Meg Reardon’s 5 Tips for Preventing Injury

Meg Reardon’s 5 Tips for Preventing Injury

Everyone gets injured—even the pros. Take Spartan Fit Master Coach Meg Reardon, for example. She had torn cartilage underneath her kneecap that led to a patellar tracking disorder. This made it difficult for the three-time CrossFit Games athlete and former Division I field hockey player at UC Davis to do squats and explosive movements, which are vital to her training regimen and success as a competitor. That’s why she ultimately decided to undergo surgery in October 2020. 

The whole experience taught Reardon a lot about injury prevention: “I now really understand that the prehab, and also what you’re doing for recovery, is even more important than what you’re doing in the middle.” Here, Reardon’s 5 tips for warding off injury:

5 Sports Injury Prevention Tips from a Spartan Coach Who Gets It 

1. Consider Pro Help

“I think that a lot of times people will self-diagnose, or be like, ‘Eh, I can push through this and I can hopefully come out better tomorrow,’” says Reardon, noting that kind of thinking typically leads to injuries in the long run. She recommends speaking up if something doesn’t feel right because chances are it’s your body telling you, ‘Hey, you’re not moving well’ or ‘We have something that we need to fix.’ “Be smart,” she says. “If something’s not feeling good, talk to someone about it.”

sports injury prevention tips

2. Extend Your Warm-up—Significantly 

“I typically warm up for about 45 minutes to an hour prior to whatever it is that I’m doing,” says Reardon. “I pretty much try to hit every [muscle] group just because everything’s connected. You might be feeling something in your calf, but it could be stemming from your hips. If everything is not loosened up and not warm enough, you might risk tweaking something.” Maybe you don’t have an extra 45 minutes pre-workout, like an elite-level athlete requires, but if you typically skip the warm-up altogether, can you set aside 5 minutes? If you used to do a 5-minute warm-up, how about dedicating 10? Something is better than nothing. 

Related: Do This Differently: Intelligent Warm Ups To Optimize Specific Workouts

3. Add Prehab Exercises to Your Routine

Reardon includes her prehab to the aforementioned warm-up but you could do these on active recovery days, too. Reardon likes Clamshells to target glutes, hips, and knees, Hip Thrusts to target hips and glutes, and using a resistance band to loosen up the chest and shoulders. She also foam rolls each muscle group in the lower body and uses a lacrosse ball on the bottoms of her feet to stretch out her plantar fascia.

sports injury prevention tips

4. Make Your Recovery a Priority

One of the best ways to let your body recover is to sleep 7 to 9 hours per night. You could also consider some of Reardon’s go-to homeopathic remedies such as needling, chiropractic work, massage, infrared, and ice.

Related: How to Override Discomfort: Take the Quiz to Evaluate Your Pain Level

5. Always Be Mindful of Your Form

“I think the biggest thing, especially if you want to be competitive and do this for a lifetime, is making sure that you’re efficiently moving through the ranges of motion in movements, whether it be a squat or a pull-up,” says Reardon. “You need to perfect it with just your body weight before adding any load or intensity. I think just moving really well is so important.”

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