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Frequently Asked Questions: Sports Injuries Edition

What constitutes a sports injury? We shed some light on some of the most commonly-asked questions about injuries sustained from sports and other lifestyle activities.

How long does it take to recover from sports injuries?

While every injury and subsequent recovery differs from person to person, the chart below is a good guide as to how long the process will take.

I maintain an active lifestyle with exercises and have been doing so a long time without any issues. How did my issue occur?

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) is caused by repeated use of a body part, such as your shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, or hand. You can get RSI through repeat activities even in your daily life, including hairdressing, decorating, typing, or even working in an assembly line.

Other causes of RSI include:

  • Sports like golf or tennis that involve many repetitive movements

  • Poor posture when sitting or standing at work

  • Regular use of hand-held power tools

It is important to note that repetitive or strenuous work does not always cause RSI. Many people can do the same job for many years without having a problem.Pain in the body can be caused by a combination of things, including age-related degeneration.

While we recommend seeing a professional to ensure your bout of RSI does not become further aggravated or worsens, there are several things you can do on your own to ease your symptoms.

  • Stay active, but limit the amount of activity you do to start with before gradually increasing the difficulty levels, length of active time, and so on.

  • Try to use a hot or cold pack (you can use a bag of frozen peas in a pinch), wrapped in a towel, on the affected area for up to 20 minutes. Repeat every 2 to 3 hours for best effects.

  • If your symptoms are a result of your work, speak to your employer on potential changes you can make to improve your condition. This can include a change in the way you work, or a reduction in your hours.

  • Do not rest the affected area for more than a few days, as an extended period of rest can lead to the affected body part becoming weaker and less flexible.

Is sports conditioning only open to professional athletes?

Whether you’re a professional athlete or simply someone who engages in an active lifestyle, sports conditioning can provide a world of benefits. Sports conditioning can help improve your core strength, balance, and stamina, and also show you the right way to perform stretches and exercises. This way, you’ll be able to track your progress and identify your exercise habits and training patterns, so that you can live the best, active life you want!

How many weeks of training do I need to do before I see improvements?

A widespread understanding among professionals is that all bodies are built differently. As such, there will always be a variance in terms of recovery, improvement, and muscle development rate. However, following a structured training program as part of a Periodisation plan can provide a guide to progress the gains you want to see.

Let’s start by answering the most important question. What, exactly, is Periodisation?

Periodisation is the process of putting together a training program that spans the length of weeks, months, or occasionally years - essentially breaking down your training into periods of time that are dedicated to achieving specific goals like building strength, muscle, or power. Essentially, the goal is to string together several ‘blocks’ or ‘phases’ of successive synergistic and progressively-overloaded training cycles for long term progress.

In general, the cycles within a periodisation plan are classified as:

A microcycle: A week, representing individual workouts to be completed

A mesocycle: About 1-3 months, representing progression of workout plan as outlined in microcycle

A macrocycle: A full calendar year, representing the combination of several mesocycles aimed at achieving long term goals

There are three types of periodisation. They are:

Linear Periodisation

A straightforward type of periodisation; demands that when absolute load or intensity of the exercise goes up, the volume (sets and repetitions) goes down. As an example, a month-long linear periodisation plan for bench press exercises might look like this:

Week 1: 225×10

Week 2: 240×8

Week 3: 255×6

Week 4: 270×4

Linear periodisation is recommended for beginners on their fitness journey, and can help with establishing a strong foundation of strength in exercises. Likewise for those seeking to pack on muscle or general strength, those who adopt a linear periodisation cycle are able to recover faster and see better results.

Undulating Periodisation

Undulating periodisation entails changing up the volume and intensity of your training program, either weekly or daily. Weekly undulating periodisation does this from week to week, while daily undulating periodisation does this between daily training sessions.

This kind of periodisation allows for you to set different goals throughout your sessions from day to day, or week to week. For example, as part of a daily undulating periodisation cycle, you could commit to working on hypertrophy on Mondays, increasing power on Wednesdays, and strength training on Fridays.

Undulating periodisation is a great opportunity for intermediate level individuals to change up their exercise routines and improve progress. As one becomes stronger, it becomes harder to recover from the aggressive jumps of linear periodisation models. Nonlinear and undulating cycles can help to more appropriate scale volume and intensity for better progress.

Block Periodisation

Block periodisation breaks up your training mesocycle into three phases over the course of several weeks: the accumulation, transmutation, and realisation phases. Each block can span between 2-4 weeks at a time, with increasing intensity and decreasing volume as you progress.

The accumulation phase includes higher volume and lower intensities, whilst the transmutation phase intensifies your training to increase strength. The realisation phase helps you to achieve peak performance at maximal strength or power output.

Advanced athletes are encouraged to adopt a block periodisation cycle. These allow said athletes to customise their training intensity and volumes, whilst evening out their selection of exercises to eliminate plateaus and improve recovery.

It is important to know when you can implement periodisation on your fitness journey, as the right use of this method will enable you to see greater results with better longevity. Factors to take into account when considering the type of periodisation to engage include your training age and the amount of total time you’ve spent working out. Other factors require a more in-depth look into and study of your specific training goals. This means you’ll benefit from speaking with a training professional who can help to craft a regime that best suits your needs.

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