Many training programs, including crossfit, fat loss, functional training and full body workout programs are often designed with the idea of utilizing as many muscles as possible during a shorter space of time to maximize calorie burn.
Which makes sense if your goal is fat loss. You want to burn more fat by doing harder work that increases the metabolic rate. What these programs often don’t take into account is time under tension.
As they are often heavy multioint exercises that tax the endocrine system, you cannot safely maintain a long time under tension with a heavy load. Because you are not having a lot of time under tension for the tendons, this can often result in a discrepancy between increases in muscle strength and increases in the tensile ability of the tendon. Often you are using your body’s momentum to stress the joints potentially at a level that they are not ready for.
What you need to do is build resilience,and extension work. E.g. bicep curls, leg curls, leg extension
Not always, but often the pathology of the most common tendinopathy (elbow, Achilles) can be attributed to this lack of resilience in the tendon.
For example, an exercise such as the deadlift involves a lot of lower back extension. If you are getting pain in your back during the exercise, its not always a case of the lower back being tight or weak. Often we need to look further up the chain.
What is your thoracic spine extension look like?
Do you have adequate extension and flexion in the thoracic spine?
If not your issue may lie with mobility in this area.
Why is tendon training important?
When a tendon is overused and/or stressed, it can become shortened, develop adhesions, inflame, and break down.
The majority of the tendon is made up of connective tissue protein and water. As we age we don’t produce these connective tissue proteins as quickly, causing the tendon to become more stiff.
The reason you develop more joint pain as you get older is you are not rebuilding these stressed tissues as quickly as a younger person might. There is also a lesser supply of blood vessels to connective tissue, meaning tendons take longer to heal when injured.
Why movement is essential!
Regular movement and mobility work is important for joint health. By maintaining movement through the injured site, you are telling the joint to keep producing proteins, delivering nutrients and staying lubricated.
Getting the balance right!
Movement must be varied in type and loading to avoid overloading the joint and reducing its ability to recover.
Immediately following exercise there is a breakdown of collagen proteins , however this is then followed by a process of resynthesis and regeneration of the tissue approx. 48hrs after training. It is this resynthesis that is responsible for increasing the strength and resilience of the tendon.
If you are continually hammering your tendons with hard exercise, they’ll be in a continual state of breakdown and never get a chance to heal. Tendon injuries can progress from inflammation to micro-tears and complete tears, often in accumulation.
4 sets of 15 (can be up to 30) reps with no ‘bad’ pain
3 times per week
back off reps when you start to feel pain
Take away points……
Progressively overloading a tendon can increase is resilience, build strength & thicken the tendon
eccentric isometric work with 5 sec holds at the eccentric phase can help determine limitations in movement
movement increases blood flow to the joint, lubricates the joint and promotes tissue remodelling