6 Tips To Improve Sports Performance This Spring

6 Tips To Improve Sports Performance This Spring

To improve sports for amateur and recreational athletes planning to participate in summer sports such as marathons, and triathlons, and perform their best this season, the goal is to maximize strength, speed, performance, and optimize recovery.

Trying to improve sports performance can be confusing, and it’s far more complex than simply training as hard as you can all the time. To be at your best at your race or on game day, you need to ensure all aspects of your life including sleep, nutrition, and even your psychology are right.

At Prep Performance Center, we work with young athletes, right through to people in their 50s who want to play hard, and remain injury-free.

6 Tips To Improve Your Sports Performance And Remain Injury-Free

Here are six vital tips from our experts, that will help you reach peak performance and avoid nasty injuries that leave you stuck on the side lines:

Start Early With Training

To get the most out of sports season this summer, you’ll need to start preparing now. Begin with a thorough assessment of your current fitness level and adjust your training accordingly.

Increase the intensity and duration of workouts gradually over time to build up your endurance, strength, and agility – this will also reduce the chance of picking up injuries that wreck your season.

Use Recovery Strategies After Workouts (to improve sports)

After a strenuous workout or race, it’s important to use recovery strategies such as stretching, massage, compression garments, foam rolling, heat/cold therapy, nutrition, etc., to aid in muscle recovery and reduce the risk of sports injuries.

The right recovery strategies for you depend on a lot of things including your previous injury history (such as an ACL injury), your training volume, and your preferences.

Follow The Right Training Programme For You

To stay on top of your sports performance and sports injury prevention, it’s important to follow a well-planned training program – like our Prep Performance Academy or Youth Sports Performance Program.

This training program should be tailored to you such as your sport, your goals, and your training background.

It should include stretching, strength training, cardio exercise, sport-specific training, recovery activities, nutrition advice, and rest days.

Failing to get any one of these aspects right can drastically reduce your sports performance, and leave you unable to play as well as you could.

Stay Hydrated

This might sound obvious, but it’s essential – Dehydration can have serious consequences on sports performance so make sure that you stay adequately hydrated before, during, and after sports.

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and remember to replenish lost electrolytes with sports drinks or coconut water.

Get Adequate Sleep

The body needs rest to repair itself and rebuild energy stores so make sure that you get enough quality sleep each night.

Aim for 7-9 hours per night depending on your age and activity level, as well as how hard you are pushing yourself in training.

If you are training really hard, and you feel tidier than usual, then this is a simple, but pretty reliable indicator that you aren’t recovering enough, and your body is struggling to keep up. This will usually happen during a time when you are ramping up your training intensity, increasing your training volume, or you’re coming off the back of intense games.

Speed Up Recovery With Physical Therapy

If you’re experiencing an injury, ache, or pain that is affecting sports performance physical therapy is a great, natural way to a fast recovery.

Physical Therapy at Prep Performance Center, Chicago can provide targeted treatment for sports-related injuries and help you recover quickly so that you can get back to performing your best.

At our clinic, we offer a wide variety of options including Kinesio Taping, Massage Therapy and Joint Mobilization so you are able to get the most effective treatment that’s right for you, and your particular situation.

By following these tips from our physical therapy team, amateur, recreational, and even professional athletes should be able to maximize their performance for the upcoming summer sports season.

Protect your young athlete from preventable injuries with our free guide. Download now and get expert advice on how to keep your child safe while playing sports. Don’t wait until it’s too late – take action today and give your young athlete and even seasoned players the best chance for success.

Download our Guide to Preventing Injury for Young Athlete

Hit Your Peak Performance In 2023

If you’re struggling to get stronger, can’t keep up with the competition, and keep coming up against the same niggling injuries, our team are here to help you.

We would love to see you at one of our Free Peak Performance Assessments where you can speak to a member of our team 1-1, and learn about the most effective ways you can improve your sports performance without getting injured.

Due to high demand at our clinic, we only have a limited number available right now, so click the link below, or call us on (773) 609-1847 now.

