Resistance Training

The importance of Resistance Training: By Osteopath Dr Shehan

Running and walking are popular forms of exercise that we all use to help us improve our overall health and well-being! A form of exercise that is just as important, is resistance training. It comes in many forms such as lifting weights, body-weighted exercises or even using bands and medicine balls. It is any exercise that that forces the muscles to contract against an external resistance. Training is also done with the purpose of improving muscular strength, mass and endurance.

There are many benefits of resistance training for all age groups. It has also been shown to be good for children and some benefits include improving:

  • Body, arm and leg control
  • Joint stability
  • Strength endurance
  • Bone structure and also decrease risk of fractures in growing children
  • Fitness levels
  • Mood & self esteem
  • Muscular adaption to prevent future injuries

Resistance training may help lay the foundations for strength, power and also sporting performance in the future.

When to begin?

Resistance training is not be confused with bodybuilding. Children are encouraged to participate in supervised resistance training at least 3 times per week [1]. Training can be safe, as long as the program is well designed, based on age, size, and existing strength levels and is supervised.

Children are also recommended to begin training with bodyweight exercises. Once they have control of over their body weight, they can progress to bands, sand tubes or medicine balls. After this children can then progress to heavier training.

In adults and the elderly the benefits are similar. The focus is on:

  • Increasing muscle mass, strength and also endurance.
  • Improving heart health & preventing chronic disease (e.g. diabetes, arthritis)
  • Improving posture
  • Decreasing stress levels
  • Increasing bone density and strength and also reduce risk of osteoporosis
  • Improving mobility and balance.

Two sessions a week is the recommendation for maintaining general health and wellbeing. Programs should involve all major muscle groups.

Dr Shehan Kariyakaranage (Osteopath)

Shehan is a registered osteopath and a level 1 accredited strength and conditioning coach. He is able to provide specific exercise prescription and develop programs to rehabilitate and prevent injuries.

Where can you find me?

Alexandra Hills: (Mon, Thurs, Sat)

New Farm: (Wed, Fri)


[1] Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines [Internet]. Physiopedia. [Cited 1 March 2019]. Available here:

Play AFL? Perform at your best – Part 2

Photo credit official instagram of the AFL. @afl

Injuries in the game of AFL are increasingly common year after year, and can be the difference between a win and a loss. Last week I wrote about one of the most common injuries hamstrings and in particular overstretched hamstrings. (read it here) This week i’ll explain to you a popular exercise that aims to tackle and reduce this common injury.


The ‘posterior chain’ is comprised of some of the powerhouse muscles which are critical to movement; Lower back muscles, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Whether it be at the start of the season or coming into finals time, you want strong, supple hamstrings and calves that won’t let you down. As mentioned in our previous post, eccentric exercises are the gold standard in order to achieve this. Why are they gold standard? Whether you’re watching AFL on TV or standing at the other end of the ground because the ball is in the opposing 50m, hamstring strains occur when players are running and/or getting ready to jump. Slow motion studies conducted by Schache (et. al. 2010) showed that when running, during the late-swing phase, the hamstrings are acting eccentrically to slow the lower leg. This is proven to be the point where most hamstring strains occur, hence the reasoning why eccentrically strengthening out hamstrings is beneficial to preventing hamstring strains. A brief overview of the physiology of eccentric exercises was covered in our previous post. Well, how do I ‘eccentrically strengthen’ my hamstrings then? The Nordic Hamstring Exercise (NHE) is the most popular exercise, as well as best researched. You may have seen a video or two of this being done by athletes, as it’s a good measure of overall hamstring strength. What the high quality studies have shown is that by performing the NHE, you can achieve an 11% increase in eccentric hamstring strength, a 65% reduction in hamstring strains, as well as an 85% lower rate of recurrent hamstring strains compared to a control group following their usual training program. 1 2 3 This link will take you to a few variations of the Nordic Hamstring Exercise:

Is that it? Do this and I won’t have to worry about my hamstrings again?

