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Tendon & Ligament Health

Here are the conclusions on a fascinating paper entitled, Minimizing Injury and Maximizing Return to Play: Lessons from Engineered Ligaments

  • "Consider incorporating a connective tissue health session into training. This type of session would involve <10 min of activity targeted to a tendon/ligament that is prone to injury. For example, runners would do a session to target the hamstrings and patellar and Achilles tendons, whereas baseball players would target the throwing arm. These exercises could be performed with a light weight and using a limited range of motion if necessary. The connective tissue health session should be performed either 6 h before or after any other training.

  • Following injury, athletes should begin training as soon as possible. Training can consist of simple range-of-motion and limited weight supported exercises because the amplitude of the load is not important for stimulating collagen production [25]. The training should again consist of <10 min of activity followed by 6 h of rest. Reasonably, this means that the athlete will train for three short periods each day.

  • Consume leucine-rich protein as part of training. Beyond the direct effects this will have on muscle [47], tendons will also benefit from the added muscle mass and strength and possibly a greater mTORC1 activation [15].

  • Glucose uptake into tendons increases during exercise [48]. However, because blood flow to inactive tendons is limited, nutrient delivery to tendons following exercise is believed to be relatively low. This suggests that any nutritional intervention that is designed to directly target a specific tendon/ligament needs to be in place prior to exercise.

  • Thirty to sixty minutes before training, athletes should be encouraged to consume 15 g of gelatin in either a liquid or gel form [46]. The exact amount of gelatin and whether this will vary with body weight is currently being determined."

Listen to a great podcast featuring Dr. Baar here.

And finally, here is a PDF of a tendon/ligament workout.

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