As a coach I like to keep an athlete out of the hands of the physical therapists. Injuries are, at best, a performance drainer. They weaken an athlete and take him or her out of training sessions. At worst, injuries can be career-ending or life-threatening. The best way to avoid injury rehab is to actively practice prehab, the practice of correcting motion and imbalances to prevent injuries from happening to begin with.
I recently had the pleasure of reading Michael Rosengart’s Prehab Exercise Book for Runners. Michael is a long-time athlete and coach in running and football, with a history of helping athletes stay injury free with his prehab methods, which he developed the hard way. Without any prehab, Michael was unfortunately the victim of several career-ending injuries. But the good news is that his experience inspired him to help others avoid a similar experience in athletics.
The book is designed specifically for the athlete or coach who isn’t experienced with prehab, but wants to use the methods independently. I loved that aspect of the book. It begins with a series of tests, and teaches you how to perform them on either yourself or those you train without the need for any specialized equipment or previous knowledge of prehab.
Getting confused by anatomical motions while performing tests like these can be easy for the uninitiated, but detailed explanations of how to perform each test are laid out in the book. There are also illustrations of every exercise used. Just like a good football coach creating a game plan for a team on a chalk board, Michael uses his experience to effectively illustrate the motions and key components of each exercise. At the end of each of these initial evaluations there is a pass/fail test that tells you exactly what to do. If any specific movement evaluation doesn’t go so well, there is a list of exercises to mobilize and strengthen the joints and muscles to get a passing grade in the future.
Each of these evaluations is individually detailed, and so the book unfolds as a self-designed, easy-to-follow program tailored specifically to each individual. Further, it even doubles as a log book, allowing you to track your progress over time, which is a critical component of any program.
One of the few things I dislike about this book is that the title suggests it’s limited to runners. I understand this from a marketing perspective, but I’m here to tell you the evaluations in this book and the corrective exercises and program that are laid out will help anyone of any level in any sport or fitness program. You don’t need to be active in a specific sport either. Weekend warriors will benefit greatly, and honestly, even people not interested in hitting the gym at all should be using a program like this to stay healthy and mobile. Michael doesn’t push this aspect at all, but even as a standalone program I believe his book can benefit everyone.
One criticism I do have is the spelling and grammar. There are several errors even on page one and they continue throughout the book. While this isn’t damning and doesn’t affect the information, in my opinion, at near text book prices I would expect better editing.
Short of that one gripe, I think this book would be invaluable in the book collection of any athlete, recreational lifter, or coach. If you want to have a long and healthy athletic career, or just want to be able to stay moving as you get older, this book will benefit you.
“Prehab Exercise Book for Runners” is available for $36.23 at Amazon.com.