Don’t be scared by the length of this article. We have some helpful graphics at the end of the page to show you what we are talking about in a simple and visual way. Just scroll down and check them out. Test protocols for injury prevention should be easy to understand and implement to make sure they are being used.
If you are thinking of investing in sports tech, you might wonder how to make the most of it and get your money’s worth. Don’t worry, we are here to help. We don’t want you to buy something that will end up unused and forgotten, so in this article we will share some tips on how to use our GroinMate (and these tips can also apply to other products we have in the pipeline, like our PlateMate or CableMate). The GroinMate is a device that measures force and can help you improve your performance and for injury prevention. But before you start using it, you need to have a clear plan for your training. We suggest three possible tracks for your strategy:
- You can test your strength at the start and end of each season to see how much you have improved or declined. (Seasonal testing)
- You can test more often during the season to keep track of your progress and spot any signs of injury risk. (Regular testing)
- If you have the means, you can test every week like the Danish Super Liga Club FC Nordsjælland does. (Professional testing)
There is no one-size-fits all when it comes to how you choose to collect data or the frequency that fits you. There is no single right answer for everyone. But one thing is for sure: it’s better to make decisions based on real data than on intuition.
So what can you do with the data you get from the device? Well, as we mentioned before, a study shows that a drop in strength can be a warning sign of an overuse injury that might happen in 1-2 weeks (click here to read more). This means that if you test yourself regularly, you might be able to prevent overuse injuries before they happen.
But don’t worry if you don’t measure your strength very often – you can still use your data in other ways. The study also found that when the soccer players recovered from their pain and injury, their strength went back to normal. This is very important because it tells you when it’s safe to let an athlete go back to full training. In elite sports, injuries and especially overuse injuries are common – and they can be tricky to deal with. If you let an athlete train too soon, you might make the injury worse. If you wait too long, you might waste precious time. If you know the normal strength of your athlete, you should start measuring it more often when they are injured and in rehab. When their strength reaches the normal level again, it might be a good time to gradually increase their training intensity and let them return to full sports activity.
We have learned a lot from talking to researchers and scientists at FC Nordsjælland. They have a simple rule of thumb to spot overuse injuries early. If they see a 15% drop in strength over a week, they take it as a warning sign. They will test the player again later that day (to make sure the test is valid) and if the result is the same, they will stop the player from training and give them some rehab exercises. The player will only go back to full training when their strength is back to normal again.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a small drop in strength over several weeks can also be a sign of trouble. Even if a player doesn’t lose 15% or more of their strength in a week, losing a few percent every week can add up. There is no clear rule for how to deal with this kind of long-term decline, but you should pay attention to it.
We know this might sound complicated, but it’s very important to know the logic behind making smart decisions in sports. To make it easier for you, let’s look at some examples of how to use the device in a simple and visual way with flow charts:
Seasonal testing – protocol for injury prevention
This diagram is a helpful guide for beginners who want to start testing their strength with sports tech. You don’t need to follow it exactly or test yourself too often (unless you have a whole team and enough resources). But knowing your baseline strength can be useful if you get injured and need to recover. This diagram can show you how to get started with testing.
Regular testing – protocol for injury prevention
This diagram is similar to the one above – however there is one difference and this is that you doing the training season on a regular basis will test your athletes – this might result in an increase in baseline strength (this is essential to keep in mind if an injury occur since you need to use the lastes baseline strength measurement to make your decition regarding your athletes return to sports after the injury)
Professional testing protocol for injury prevention
This diagram is for those who can test their strength every week. This can help you prevent some injuries before they happen. But you need to have a team of experts who can collect and analyze the data. Here is how you can do it if you have this option.