Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Prehab is more than just warming up, and it's a very useful tool to have in your acroyoga toolbox!
Just to clarify first, prehab or pre-habilitation is the practice of preventing injuries.
It actually originates from the idea of doing exercises and development ahead of a surgery after which rehabilitation will be required to restore full function.
So prehab would be recommended to reduce the amount or rehab after surgeries.
In recent years this has become more generalized though into general prehab to prevent injuries from even occurring in the first place.
Especially in sports people, athletes and movers.
I recently invested in a foam roller for myself, and I am loving it!
When it comes to Acroyoga I think prehab is a great tool that more people should be aware of.
And as I said at the start, this goes beyond just "warming up".
Warming up is essentially loosening, activating and warming up your muscles, joints and body to be ready for movement.
Prehab is more specifically about training and building areas of your body so that they are more stable and strong to withstand the demands you put on them, and avoid injuries.
One great example I can think of in acroyoga to highlight these two differences is in the wrists...
A wrist warm up might consist of pushing down through your palms into all corners, stretching out the forearms and rolling the wrists, and maybe a little bit of planche activation.
This is all great stuff, and highly recommended.
But prehab of the wrists would go even further.
Prehab of the wrists would involve significant strengthening exercises in the same way that they will be used in acro.
For example doing wrist raises in a tabletop or plank position, or wrist raise holds.
Plus stretching specifically in all ranges of motion that the wrist might be used, and activating in those deep ranges of motion.
It's not such a big difference from warming up, but it's more about the intention.
The intention I bring to prehab is that I want to build my body up to be resistive to injuries.
Whereas when I'm warming up before a session I'm focussed more on loosening up and making sure my body is ready to move properly.
The other difference is that warming up you do specifically before exercise, or in this case acro.
Whereas prehab can be done at any time and should be done on a consistent basis.
Take the example of the wrists earlier, to make your wrists strong, stable and resistant to injury.
That requires regular prehab and strengthening until your body adapts and learns and gets stronger.
So doing that every other day will really make a difference rather than once a week before an acro session.
Ultimately, you can prehab every muscle, joint and part of your body if you know how.
There's so much great mobility and strength exercises floating around on the internet now.
I recommend learning more about prehab, figuring out what parts of your body are under strain in your acro practice, and consider taking some time to add some prehab into your weekly routine.
It's definitely a worthwhile investment to help avoid potential injuries.
Plus think of it this way, if you get a bad injury you will have to do a load of rehab work anyway, so just avoid the hassle and do some prehab up front instead :)
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