Return to Training Hierarchy

Thoughts from: Dr. Michael Reinhardt, DPT, OCS: Performance Physical Therapist, Resilient Performance & PT & R2P Academy Instructor


return to training physical therapy

Returning to training following an injury or period of de-conditioning often boils down to understanding the relevant movement and force demands for the individual. ⁣

The above return to training hierarchy can be a useful guide to ensure that prerequisite movement, force, and rate of force demands are restored prior to a full return to training and competitive demands. ⁣

The body will always follow the path of least resistance when performing any movement task. If the necessary force generating capacities are not established at a particular muscle or joint, the body will self-correct in a manner that still accomplishes a given task. ⁣

For example, if the quad is weak, the path of least resistance when performing a step up, squat, or acceleration will be to adopt more of a hip-dominant strategy to perform the task/exercise at hand. ⁣

Such offloading of weak or painful tissues is often at the detriment of movement efficiency and altered movement strategies. ⁣

While this is often useful in the short-term, it can become the limiting factor when assessing higher intensity and maximal performance demands. ⁣

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