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Help Me Create a Comprehensive Prehab Program


Right now I'm just basically throwing some info together but really don't know much about proper layout for a prehab program. For all I know, this protocol could make me even more horrifically imbalanced and injury prone than I am now. So if anyone could chime in with what's worked well for them, what they've heard from PTs, or anything they think might be helpful, that would be great.

Something basic that one can easily incorporate into their warm-up and workout is all I'm really after here.

These are the major things I can think of:

After breaking a light sweat, choose from the following:


Mobility-------wall slides, shoulder dislocates, thoracic extensions on foam roller or tennis balls

Scapular stability---------YTWs, scap pushups, medicine ball pushups (go all the way up on each rep), scapular retraction row

Rotator cuff strengthening--------int/ext rotations, anterior capsule stretches

Others I'm not sure where they fall--------facepulls, lateral raises with a shrug, band pull aparts,

Choose at least one from each category.

Lower body:

Hip flexors and adductors--------lunge with twist, lateral squats, leg swings, Scorpions
Lateral leg lifts (lying down move leg up 90 degrees and drop to opposite side, controlled, lift back to starting position following initial path)

Glute activation drills--------glute bridge, cork hip lift, fire hydrants, clamshells, and mini-band walks (band around ankles, walk laterally on heels)

Ankle mobility--------Whatever this one is called: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPa9-fpqnUE , Band ankle inversion (foot turned in) and eversion (foot turned out)

Choose two from each category.

Couple of things to focus on more in workouts:

1) A lot of coaches say that more pulling is the best shoulder injury prevention. The inverted row and sled pull seem to be very popular forms of horizontal pulling for combat athletes. Mike Boyle says you should be able to do a chin-up with as much weight (including your bodyweight) as you bench, so I'll be adding more weighted pullups to my workouts (I have no idea what I bench though).

2) Incorporating lots of single-leg work into leg workouts is also good injury prevention. I've seen a lot of MMA fighters incorporating one legged RDLs and pistol squats in particular. Various lunges, step ups, Bulgarian squats are also good.

3) Core stability. Lots of standing wheel rollouts, planks, various pushups (elevated, arms extended, medicine ball, one-arm, etc).

Follow up the workout with some static stretches for the major muscles.

So these are some things I'm going to be adding to my warm-ups and workouts to help minimize my risk of injury and keep my unhappy shoulder from flaring up. Please chime in if you think you can help me. Thanks.


My 0.02 cents

Add to lower body:
Lateral leg lifts (lying down move leg up 90 degrees and drop to opposite side, controlled, lift back to starting position following initial path)

Band ankle inversion (foot turned in) and eversion (foot turned out)

Do you foam roll after workouts?


I should do those before the glute drills, right fuzzy?

na, I don’t foam roll. I’ve kinda just been messing around with the tennis ball and trying to pick up a few things from the trigger point book.


Yes do them before your glut drills. Really help with warming your joints and good back cracker lol

p.s. I added to your ankle prehab as well.


nice, thanks dude, ill throw that in the original post


Just a thought, but OP if you have a history of lower back problems, I would be cautious with the scorpions and lateral leg lifts. You have a lot of compressive and rotational forces acting on your spine at the same time here, which can be a recipe for problems if they exist already.

-Another good upper body one that I like is the scapular retraction row.
-Try some landminds, pallof planks, and one armed deadlifts for core stability as well after you can hold a proper plank, side plank, and two point plank for over a minute easily.
-Foam rolling will be huge for you if you can find a way to do it properly. I’ve just begun in the past couple weeks and feel like a million bucks after workouts.
-Use the tennis ball on the bottom of your feet as well. It sounds stupid but it will help you combat the effects of cramming your feet into confined spaces (shoes) all day. Also walk around barefoot as much as possible. This will help strengthen your ankle as well as help your feet in general.


Hmm…why do you need all this prehab (besides your shoulder issue)?

For BJJ, I find that some neck work and weighted oblique work is helpful. I throw in some ant. tibialis work out of paranoia of getting foot locked, though I don’t know if it helps. Otherwise I stick with regular working out and stretching.

I have spent a good chunk of time doing nearly everything that you outline and didn’t notice any carryover beyond the ability to do the outlined exercises…but I don’t have pre-existing conditions. I think it is good IF there is a condition there, but you could drive yourself crazy doing every pre-hab exercise under the sun, not to mention wasting your workout time.


thanks corn, I’ll add that into the first post

Bram, I hear ya, this prehab stuff is extremely boring and tedious, but I guess I’m just paranoid. Much rather do a little more each time than spend six months post-op in PT. If doing these exercises help the slightest bit in keeping me from getting injured, that’s carry over enough.

Realistically I don’t think this should add more than 10 minutes to a workout. A shoulder mobility, stability, RC drill. Hip stretch, glute and ankle drill. Most people probably spend this much time warming up anyway. I just want to make sure I’m getting the most bang for my buck in terms of warm up by doing the right exercises.


go buy magnificent mobility dvd
use a foam roller daily and you wont have to reinvent the wheel

and why is this not in strength sports?



because i dont compete in a strength sport. i thought the MA practioners might have special insite.

that being said, I’ll post it in strength sports too.



also, I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. these are all pretty common knowledge exercises. its just I haven’t found an article that neatly outlines how to incorporate all of them into your warm-up and workout.


the MM dvd is excellent and does exactly that.
outlines several dynamic stretches into one routine.

If you go to the you tube channels of
Eric Cressey, Joe Defranco and Mike Roberts
you will find all the info you need and then some.

you can check out a thread I made in the over 35 section called mobility for old farts.
and you can see most if not all of the exercises you listed and more posted there.

Mobility/prehab- I do it daily- 10 to 15 minute or more as needed.

foam/softball/golfball rolling

scap pushups
band junk
cat camels
fire hydrants
leg swings
90/90 stretch
samson stretch

and about 5 minutes of various lunges shrimping crawling jumping

combine that with PLENTY of unilatral work for the lower body ( upper too)
plenty of etx rotation exercises and your good to go.
or just buy the MM dvd.



thanks a lot for the information man, appreciate it. that’s very helpful.