Arrange My Free Peak Performance Assessment

More Free Resources To Improve Your Sports Performance

Read Our Blog – How Athletes Can Loosen Tight Lower Back Muscles Fast

Read Our Blog – How To Prevent Knee Pain When Running

Follow Us On Social Media – Prep Performance Center Facebook, Prep Performance Center Instagram, and Prep Performance Center YouTube

Book an Appointment Today

How Athletes Can Loosen Tight Lower Back Muscles Fast

How Athletes Can Loosen Tight Lower Back Muscles Fast

Lower Back Muscles 

It can be extremely difficult to keep up with your favorite sports when you have a stiff and tight lower back – and it’s very frustrating because we know that playing sports and keeping active is more than just a hobby – it’s a passion.

Lower back problems can make it painful to move, reduce your speed, power, and strength, and ultimately mean you aren’t able to pay as well as you could.

Some people try to put on a brave face, power through the pain and hope it gets better on its own.

Others have to stop playing sports and exercising entirely until the tightness goes away.

Then there are the people who get the right help from experts and quickly loosen their stiff backs. This allows them to get back to playing the sports they love – be one of these people!

Why Do I Get A Stiff Lower Back When Playing Sports?

Your lower back pain and stiffness can be caused by a number of reasons.

As an active person, it’s probably not caused by a lack of movement or sitting for long periods of time.

But it could be caused by overtraining, muscular imbalances, weak core muscles, or poor movement patterns. One, or a combination of these reasons, could leave your lower back unable to cope resulting in the muscles tightening up, and pain flaring up.

There could also be sports injuries that you haven’t fully recovered from, and are still taking a toll on your body – this is a common reason, and why it’s so important to get an injury managed properly so it doesn’t become a long-term issue that lasts months, if not years!

Our physical therapy team regularly works with amateur, professional, and elite-level athletes and sportspeople and there is rarely just one factor that is leading to a stiff lower back.

That’s why it’s so difficult for you to treat it yourself, or why it goes away for a day or two before coming back worse than ever.

How Athletes Can Loosen Tight Lower Back Muscles Fast_Prep Performance Center

Common Sports Where Lower Back Tightness Is A Problem

Certain sports have a higher chance of causing lower back pain and stiffness such as golf, baseball, and tennis.

These sports involve a lot of twisting and turning motions that are done in an explosive manner which can place a lot of stress on your lower back.

Weightlifting, CrossFit, and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) classes also have high rates of low back pain. The heavy weights combined with high levels of fatigue during a workout mean that a safe lifting technique is often compromised, and your lower back suffers.

Ease A Stiff Lower Back Muscles At Home

For some immediate relief from lower back stiffness, using a foam roller or doing certain stretches – particularly those that relax the muscles in the hips and glutes can be helpful as they have a big impact on your lower back – can help.

However, the right stretches or foam roller movements for you will depend on the underlying cause of your lower back pain.

That’s why it’s so important to get expert help, and why you’ve struggled to get any long-term benefit from stretching or foam roller yourself.

How To Loosen Tight Lower Back Muscles Fast

If you want to loosen tight lower muscles fast quickly and stop it from coming back the next time you work out, or play sports, there are a number of proven, natural treatment options available at Prep Performance Center, Chicago – all without having to resort to painkillers, injections, or resting for weeks!

Cupping, Massage Therapy, Trigger Point Therapy are just three of the powerful treatment options available to ease a stiff lower back, and our team have seen incredible success with lower back pain sufferers – even if they’ve had the problem for years, and feel like they’ve tried everything!

To find out what the best treatment option would be for you, and to discover how to get long-term relief from a stiff lower back, arrange a Free Discovery Visit.

Speaking to a member of our expert team, who has worked with thousands of back pain sufferers in Chicago can give you hope of a life without back problems, and allow you to play hard, exercise as often as you want, and perform better than ever before!

Right now, the demand at our clinic is very high, so arrange your Free Discovery Visit or call us on (773) 609-1847 now – we would love to help you.

