Archive for ‘Injury prevention and Physical Therapy’

April 15, 2011

Hard bout or derby practice? Here are some tips on Recovering Quickly

Thanks Michael!

*Red Comments by Glitterotica (Medusa Skates)

10 Ways To Recover Quickly After Exercise

What to Do After Exercise to Speed Exercise Recovery


Use a foam roller for myofascial release and massaging tight muscles

Rest and recovery is an essential part of any workout routine. Your after exercise recovery routine has a big impact on your fitness gains and sports performance and allows you to train much more effectively. Unfortunately, most people don’t have an after exercise recovery plan. Here are some tips to get your post-workout plans on track.

Why Recovery After Exercise Is Important1

Recovery after exercise is essential to muscle and tissue repair and strength building. This is even more critical after a heavy weight training session. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building. For weight training routines, never work the same muscles groups two days in a row.

10 Ways To Recover Quickly After Exercise

There are as many methods of recovery as there are athletes. The following are some of the most commonly recommended by the experts.

    1. Cool Down2. Cooling down simply means slowing down (not stopping completely) after exercise. Continuing to move around at a very low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes after a workout helps remove lactic acid from your muscles and may reduce muscles stiffness. Warming up and cooling down are more helpful in cooler temperatures or when you have another exercise session or an event later the same day.
    2. Replace Fluids3. You lose a lot of fluid during exercise and ideally, you should be replacing it during exercise, but filling up after exercise is an easy way to boost your recovery. Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body and having plenty of water will improve every bodily function. Adequate fluid replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who lose large amounts of water during hours of sweating. *There is a lot of research out now about drinking chocolate milk post exercise. Michael also suggests this.  I can tell you from experience that a big bottle of chocolate milk after a bout made me want to vomit and then vomit some more but I have no idea if it helped especially considering it was followed by a celebratory whiskey shot.  Dunno on this one
    3. Eat Properly4. After depleting your energy stores with exercise, you need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissues, get stronger and be ready for the next challenge. This is even more important if you are performing endurance exercise day after day or trying to build muscle. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate.  *For vegetarians: I eat a lot of cottage cheese, bananas, and oatmeal.  I cant stomach much after a hard workout but these always seem to agree with me.
    4. Stretch5. After a tough workout, consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.
    5. Rest6. Time is one of the best ways to recover (or heal) from just about any illness or injury and this also works after a hard workout. Your body has an amazing capacity to take care of itself if you allow it some time. Resting and waiting after a hard workout allows the repair and recovery process to happen at a natural pace. It’s not the only thing you can or should do to promote recovery, but sometimes doing nothing is the easiest thing to do.
    6. Perform Active Recovery7. Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.
    7. Have a Massage8. Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax. You can also try self-massage and Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles9 and avoid the heavy sports massage price tag.
    8. Take an Ice Bath10. Some athletes swear by ice baths, ice massage or contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) to recover faster, reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury. The theory behind this method is that by repeatedly constricting and dilating blood vessels helps remove (or flush out) waste products in the tissues. Limited research has found some benefits of contrast water therapy11 at reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)12.How to use contrast water therapy: While taking your post-exercise shower, alternate 2 minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water. Repeat four times with a minute of moderate temperatures between each hot-cold spray. If you happen to have a spa with hot and cold tubs available, you can take a plunge in each for the same time. *so every 2 minutes, you have to squeal for 30 seconds then repeat?
    9. Get Lots of Sleep13. While you sleep, amazing things are taking place in your body. Optimal sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly. During sleep, your body produces Growth Hormone (GH)14 which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair.
    10. Avoid Overtraining15. One simple way to recovery faster is by designing a smart workout routine in the first place. Excessive exercise, heavy training at every session or a lack of rest days will limit your fitness gains from exercise and undermine your recovery efforts.

