Fitness
10 Tips on How to Strengthen Tendons and Avoid Injuries

10 Tips on How to Strengthen Tendons and Avoid Injuries

Keeping your tendons healthy is key to ensuring you avoid injury and can keep working out. 

Tendons are fibrous connective tissue made of collagen that enables movement and stabilizes the skeleton. Research suggests that tendons are smart tissue that can sense and adapt to chronic mechanical loading. 

However, tendons degrade slightly due to training and strengthen slightly during the recovery period. 

Tendons need extra care compared to muscles because they are connective tissue. They receive a limited amount of blood flow and nutrient supply. 

Tendons and other connective tissues like ligaments take longer to heal than muscles. 

There are specific things that increase the risk of an injury:

-overuse

-trauma from a fall or a hard hit

-twisting 

-weakness in the surrounding muscle due to a sedentary lifestyle

HOW TO STRENGTHEN TENDONS AND AVOID INJURY

10 Tips on How to Strengthen Tendons and Avoid Injuries

1. DIET

To strengthen your tendons, you need to add ligament strengthening foods to your diet.

These include fish, vegetables, and fruits. They provide nutrition for tendons.

Research has also shown that bone broth can help boost joint health. Bone broth is a source of gelatin which can break down into collagen in the body. 

A 2017 study found that increased intake of gelatin supplements increases the amount of collagen in the tissues. 

2. BE PREPARED TO WORK OUT 

To minimize the risk of a painful injury, make sure you prepare your body before each exercise session. 

Look at your physical conditions and exercise conditions. Always start slowly, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, then gradually increase the intensity. 

MayoClinic suggests beginning your routine with a structured warmup session. This helps prime your circulation system to send more blood to your muscles and increase your body temperature. 

3. MASSAGE

Massages increase blood flow to the tendons. Using foam rollers can also be beneficial.

Tendons respond well to massage. When you massage them before or after your workouts, you reduce their risk of becoming swollen, tender, and stiff, limiting motion and strength. 

Massage therapy can help an injured tendon recover as well.

4. STRETCHING

Stretching can help prevent and treat tendon and ligament injury. 

For optimal stretching, move slowly. Suppose you’re moving deeper into a stretch or changing positions. Rushing it can cause discomfort. 

Ensure you are relaxed during each stretch. 

Stretch until you feel minor discomfort. If you feel any sharp pain, you should stop immediately.  

Studies show that ballistic stretching increases tendon elasticity. 

5. INTENSITY TRAINING 

study found that subjecting your body to resistance training boosts muscle growth and makes your tendons more elastic. 

In the study, women were placed on a controlled bodyweight squat program. The women got stronger, their musculature improved, and their tendons grew more elastic. 

However, they failed to improve tendon stiffness, increase tendon elastic storage capacity, or slow down tendons’ age-related decline.

Additional research shows that you must apply stress that exceeds what you normally apply in your day-to-day activities to induce adaptive changes in the tendons. 

Walking, gardening, and other daily habits can be generally beneficial to you, but you need to add more intensity into your training to strengthen tendons.

6. ECCENTRIC EXERCISES

Eccentric exercises refer to workouts that cause eccentric muscle contractions and lengthening.

They include walking down the stairs, sitting down slowly, downward motion of squatting, downward motion of a push-up, and lowering the body during a pull-up.

Eccentric exercises are used to treat tendonitis. They are designed to strengthen the tendon and non-contracting muscles. 

One study displays how to strengthen tendons by using people with Achilles tendonitis. Ex-runners with the condition were divided into two groups.

One group had conventional therapy. They were given painkillers, rest, physical therapy, and the other group did eccentric exercises. 

The second group did a concentric calf raise on the uninjured foot and slowly lowered themselves on the injured foot for three sets of 15 reps twice a day daily for 12 weeks.

Once this became pain-free, they increased resistance with backpacks.

After the 12 weeks, all the participants in the group who used eccentric exercises could resume running. Those that used conventional physical therapy all eventually had to get surgery.

Eccentric exercises can heal tendons and ligaments faster. And more successfully. Adding them to your routine enables how to strengthen tendons.

7. JUMP TRAINING

Adding plyometrics to your workouts can strengthen your tendons.

The explosive movements of plyometrics use the recoil response of the tendons. 

In one study, a group of people was divided into two. One group did 14 weeks of plyometrics. Jump squats, drop jumps, single and double leg hedge jumps.

The group that did plyometrics had better tendon recoil than the control group. 

The tendons in the plyometrics group got more efficient at dissipating elastic energy. 

However, you will need to do plyometrics for at least 14 weeks or more to give your tendons time to adapt.

8. GRIP STRENGTHENING 

Research shows, in performance climbers who have at least 15 years’ experience, the finger joints and tendons are about 75% thicker than non-climbers’.  

Another study showed that the crimp hold where you have to use all five fingers exerts a lot of force on the finger tissues making them adapt. 

Rock climbing and other exercises involving grip resistance exercise effectively show how to strengthen tendons. 

9. STATIC STRENGTH TRAINING

These are isometric exercises. 

In these exercises, you contract muscles or a group of muscles without moving the joint.

The muscle also doesn’t change the length. They include planks, wall sits, and yoga poses like the chair and tree pose. 

To strengthen your tendons, you can do explosive isometric exercises. These are explosive exercises against an immovable force. 

You can try to kick with your leg restrained by a cord or push against a parked car with the parking brake engaged. 

study found explosive isometric calf training two to three times a week for six weeks is just as effective as plyometric calf training at increasing calf tendon strength.

It is also a safer option for those who can’t withstand a lot of impact on their joints. 

10. INCREASE YOUR WEIGHTS WHEN WEIGHT LIFTING

If you already have a set weight that you use during weight lifting, it is best to increase the amount of weight you usually lift to strengthen your tendons. 

Increasing your weights will thicken the collagen fibers in your tendons and ligaments. 

TAKEAWAY

Connective tissues like ligaments and tendons have varied uses. Some ligaments aren’t connected to bones. They keep internal organs in their correct positions. 

The ligaments connected to bones ensure that your joints don’t get dislocated and ensure the adjacent joints remain stable.

Exercises and practices that strengthen joints and ligaments ensure the stability of tendons and ligaments. The tips outlined above make sure that they don’t bend, twist, or tear. 

10 Tips on How to Strengthen Tendons and Avoid Injuries

Research from the University of Chicago linked sleep to the production of growth hormones. As sleep can rebuild collagen in tendons, getting enough sleep helps you strengthen tendons most efficiently.

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