Are you looking to improve your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury? Look no further than the Dynamic Warm Up!

This comprehensive warm-up routine is designed to activate your muscles, increase your range of motion, and prepare your body for exercise.

Download Dynamic Warm Up Guide

Other Free Resources To Stop Lower Back Pain And Stiffness

Read Our Blog – How To Prevent Sports Injuries – 5 Proven Strategies

Read Our Blog – Improve Your Performance & End Your Lower Back Pain When Playing Golf

Follow Us On Social Media – Prep Performance Center Facebook, Prep Performance Center Instagram, and Prep Performance Center YouTube

Book an Appointment Today

How To Prevent Knee Pain When Running

How To Prevent Knee Pain When Running

How to prevent knee pain? What is the best painkiller for knee pain? How to get rid of knee pain fast? Frustrated with niggling knee pain when running, and not able to perform at your best in your chosen sport because of stiffness, tightness or discomfort in and around your knee?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can prevent knee pain when running – hundreds of our patients are proof of that, so this New Year, stop knee pain when running, get back to playing your best, and enjoy your workouts again!

Why Do I Have Knee Pain When Running?

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or Runner’s Knee is a dull pain around the front of the knee.

It may be caused by a structural defect where you have imbalances in the supporting muscles of your knee. It can also be caused by a certain way of walking or running which means your knee is out of alignment, and the force from walking or running puts too much stress on the knee joint.

Often people try to address the knee pain directly but fail to fix the root cause which could be your walking or running pattern.

One of the services you can choose at our clinics is a Free Running Evaluation, which allows you to get an expert analysis of your running pattern so you can discover how to get rid of knee pain when running and improve your performance.

Should I Run With Knee Pain?

If you have knee pain, the safest advice is to avoid running – at least until you speak to a medical professional.

We know that keeping active is more than just a way to keep fit, it’s something that you love…

But if you run or play sports with knee pain, you might be turning a minor problem that’s currently an annoying niggle into a major injury that requires surgery.

If you choose to push through the pain, it may result in a long time stuck on the treatment table, and on the sidelines – and we know that’s the last thing you want to do.


How To Prevent Knee Pain When Running_Prep Performance Center

How To Prevent Knee Pain When Running

Knee pain can be a complex issue, however here are 5 ways that help runners prevent knee pain. To find out exactly how to prevent your knee pain, our team is ready and waiting to speak to you!

Wear The Right Shoes and Insoles

Make sure your running shoes and insoles fit correctly, are supportive, and provide adequate cushioning and shock absorption. Look for shoes with extra cushioning and stability features to reduce the impact on your knees while running.

Custom orthotic insoles can be a really powerful way to reduce knee pain, as well as other issues such as foot, ankle and hip pain.

Strengthen Muscles That Support Your Knee

Strengthening the muscles around your knees can help prevent knee pain when running. Focus on strengthening your quadriceps and hip muscles, as well as your core, to prevent knee pain.

Warm Up Before Running

Make sure you warm up properly before running to prevent knee pain. Make sure to stretch your quads, hamstrings, calves, and hips before running to prevent injuries.

Avoid Running On Hard Surfaces

Running on hard surfaces such as concrete can put extra pressure and stress on your knees when running. Try to run on grass, dirt, or other softer surfaces instead.

Do Overdo It

Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Increase your running mileage slowly and give your body enough time to rest and recover.

Following these simple tips can help prevent knee pain when running and keep you running safely and comfortably.

Get Expert Help For Your Knee Pain When Running

If you’re struggling with knee pain when running, and it’s lasted more than a week, it’s becoming more frequent or painful, then our advice would be to get help from knee pain specialists who work with athletes and active people through specialist sports performance programs like ours.

At PREP Performance Center in Chicago, we are able to provide natural knee pain relief, whilst helping you get faster, fitter, and stronger when running, and playing sports.

To speak to a member of our team and find out how we can treat knee pain when you run, arrange a Free Running Evaluation.

But hurry, demand at our clinic is extremely high, so contact us today to arrange your Free Running Evaluation or call us on (773) 609-1847.