Listen to Your Body for a Faster Recovery

The most important thing you can do to recovery quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. If you are feeling strong the day after a hard workout, you don’t have to force yourself to go slow. If you pay attention, in most cases, your body will let you know what it needs, when it needs it. The problem for many of us is that we don’t listen to those warnings or we dismiss them with our own self talk (“I can’t be tired, I didn’t run my best yesterday” or “No one else needs two rest days after that workout; they’ll think I’m a wimp if I go slow today.”).

Live C.L.E.A.N. and W.E.L.L.
Consciencesly Live Every Day Actively and Nutritiously
Welcoming Enlightenment Laughter and Love
Michael Benavidez
Licensed Massage Therapist – Texas Lic# MT109593
B.S. Nutritional Sciences – Texas A&M University Class of 1998
April 15, 2011

“I’m hurting alot, but I can’t stop skating. I don’t want to let my team down.”

Another great post by Michael Benavidez

(Red comments by Glitterotica)
I have heard these words come from 2 skaters in the past 4 days and I firmly believe it is not coincidence. “I’m hurting alot, but I can’t stop skating.  I don’t want to let my team down.”

With those words being said I feel compelled to post this:

Sports Psychology – Tips for Faster Sports Injury Recovery


Sports injury recovery generally focuses on physical rehab, but using a few sports psychology skills and techniques may actually help an athlete recover faster as they learn to use such setbacks to become a more confident and resilient athlete.  Athletes react to injuries with a wide range of emotions which may include denial, anger, sadness and even depression. An injury often seems unfair to anyone who has been physically active and otherwise healthy. Although these feelings are real, it’s important to move beyond the negative and find more positive strategies to cope with this setback. In many cases dealing gracefully with an injury helps an athlete become a more focused, flexible, and resilient athlete. Here are some sports psychology strategies you can use for faster injury recovery.

Learn About Your Injury

Learn as much as possible about the cause, treatment and prevention of your injury. Not fully understanding an injury can cause fear or anxiety. Learn how to talk to your doctor Ask the following questions of your doctor, trainer, coach or therapist until you know exactly what you can do to heal quickly and fully.

  • What is my diagnosis (what type of injury do I have)?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • What is the purpose of the treatments I am receiving?
  • What should I expect during rehab?
  • What alternative workouts can I safely do?
  • What are the warning signs that I am getting worse?
  •  Make sure the doctor understands what Roller Derby is. They often think we just lazily skate around and don’t seem to quite grasp the concept that we are a full contact sport. 

By understanding the injury and knowing what to expect during the rehabilitation process, you will feel less anxiety and a greater sense of control.

Accept Responsibility for Your Injury

This is not to say that the injury is your fault. What this means is that you accept that now you have an injury and you are the only one that can fully determine your outcome. By taking responsibility for your recovery process, you will find a greater sense of control and will quickly progress in recovery, rather than dwelling on the past or blaming the injury on an outside factor.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

To heal quickly you need to be committed to overcoming your injury by showing up for your treatments, working hard, and listening and doing what your doctor and/or athletic trainer recommend. You also need to monitor what you are thinking and saying to yourself regarding the injury and the rehab process. Your self-talk is important. Are your thoughts negative and self-defeating? To get the most out of your daily rehab, you need to work hard and maintain a positive attitude. Remain focused on what you need to do.

Use the Mind to Heal the Body

Growing research shows that it may be possible to speed up the healing process by using specific mental skills and techniques such as imagery and self-hypnosis. Imagery techniques use all of the senses to create mental images, feelings and sensations related to a desired outcome as though it is happening now or has already happened.Also See: How to Use Imagery – Step-by-Step Guide3

*For me, continuing to ‘play’ derby keeps my spirits up and my brain actively ready for my return.  Yes…I happen to have done a little car derby (yes, dad- I know that is stupid as all hell). I play land derby which is especially fun in crowds or at Walmart. Look for the holes and anticipate people’s moves.  I watch other skaters and pay attention to strategies and what I would do or not do if I were playing.  This keeps me mindfully engaged so after healing I wont feel so lost.

