Overlying Principle of Strength Rehab/Training Programs

Principle: ALL injuries are caused by the body’s inability to absorb force

You can stop reading now if you get it. In case you want it broken down further, here we go…

Musculature is the primary force absorbing structure in the body, and failure to absorb force properly could occur if:

  1. muscle is not strong enough
  2. muscle can’t fire at the appropriate time
  3. there is interference of transmission of signals from nervous system to musculature (could cause reasons #1 and/or #2 to occur)

If musculature is not able to absorb force properly, an injury could occur in that structure, or in another structure (i.e. soft tissue, other muscle, outer bone).  So, an injury may end in a different area that it began, since everything in the body’s system is connected (i.e. dysfunction in lower leg/foot leading to knee/hip/low back/upper extremity injury).

Principle applied to strength rehab/training

Once injury is no longer acute (think freshly sprained ankle, no fracture but very swollen, can’t walk on it for first 2 days, etc.), stop the specific activity that caused the injury (i.e. running, overhead throwing), then:

  1. train the muscle(s) to be strong enough to absorb force at an appropriate level during a related movement
  2. train the muscle(s) to fire at the appropriate time during a related movement
  3. remove interference from the nervous system

With the majority of the training being extremely slow eccentric-style holds, the goal is to actively get a muscle group that may have shortened (maybe as a protective mechanism after an injury) to get back to a greater length, and most importantly, to get strong at that new joint angle/range-of-motion so that the body knows what to do in this position.


Generally, the formula that gets the best long-term results is:

Lots of Movement x Intent x Nourishment x Time

Note: there are no specifics, no deadlines, just the principle

An example, with instructions

Alex has recurring knee pain, which has also lead to hamstring pulls over the years.  Training movements displayed weakness in his foot/lower leg, which could have caused an injury that ended in his knee and hamstrings (since an injury can end in a different area than it begins). Strength rehab/training program calls for:

Lots of movement: (1st progression of building a huge foundation of strength-endurance.  Can address reasons #1 and #2 of muscle not doing its job.)

Day 1:

  • 3-Way Spinal/Neck Moves, “Age Before Beauty”, 10 each way
  • 5 minute Calf Raise (Top Position) Hold
  • 5 minute Standing Straight Leg Raise Hold
  • 3 minute Lunge Hold, each leg
  • 250 or 5 min of Cross-Crawl Supermans

Day 2:

  • 3-Way Spinal/Neck Moves, “Age Before Beauty”, 10 each way
  • 1 minute on, 1 minute off Standing Calf Raises x 5 sets
  • 5 on, 5 off, 10 on, 5 off… Up to 40 seconds Lunge Hold, each leg
  • 250 or 5 min of Cross-Crawl Supermans

(Q: Why so many reps?  Usually takes ~3500 repetitions of something for it become habit/done without thinking about it, so rehab is a bitch, by nature)

Ideally, movement progression would be from training to absorb force in position, to absorbing force repeatedly (think catching bottom position of a push up, etc.), to creating force quickly and repeatedly (think catching bottom position of a push up immediately pushing back up to starting position in as short a time-frame as possible).

Intent: Determine the reason why you want to be healthier, pain-free (i.e. so you can continue to hike with spouse, have sex, play a sport, etc.) and then train with that cue/signal in your head.  If training will help return to a competition, train at the same emotional level at which you would compete.

Nourishment: Think good thoughts, eat real food, sleep/nap, breathe in and out of your nose, get outside (or Vitamin D3 for our Scandanavian readers), believe in the process, etc.  And, since I’m studying it in school, principled Chiropractic care to clear any possible nerve interference to musculature (among other things) in the nervous system (can address reason #3 or muscle not doing its job properly, and potentially also #1 and/or #2).

Time: Body will heal on its own terms, whenever it’s ready, without breaking any sort of physiological laws.  Don’t try to shortcut nature, and know that consistency trumps almost everything.  (Refer to Chiropractic Principle #6)

Here’s a few related notes (or refer to Training Manifesto for similar points)

  • No one else will ever “heal” you.  Be wary of people who claim that they accomplished something that your body accomplished through either time, your hard work, nourishment/training/rest/diet/good thoughts (unless you actually worked with God, a disciple, etc.).  You’re the real winner here, son/daughter.
  • There’s no magic bullet, and trying to trade off short-term results will bite you in the ass in the long-run
  • Injuries aren’t corrected by altering/fixing mechanics, nor are they caused by bad mechanics
  • All training should be restorative in nature
  • The level of disturbance going into the body has to be greater than the level of disturbance which caused the injury
  • This is all our best guesses.  Everything works until it doesn’t.

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