Prehab Is Pure Bumfluffery!

BUMFLUFFERY [unnecessary nonsense]

Urban Dictionary

A few weeks ago my brother introduced me to the term, bumfluffery (he will be very pleased that I've worked it into a blog post!) and I felt it was a pretty good description of what we see happening from time to time in the fitness profession.

During my career I've seen numerous terms spring up that are probably established with good intention but over time become pure bumfluffery.

A couple of examples that spring to mind would be 'core' and 'functional training' but we can look at those in another post. Let's stick with PREHAB, that nebulous term that has crept into our everyday training language!

I don't know when this term first popped up. It was probably developed when a physio needed to convince an athlete that they needed to do some additional physical preparation or when a strength and conditioning coach needed to convince a coach that they needed some precious training time to work on physical preparation.

I get it, a cool and clever title was needed to dress up what was basically good old fashioned training and so the term PREHAB was born!

Often these terms have been developed to 'sell' a training technique to the athlete or coach (a case of emperors new clothes) and I understand that we sometimes need to employ stealth tactics to get our athletes and coaches to 'buy in' to physical preparation, but over time we all get caught up with the new 'thing' and before we know it we are writing 'prehab' sessions that are shoe horned into our training day and aren't really considering what they are really trying to achieve or why we are doing them.

Duncan French spoke really well on this yesterday during a GSK Human Performance Lab webcast exploring injury management in athletes. It's an area I've been thinking about and I share very similar views to Duncan (he's just far more eloquent than me when discussing the area!). A couple of key points I took from the webscast.

"...athletes need to adopt a chronic training strategy and that will take care of prehab..."

Duncan French

"...prehab is simply following a systematic training programme..."

Duncan French

I tweeted about this last night and some of the responses were interesting.

A couple of coaches pointed out that it's just a label and surely it doesn't matter what we call it if the job gets done. I tend to agree and I have no problem with creating a label so that a training intervention gets done, but understand what you are actually supposed to be doing in that session and if asked what it's purpose is, have a bloody good rationale.

My concern is that the nebulous (I've used tht word twice as it's my word of the week and I like the way it sounds) term has crept into our everyday language and coaches are dishing out prehab sessions without actually thinking about what they are trying to achieve.

We have slept walked into using a term and putting on sessions that aren't actually needed if the training programme is right and what we end up with is just a bunch of low level drills that don't actually impact on any physical quality. The session just ticks a box "yep, I've done my prehab."

If you feel the need to include 'prehab' in your programmes just make sure it's in there for a reason and has a very specific training purpose but, whilst I understand the label may help you get some additional training time with your athletes or from your coaches, ask yourself this question.

If you just wrote a decent, well rounded training programme, would you need to have this other stuff bolted on?

Maybe the reason you need to have 'prehab' sessions is because the rest of your training programme sucks. Now there's a thought!

This was a great question from Jamie Turner on twitter last night and he couldn't have timed it better.

"@coachnickg what's prehab?"

It's just training Jamie, it's just good old fashioned training!

Jamie probably just has a really good training programme and hasn't needed to shoe horn a prehab session into his daily training!