Other Free Resources To Prevent and Treat Sports Injuries

Read Our Blog – How To Prevent Sports Injuries – 5 Proven Strategies

Read Our Blog – 6 Best Exercises To Eliminate Your Knee Pain

Follow Us On Social Media – Prep Performance Center Facebook, Prep Performance Center Twitter and Prep Performance Center YouTube

Book an Appointment Today

Prevent Sports Injury - Basketball Playing On The Court With A Sports Injury

How To Prevent Sports Injuries – 5 Proven Strategies

Want to discover how to prevent sports injuries so you can keep training, play for longer and perform better in big games?

Then keep reading!

Injuries in sport are very common – with some athletes more susceptible than others.

Whether it’s due to muscles being overworked, an impact injury or poor technique, sports injuries impact nearly all athletes at some point.

In basketball, ankles and knees are often the body parts that get injured the most.

With lots of running, changes of direction and jumping, it’s easy to see why ankles and knees struggle to cope.

Wrist, hands and fingers can also suffer due to repetitive strain or accidents when catching the ball.

In baseball, the shoulders, elbows and wrists usually pick up injuries.

In football, the knees are one of the most common areas for sports injuries, but due to the high impact contact, trauma injuries can appear almost anywhere.

Whilst sports injuries are common, there are things that can be done to prevent them happening…

How To Prevent Sports Injuries

Preventing injuries in sport means that you aren’t missing practice, and you aren’t stuck on the sideline during big games. Here are 5 proven ways to prevent sports injuries.

Warm Up Properly Before Playing Sport

We’ve all seen our favourite athletes warming up prior to a game, and you should be too.

Warming up before playing sports prepares your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints for action and reduces the risk of injury.

Warm ups should also be tailored to your specific issues, and address weaknesses, tight muscles and vulnerable areas that have been a problem for you in the past.

Smart Programming And Enough Recovery

A lack of sleep, poor nutrition and inadequate recovery between practice, games and events is a recipe for disaster and can mean small niggling injuries become bigger problems over time which leave you injured for months, and in some cases, end careers.

Gradually increasing your training over time, and planning in enough rest is crucial to avoiding sports injury.

Use The Right Equipment

Protective equipment such as a helmet, or the right footwear can prevent injuries.

If you already have the right equipment for your sport – great!

But is it in a good condition, or is it worn out and needs replacing?

By making sure you have the right equipment, you are protecting your body from impact, and supporting it during repetitive movements.

Improve Your Technique

Poor technique can really flare up injuries in sport.

So, if you notice that your injuries happen after certain actions, such as an overhead shot during a tennis game, your technique may be to blame.

Getting coaching from an expert in your sport can help you spot the flaws in your technique which will not only improve your game – but also reduce your chances of injuries when playing sport.

Treat Sports Injuries As They Happen

Treating sports injuries when they first appear is the best way to stop them in the long term.

If you’re struggling with muscle tightness, joint pain or discomfort when moving, visit a clinic with sports injury specialists and specialist sports performance programs like ours.

At PREP Performance Center, we are able to provide a variety of sport performance and injury prevention services which will not just get you out of pain, but performing at your best.

To speak to a member of our team and find out how we can help prevent, and recover faster from your sports injuries, arrange a Peak Performance Assessment.

In this assessment, you can discover how to prevent sports injuries, whilst improving your speed, power, strength and overall sports performance. But hurry, demand at our clinic is extremely high, so contact us today to arrange your Peak Performance Assessment or call us on (773) 609-1847.

Other Free Resources To Prevent and Treat Sports Injuries


Book an Appointment Today

Multi-Sport Athletics_Prep Performance Center

Multi-Sport Athletics and Why You Should Be Involved

Should I stick with one sport or expand my abilities and play other sports as well?

Multi-Sport Athletics – Playing sports is a lifestyle and developing key skills at an early age can benefit in the long run. You will learn and incorporate many skills into your life such as time management, sportsmanship, as well as reliability and accountability. There’s more to it than that alone though, being a multi-sport athlete gives you advantages over others on and off the field.

