No one knows the inside of the gym quite like a bodybuilder, but when it comes to the physiotherapy clinic the familiarity is unfortunately foreign. The only logical reason for this, is a lack of knowledge as to how physiotherapy will not only support the goals of a casual and competitive bodybuilder, but is absolutely essential to their overall health and wellness. If you proudly consider yourself a gym rat juggernaut, we urge you to read ahead.
5 Reasons Why Physiotherapy is Critical for Bodybuilders
1. Essential to Injury Rehabilition
Without dedicated physiotherapy, hardcore bodybuilders are as certain to sustain numerous injuries as an action sports athlete through the years. It’s an unfortunate side effect of chasing the dream of the perfect physique (as you see it). Bodybuilders are highly susceptible to acute injuries along with overuse syndrome leading to chronic pain. Studies prove that most bodybuilding related injuries occur in the shoulder, elbow, lumbar spine and knee regions. However, you also run a very high risk of muscle tears as you push and pull heavy weight with your calves, thighs, pectorals, biceps, and triceps.
In all truth, there is practically no part of your body free from acute or overuse injury when bodybuilding. When the injuries come, you will need to have a physiotherapist at your side. Rehabilitation will be continent upon a given injury and your unique physical makeup, but common treatments involve chiropractic work, manual therapy, laser therapy, acupuncture, IMS dry needling, and more. In fact, there are no forms of physiotherapy services that bodybuilders won’t reap the benefits from. Of course, in an ideal world you would not sustain injuries in the first place. A physiotherapist can help make this happen, even for high-risk bodybuilders, so keep reading.
2. Essential to Injury Prevention
You may or may not be using a certified bodybuilding/fitness trainer in the gym, and while they may provide you insight into proper form for building muscle and increasing strength, it is not always conducive to remaining injury free in the process. Physiotherapists however, are dedicated specialists in body movement and function. We understand not just how muscles move and grow, but how the muscles work together with joints, ligaments, and stabilizers. We not only help clients achieve ultimate physical performance, we help ensure that they remain injury free in the process. From the moment you make physiotherapy a key part of your bodybuilding regime, you will “make gains” in injury prevention.
3. Physio Can Pump You Up (Naturally)
It’s fantastic that physiotherapy can be leveraged to rehabilitate and prevent injuries, but did you know that it can serve as a NATURAL way to help you get stronger and build muscle mass?
It’s true. For one, being injury free means you won’t have to miss workouts, which means you will keep on track to achieving your muscle growth goals. In addition, a clinic that specializes in athletic performance will also provide you with dedicated core exercise training, introducing you to exercises and movements that your trainer may never have considered. A stronger core equates a greater capacity to lift more, which in turn will help you build muscle the healthy way. The right clinic can also outfit you with gear that will serve you well in the gym environment, including athletic/k-tape taping. In some cases, a gait analysis followed by a custom orthotic prescription may make a world of difference in the squat rack. Also, given that your joints and muscles will feel better through physiotherapy and osteopathy techniques which include mobilisations and deep tissue massage, you will move better and feel stronger – aspects that directly equate greater muscle gains.
4. Muscles and Joints That Won’t Suffer in Advancing Years
Have you seen the Ronnie Coleman (8-time Mr. Olympia) documentary on Netflix? If not, we highly recommend watching Ronnie Coleman : The King to see what life may be like after excessively taxing your body without addressing everything above through physiotherapy.
As detailed in item #1 above, bodybuilders put their muscles, joints, and ligaments through hell. While the aesthetic package may look amazing though your 20s and 30s, chronic pain often becomes downright debilitating as you advance in age, making middle-aged and senior years unbearable. You don’t see a lot of bodybuilders age well, but this does not need to be the case. By focusing on physiotherapy as much as you do your sets, reps, diet, and nutrition you can look and feel strong for decades to come.
5. Avoid Falling Prey to Pain Killers
We must conclude this piece with a look at the painkiller epidemic and how it is effecting the bodybuilding community. Given the proportionately higher frequency of acute and chronic injuries to bodybuilders (vs the general population) there is a proportionately higher risk of prescription painkiller use and abuse. If you have been using steroids, this risk is greater, as studies show that anabolic steroid abusers have a significant tendency toward opiates. The dangers of opioids have already been well-documented, and include but are not exclusive to the following:
- Hormonal changes, which is already a concern for bodybuilders who have dabbled in steroids
- Sedation and drowsiness, which is a precursor to injury while training
- Moderate to severe constipation
- Increased sensitivity to pain, which increases the need to “up” dosage
- Addiction, abuse, and possibly death
Before your next “gym day” be sure to schedule a consultation with a physiotherapy clinic near you. If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, call us at 604.558.2273 right away.