Get Support4

A common response after an injury is to isolate yourself from teammates, coaches, and friends. It is important to maintain contact with others as you recover from your injury. Your teammates, friends and coach can listen when you need to vent some anger, or can offer advice or encouragement during the rehab process. Just knowing you don’t have to face the injury alone can also be a tremendous comfort. So, go to practice; remain around the locker room and the weight room. Be visible by being an active member of the group.

* Captains and teammates need to be sure to provide a lot of encouragement and support.  We often feel very guilty about having an injury and feel that we let the team down or that we are being judged.  Its imperative that we support fellow skaters during their healing process especially as a captain.  Captains also need to pay close attention to ensuring a skater truly healed- you can usually tell if they are pretending 😉

Set Appropriate Goals5

Just because you are injured doesn’t mean you stop planning or setting goals. Rather than viewing the injury as a crisis, make it another training challenge. You goals will now focus on recovery rather than performance. This will help keep you motivated. By monitoring your goals you will also be able to notice small improvements in the rehab of your injury. You will feel more confident that you are getting better and improving. Remember to work closely with your therapist or doctor. They can help you set realistic goals that are in line with each stage of your rehab. Most athletes have a tendency to try to speed-up the recovery by doing too much too soon. It is important to accept that you are injured and know your limits.

* Do you damn physical therapy. It sucks but it’s the right way to go.

Maintain Your Fitness While Injured6

Depending upon the type of injury you have, you may be able to modify your training or add alternate forms of training to maintain cardiovascular conditioning or strength. Work with your trainer, therapist or physician to establish a good alternative workout program. If you can’t run, perhaps you can cycle or swim.Work on relaxation training and flexibility. Create a modified strength training program, do a limited amount of exercise7 to maintain cardiovascular fitness or focus on better nutritional health8.

* Right now my right shoulder is injured and its so frustrating. Before hurting it, I was doing a lot of planks and lifting weights at home. Sucked to see the muscle I had built fading away.  For the time being, I have been doing free weights just on the left side.  Hell, my right side has always been dominate so its time the left side did some work 🙂

With the right knowledge, support and patience an injury can be overcome without turning your whole world upside down. By taking things slow, setting realistic goals and maintaining a positive, focused approach most athletes can overcome minor injuries quickly and major injuries in time. Make sure you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for any injury.

Consciencesly Live Every Day Actively and Nutritiously

Welcoming Enlightenment Laughter and Love

Michael Benavidez
Licensed Massage Therapist – Texas Lic# MT109593
B.S. Nutritional Sciences – Texas A&M University Class of 1998
April 14, 2011

Roller Derby Injuries- Helpful advice

This is a great article written by TXRD’s  Licensed Massage Therapist.  He is a great supporter of roller derby and has offered our skaters tons of resources and….massages!

My name is Michael Benavidez and I am the LMT for the Texas Lonestar Roller Derby League. In regards to the repeated shoulder and rotator cuff injuries I have seen this season it is beyond necessary for all skaters (novice or veteran) to perform daily basic rotator cuff exercises, deltoid strengthening exercises, and scapular stretching on a daily to bi-daily basis. Here is a link to the basic rotator cuff exercises.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

*Three samples of internal rotation exercises and three external rotation exercises are shown. Choose one per exercise session. Do not do all three. In the first sample, resistance is provided by use of an immovable object (isometric exercises); in the second, resistance is provided by use of dumbbells (handheld weights); in the third, resistance is provided by the use of resistance bands (See equipment above). Which one should you choose? The rotator cuff exercises using dumbbells or resistance bands are generally preferable as they strengthen the rotator cuff throughout a range of motion – exercises that use dumbbells may also be performed without weights to decrease difficulty. The isometric rotation exercises are useful if movement of the shoulder joint causes pain. Do not do any exercise that causes pain.

Isometric Internal Rotation

Stand near the end of outer corner of wall.
Bend elbow to 90-degree angle and keep elbow close to body, lower arm level with floor.
Press palm of hand into wall for 10 seconds. Repeat exercise on other side.