Will playing multiple sports reduce my risk of injury?

YES! As a multi-sport athlete you are less prone to injury because you are using different muscles in your body consistently, which also allows for better control of the body. Preventing overuse of specific groups of the musculoskeletal system will help improve athletic performance because you are using muscles that a single sport athlete does not know how to activate and incorporate into their sport.

Training for multiple sports will teach you critical thinking and you’ll be able to apply movement specific to one sport to another. For example, have you ever heard of football players taking ballet class? Many football players take ballet to improve their focus, flexibility, speed, strength, endurance, and balance. This is classified as cross training, taking one sport and applying it to another for performance improvement.

Are there any health benefits to playing multiple sports?

Participating in athletics is very beneficial for your health, especially more than one! Playing two or more sports aides in regulating bodily movements and functions as well as mental health. Many collegiate and professional athletes participate in psychological training and therapy for their sport because of the mental exhaustion many face that leads to burn out. A multi-sport athletics is less likely to be affected by burnout and less likely to stop sports altogether because of the dynamic, smooth changes of sports seasons.

How will playing multiple sports help in my everyday life?

Being a part of a community and team is a great way to explore a new social environment. In one sport you may meet people with one mentality, then another with a completely different one. Meeting people from different backgrounds with different experiences is crucial in expanding your understanding and approach towards your sport, education, and career. We live in a small world, and you’re bound to make great connections along the way. Learning how to work as a team and have respect for others will go a long way.


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Exercises Marathon Runners | Prep Performance Center

8 Warm Up Exercises For Runners Who Want To Run Faster, Longer And Avoid Injuries

A warm up is a vital part of preparation if you’re a long distance runner, marathon runner, or 5K weekend warriors.

A thorough warm up can drastically reduce your risk of injury, as well as improve your muscles’ ability to work at full capacity and enable you to run faster, and further.

So you can enjoy your runs without fear of picking up injuries that leave you unable to exercise.

And you can hit personal bests for speed, distance or both!

So, yes, warms up are pretty important, and if you take your running seriously, then you’ll want to make sure you’re warming up right.

Static Stretching Versus Dynamic Warm Up Exercises

A static stretch is what you’ve probably done a lot of, and involves stretching a muscle to near its furthest point and then holding that position for at least 15 or 20 seconds.

You might have done this type of warm up to stretch your calves, hamstrings, or glutes before you start your run.

However, dynamic warm up exercises are proven to be more effective and can help you run for longer as a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research demonstrated.

The Best Warm Up Exercises For Long Distance Runners

We work with lots of runners, from those who love a short fast 5K every morning, right up to professional athletes and endurance athletes, and have helped people avoid injuries, and improve their performance.

To help you, our expert team has put together the best warm up exercises for marathon runner, long distance runners and 5K early morning runners.

Before we get started – Every person is different, so you may have specific sports injuries you need to work around or focus more attention on problem areas such as your hips.

If you do, and you want some help understanding how to adjust this warm up routine to suit you specifically, our team can help you with a Free Peak Performance Assessment where we can discuss how you can maximize your running performance, minimize injuries and beat your previous best!

Warm Up Walk

Once you’ve laced up your running trainers, starting with a short 5-minute walk at a gradually increasing pace is a great way to ease your body into activity.

Exercise 1 – High Knees

For the first two exercises; high knees, and butt kicks, perform each exercise for 20 to 40 meters. These dynamic exercises are primarily targeting increasing blood flow to your leg muscles.

How To:

– Begin in a neutral standing position. Pick one leg off the ground, bending at the hip and knee and keeping the torso upright. Perform the same movement on the other leg. Focus on bringing your knees directly up towards the sky in quick succession during high knees.

Exercise 2 – Butt Kicks

How To:

– Begin in a neutral standing position. Keeping thighs pointing perpendicular to the ground, try and bring the heels of your feet towards your butt one heel at a time. When you feel comfortable with this movement, try and perform the movement more quickly.