Long answer short, not exactly. The Nordic Hamstring Exercise will target both hamstrings, whereas one leg may need it more than the other. Kicking off your preferred leg constantly uses a group of muscles on one side of the lower extremity, there as the non-preferred leg doesn’t get the same attention. This can vary the flexibility and strength of either hamstring muscle group. If you are really dominant on one side, whilst doing the NHE, the dominant muscle may be doing the bulk of the work, as it is able to compensate for the opposing hamstring. An Osteopath is able to assess your hamstrings and any compensatory strains/patterns going on in your body, in order for you to get the most out of exercise you do. What about calves? Your calves are another important muscle making up your ‘posterior chain’. The calf muscle responds really well to eccentric exercise like the hamstring does. One of the best ways to eccentrically strengthen your calves involves standing on your tiptoes and letting your heel drop down below the forefoot. This is the eccentric part. After lowering your foot past the step, take the weight off the ankle with the opposing foot and continue doing the lengthening of the calf. This is great as it can give you a larger range of motion in the ankle. Dr Chris Fielder – Osteopath (B. Clin. Sc, M. Osteo) Chris is an Osteopath practicing at MOVE Osteopathy in Brisbane CBD. He has an interest in all things AFL and loves to help people playing AFL at all levels to perform better and enjoy their sport. If you love playing your footy have an injury or want to avoid injury and perform better make an appointment to see Chris ph: 3229 3661 and stay tuned for more great posts from Chris on this topic.

References: 1.Mjølsnes R, Arnason A, Østhagen T, et al. A 10-week randomized trial comparing eccentric vs. concentric hamstring strength training in well-trained soccer players. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2004;14(5):311-317. 2.Arnason A, Andersen TE, Holme I, et al. Prevention of hamstring strains in elite soccer: an intervention study. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2008;18(1):40-48. 3.Petersen J, Thorborg K, Nielsen MB, et al. Preventive effect of eccentric training on acute hamstring injuries in men’s soccer: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med 2011;39(11):2296-2303.


