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Good Technique Vs Good Anatomy: Which Would You Rather Have When It Comes To Injury Prevention?

Person lifting weights

Here’s a question I’d like to pose - would you rather perform a task with good technique vs good anatomy when it comes to injury prevention?

The task can be anything from squatting or stooping to properly lifting heavy weights or groceries, to swimming with perfect form and technique. Perfect technique sounds great, considering that’s what consistently has been preached.

What about flawless anatomy? Perfect congruency between bones, plentiful synovial fluid lubricating all of your joints, all cartilage intact, not a single abnormal bone in your body.

Ideally, I'm sure you'd like to have both, but that might not be realistic for everyone.

Do you ever wonder why you’ve been told you have great technique with your lifts in the gym or that you have great technique in the pool, yet somehow you still get injured?

What about the contrary - you’ve been told you look sloppy and you’ll risk injury, yet you’ve never been injured before.

Obviously, injuries are much more complicated than the binary. Injuries are often multi-factorial and are not only based on a single mechanism of injury. In fact, your state of mind can also impact your risks of sustaining injuries. However, to simplify the matter, we’ll stick to this “either-or” scenario.

I have had many swimmers - teammates, kids and adults I’ve coached, and myself included - suffer from various sports-related injuries despite striving to perfect each stroke to optimize efficiency and be as hydrodynamic as possible. Yet for some reason, we developed some sort of injury despite our focus and unrelenting drive to perfect our technique. I’ve personally asked myself, “why me” and “what did I do wrong”. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

In an individual sport like swimming, it’s hard not to blame and be frustrated with yourself; especially when you and your teammates train the same yet some of them have never experienced the woes of shoulder or knee pain.

In instances like these, it’s important to take a step back and remove the emotions out of the picture. It’s crucial to recognize that every body is built differently, and that despite the same training, not every body will produce the same results.

We all have anatomical (and physiological) differences that impact our capacity to train, perform, and recover. And it’s important to take these factors into consideration when we sustain injuries, too.

You can have perfect technique, and still suffer injuries because your anatomy happens to include a little bone spur. You can develop repetitive stress injuries because of overtraining or single-sport specialization. You can go completely unscathed with poor form because you’ve got good anatomy (to a certain extent). The matrix of various outcomes is endless.

However, it's important to remind yourself that it doesn’t make you any less of an athlete if you get injured. You’re also not necessarily a better athlete simply because you’ve got “good bones” or because you've never been injured.

Ultimately, it's important to recognize that because all bodies are built differently, optimal technique will depend on your body structure. Depending on your physique, you may need to tweak your technique so that it’s best suited for you. The same goes with training programs. One form of training will not produce the same results for everyone.

In our society where fitness and health misinformation runs rampant, and cookie-cutter programs are produced en masse, it’s important to remember that your body may not respond to specific forms of training the way you wish it did. It’s not to say that it won’t get close, but that’s where the benefit of personalizing your health and fitness to fine-tune areas unique to you comes into play.

Batman meme about injuries

***If you’re struggling with your nutrition and fitness in any capacity, private coaching with the The Swimmer's Doc could be the perfect place to start. Visit our website for more information about the coach, methods, and services.

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