should and consequently lamenting pain in their joints rather than in their muscles.
When this is the case, it’s usually only a matter of slowing the exercise down and making the movements slow and deliberate, really focusing on the targets that had been set. When patients do that, they will soon realise that they are working on a more precise and effective way of hitting their targets.

If you follow sports you might have noticed that muscle activation exercises are far more important than static stretching. If you happen to watch a football game, for instance, you will see that the players spend a fair amount of time warming up before each game, some of them focusing on specific pre-activation exercises, to prevent any muscle or joint strains during the game.
The principal of muscle activation is that you do more complex movements; part of that is to change the physiology of the muscle, trying to make it more elastic and more compliant, but also to stimulate the nervous systems to give the right impulses from the brain to the right areas.

Not everyone reacts to the same exercises in the same way; David gives the practical example of a team of rugby players who, despite following the same exercise routine, use different muscle groups. This phenomenon is pretty rare, as it can only be analysed when looking at a wider picture (i.e. a large group of athletes exercising together) and it shows that, despite doing the same exercise, different people will use different muscle groups and that is why it is important to pre-activate the muscles you will need to target.

So, next time you are working on your rehabilitative exercise routine, make sure you don’t leave anything to chance; pre-activate the interested muscles to make sure that all the efforts you will put into exercising won’t go to waste.

That is all for David’s video about hitting your targets, keep an eye out for next week’s topic and don’t forget to check out his previous videos.

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