Common injuries as a result of training

1. Back pain from spinal joint sprains and strains
There are hundreds of joints extending from your neck to tailbone and rib cage. Movements during training that overstretch or overload joints can cause joint sprains and strains. These are common and can range from the mild irritation to debilitating pain. Most patients can make a complete recovery from most these when treated. Untreated they can remain problematic for long periods. Without treatment they can become areas of reoccurring injury and pain
2. Pelvic (Sacroiliac) joint sprain and strain
Like spinal joints, the two large joints either side of your tail bone in your pelvis can be sprained. The job of the sacroiliac joints can be very complex. They must bear weight and control movement. In my experience, they often become an area of repeated problems when left untreated.
3. Overuse injuries and tendonitis
As the name implies overuse and repetitive movements can cause injury almost any tendon. Repetitive use causes rubbing and irritation that can cause inflammation. In some cases this leads to bursitis which can easily become chronic. Tendonitis with bursitis almost always requires rest and specific rehabilitation.
shoulder pain
4. Shoulder sprains and strains
The shoulder has a large range of motion but it generally not a very stable joint. This large range of motion makes it susceptible to chronic muscle strains, tendonitis’s, bursitis. These conditions in this area can often become chronic and can be difficult to manage.
5. Ankle sprains
These are a common traumatic sports injury. Rolling an ankle can be just bad luck but ankles need specific rehabilitation. Bad sprains can leave ankles week and susceptible to re-injury with simple activities. Many ankle strains over a period of time need specialized rehab.
6. Groin and hamstring strains
Are common sports complains and can often be the result of problems with form and technique. Tight and inflexible muscles, improper warm up can also be the cause. Overloaded weights training are another way these strains can occur. Simple examination and rehabilitation often gives excellent results.
7. Knee injuries
Poor techniques, physical trauma and overstrain of muscles around the knee can lead to many different knee injuries. Some such as patella (knee cap) tracking disorders can respond well to rehabilitation. More severe knee injuries need surgery and extensive rehabilitation to return to exercise. Knee injuries need thorough examination and investigation to be property diagnosed and treated.
So to avoid many of these common injuries we have put together a list of Our top tips for avoiding injury
1. Get professional advice
This is all about GOOD TECHNIQUE and knowing your body! As an Osteopath I have an excellent understanding of peoples individual body biomechanics. It is easy for us to see what is and what isn’t good for people to do. This combined with a trainer can put you in the best possible position train in the safest way possible way. This is when you can gain maximal results.
Knowing any limitations from previous injuries and concentrating on posture, technique and form. Getting advice from trainers no matter what your level is so important. Not only will it decrease your risk of injury but it also improves results. As you increase distance or weight you should be striving for improvement in technique. Not only does it present intrinsic challenges but it prevents injury.’
back examination2
2. Don’t do too much too fast.
Most of the time training is challenging yourself and pushing yourself harder. No matter what the challenge you need to allow your body time to get used to new movements or increased demand. Building things up steadily will always give you the best chance of avoiding injury. People become disheartened when they don’t see results from training sessions quickly
You would think this is most common to beginners but that is not always true. Sometimes more experienced exercisers misjudge where they are with strength and fitness. I often see very fit people underestimating the core strength required to get them to the next level in their training. Too much weight or distance too quickly can set you back severely. Overtraining and not allowing the body adequate rest periods can exhaust the body. Draining the body’s energy and not allowing time to recover and repair after can set you up for injury.
3. Warm up
Most people are guilty of not doing this one at some point. Warm up exercises are usually done with the aim of increasing the blood flow to the muscles. The increased blood flow makes them more “pliable” and adaptable to exercise without injury. Warm up exercises are generally high-rep, low-intensity – a light jog, cycle etc. Lifting weights without a warm up is putting you at a much higher risk of injury no matter how fit you are.
4. Don’t ignore pain
If it hurts, STOP! Pushing through pain (especially sharp or pain you have not had before) is not good. Pushing through fatigue for resistance training is how you progress. After an intense weights session a stretch or a foam roller can ease minor soft tissue strains. A good trainer can help you identify the difference between pushing yourself to the next level and pain due to tissues being injured. I often see patients who have been pushing through the pain not realising the damage they are doing. Continuing training with tendon injuries can cause tendonitis that can be difficult to rehabilitate. It is a similar story for stress fractures. Often the body has been trying to tell them for quite sometime that it cannot deal with the loads being applied. These injuries are far more common than people realise. If identified early they have much better outcomes.
5. Stretch
Ok so there’s lots of different schools of thought on this one. One minute it’s essential before and after all exercise. Next minute a researcher will claim there are no beneficial outcomes. What I do know from years of treating injuries is that not stretching at all will not help your performance. Not Stretching at all will probably put you at a much greater risk of hurting yourself.
Properly performed, a stretch helps to elongate, increase circulation and warm up a muscle. Warmed up muscles are more pliable and ‘alert’. in my experience this makes it far more injury-resistant. Post exercise muscle soreness is reported less when muscles are stretched after a workout.
Yep I’ve come across body builders that don’t stretch ….. like ever!! I often find not only do they have injuries but they can be very unbalanced with their strength and flexibility. They may be able to lift very heavy weights but some simple activities can easily cause strain in them. In my experience, the best performing bodies have a perfect combination of strength and flexibility. These bodies tend to recover well from injuries.
Make sure you get advice and guidance from a trained professional on what stretches are best for you and how to do them properly before you start.
man stretch on grass
6. Optimal nutrition
Ive seen countless people wanting to lose weight who consume too little or the wrong type of food. They continue to try to train hard and frequently. This is a great way to get injured. If you want to perform better or gain muscle bulk diet is important. Getting advice from a sports nutritionalist on what to eat is worthwhile. You need to provide your body with the best fuel possible if you want it to perform well. If you are doing resistance training you need to ‘feed’ your muscles. Optimal nutrition can feed your muscles and help them recover from a work-out.
Get the right advice from the beginning. Have a team around you to know exactly what your body can (and probably should not) do and how to do it correctly. At the first sign of injury get it assessed and treated. Follow the proper management from the beginning to avoid injuries setting you back.