Exercise 3 – Bounds

The next three exercises; bounds, skips for height, and skips for distance are explosive, activate fast-twitch muscle fibers and increase blood flow to your muscles overall.

How  To:

– Begin with feet shoulder width apart.

– Focus on pushing down through your legs, driving into the ground to propel your body forwards.

– You can swing your arms while simultaneously pushing through the ground to help propel your body forwards. Do not let your knees collapse inwards when initiating the movement and when completing the movement.

– Aim for a soft landing – do not slam your feet into the ground as that will put greater strain on your joints.

Exercise 4 – Skips For Height

How  To:

– Begin in neutral standing position.

– Start jogging slowly, then focus on driving both arms and one knee up towards the sky with one explosive movement.

– Try and land softly on the ground, and repeat this movement on your opposite side.

– Your body positioning should mimic the video game character “Mario” when he jumps into the air. The bigger your arm and knee drive, the higher you will get into the air.

Exercise 5 – Skips For Distance

How To:

– Begin in a neutral standing position.

– Start jogging slowly, then focus on driving your arms and one leg up towards the sky.

– As you start to come down, try kicking the leg that is in front backwards to give you more forward thrust.

– Land softly and repeat this movement on the opposite leg.

Exercise 6 – Lunge And Twist

The next exercise; the lunge and twist is a combination movement that will help strengthen your core and legs while also stretching out your hip flexors which you use to help pick your legs up when you run.

How To:

– Begin in neutral standing position. Bring one leg forward, bending at the hip and knee so that your thigh is parallel to the ground and your knee is over your ankle. You want to have a 90 degree angle between your torso and thigh, and between your thigh and lower leg. Your back leg should also be bent at a 90 degree angle at the knee. Do not let this back leg touch the ground. When you are stable in this position, rotate towards the side of the leg that is forward.

Exercise 7 – Leg Swings

The penultimate exercise; leg swings are great for those with tight hamstrings and help bend the knee during runs.

Perform this exercise on both legs in two directions (forwards/backwards and across the body).

How To:

– Stand on one leg with your hips parallel to a wall/pole.

– Place your hands on the wall/pole for stabilization, and swing your free leg across your body. Perform this movement 10 times.

– Turn your hips so they are perpendicular to the wall/pole.

– Place one hand on the wall/pole for stabilization, and swing your free leg forward and backwards 10 times. Try and maintain an upright position when performing these swings.

Exercise 8 – Strides

The final exercise is strides, where you perform 6 x 100m strides to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers and increase blood flow to your muscles overall

How To:

– Begin in a neutral standing position.

– Slowly begin jogging at your normal pace, increasing your stride length until you have built up to 70-80% of your max speed. Maintain that 70-80% pace for the remainder of the 100 meters.

By following these dynamic warmup suggestions, you will notice a difference in your performance on your next long run, and should be able to improve your run distance, run time, and avoid injuries that stop you from exercise.

How Long Should I Warm Up Before Running?

The length of your warm up will depend on how long the run is going to be, how challenging the run will be, your injury history, and your existing fitness level.

However, if you aren’t sure, aim to spend 10-15 minutes doing your warm up before running.

How Can I Improve My Running Performance?

If you’re struggling to get faster, run longer, or feel like you’re constantly managing niggling injuries, our team is here to help you.

Right now, you can arrange one of our Free Peak Performance Assessments where you can speak to a member of our team 1-1, and learn about the most effective ways you can improve your sports performance without getting injured.

As there is extremely high demand at Prep Performance Centre in Chicago, we have to limit these, so call us on (773) 609-1847 or click the link below to avoid disappointment!

Arrange My Free Peak Performance Assessment

More Free Resources To Improve Your Runs

Read Our Blog – 6 Tips To Improve Sports Performance This Spring

Read Our Blog – How To Prevent Knee Pain When Running

Follow Us On Social Media – Prep Performance Center Facebook, Prep Performance Center Instagram, and Prep Performance Center YouTube