Internal Rotation using Dumbbells

Lie on side.
*Use light dumbbell, as the rotator cuff muscles are relatively small.
Hold dumbbell on same side, Bend elbow to 90-degree angle. Keep elbow against body.
Slowly lift dumbbell upward and toward body.
Pause, and return to start.
Repeat 10 times. Repeat exercise on other side.

Internal Rotation using Resistance Band

Attach resistance band to doorknob / wall.
Stand with right side to wall.
Hold resistance band with right hand.
Bend elbow to 90-degree angle, hand facing frontward and elbow close to body.
Slowly rotate hand toward the middle of the body.
Return to starting position.
Repeat 10 times. Repeat exercise on other side

Isometric External Rotation

Stand with side to wall.
Bend elbow to 90-degree angle. Keep elbow close to body.
Press back of hand into wall for 10 seconds. Repeat exercise on other side

External Rotation using Dumbbells

Lie on left side.
With right arm, hold dumbbell next to body, elbow bent 90-degrees.
Slowly lift upward until back of hand faces backward.
Return to starting position.
Repeat 10 times. Repeat exercise on other side

External Rotation using Resistance Band

Attach resistance band to doorknob / wall.
Stand with left side to wall.
Hold resistance band with right hand.
Start with right hand in middle of body, elbow bent 90-degrees.
Slowly stretch band by moving arm outward until back of hand facing backward.
Do one set (10 repetitions) Repeat exercise on other side.

Lateral Raise using Dumbbell

Stand or sit in chair.
Keep shoulders down and back.
With arms at side and thumbs pointed upward, slowly raise arms to the sides but slightly toward the front (at about a 30 degree angle to the front of the body) until almost shoulder level. Repeat 10 times.

Lying Lateral Raise using Dumbbell

Lie on left side. Hold dumbbell in right hand, placed in front of thigh. Keep elbow slightly bent. Raise dumbbell slowly off floor until arm is at 45-degree angle.
Return to starting position.
Repeat 10 times. Repeat exercise on other side.


Scapula (Shoulder Blade) Stabilizing Exercises
Shoulder Shrug

Start with light dumbbells.
Stand with arms at side, palms facing body.
Keep arms straight and shrug shoulders upward toward ears.
Pause and lower.
Repeat 10 times.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Stand with hands at sides.
Bring shoulders down and back and squeeze shoulder blades together
Hold for 10 seconds
Repeat 3 times.

Wall push-ups

Stand about 18 inches away from wall.
Place hands on wall at shoulder level.
Slowly lower yourself toward wall and return to starting position.
To make this exercise more difficult use progressively lower surfaces – counter top, tabletop, etc.

Lying Press

Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on floor.
Start with back of hand over the shoulder, elbow close to body. Extend arm vertically (toward ceiling). Push shoulder higher to lift shoulder blade off ground. Repeat 20 times. As strength increases, add light dumbbell. Repeat 20 times. Repeat exercise on other side

Row using Resistance Band

Attach resistance band to wall or wrap around post at about level of lower ribs.
Hold resistance band with arm outstretched in front of you, elbow slightly bent.
Start with shoulders down and back.
Pull elbow backward (using a rowing motion) and squeeze shoulder blade. Keep arm close to body. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides and repeat.

One-Arm Row using Dumbbells

Bend at hips, do not round back (keep the slight natural arch in the back and keep abs tight.), hold dumbbell in hand with arm hanging toward floor. Bring dumbbell up to chest. Slowly lower dumbbell until arm is straight down. Keep arm close to body. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides and repeat.

*May use bench, with opposite hand and knee on bench for stability.

One-Arm Bent-Over Lateral Raise

Bend at hips, do not round back (keep the slight natural arch in the back and keep abs tight.), hold dumbbell in hand with arm hanging toward floor. Lift dumbbell out to side. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides and repeat.

*May use bench, with opposite hand and knee on bench for stability.
Back of Shoulders

Lie on stomach.
Hold light dumbbell and place back of hand over lower back (elbow will be bent).
Lift weight up, away from back (about 4 inches).
Repeat 10 times.

%d bloggers like this: