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The Best Sports Medicine and Sport Fitness Trends

Fitness Trends that Actually Make Sense

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Updated June 08, 2011

Fitness trends pop up every year and most fade out quickly because they lack real substance. But here are a few fitness and sports medicine trends that continue to go strong. Here are a few of the ideas that really caught on with athletes, trainers and the sports medicine community -- and seem to have staying power.

1. Fitness Bootcamp Workouts

Fitness Boot Camp
Mike Powell / Getty Images

Fitness bootcamps have sprouted faster than you can say, "new fitness fad" -- but these outdoor group exercise classes have a lot to offer almost any athlete. Bootcamps mix traditional calisthenic and body weight exercises with interval training and strength training. They get results fast and are low cost. While there are a variety of styles of fitness boot camps, most are designed in a way that pushes the participants harder than they'd push themselves, but with the support of a group.

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2. Interval Training

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Interval training has been the basis for athletic training routines for years, but more endurance athletes and those who are short on time are learning how alternating short, fast bursts of intense exercise with slow, easy activity can lead to dramatic improvements in fitness in a short time.

3. Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles

Photo � E. Quinn

For athletes who train hard and don't take time to rest and recover, the foam roller offers many of the same benefits as a sports massage, without the big price tag. Correctly using a foam roller will not only stretch muscles and tendons but also helps breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. Learn how to use the roller for self-massage or myofascial release, break up trigger points, and soothe tight fascia while increasing blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues.

4. Kettlebell Workouts

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Kettlebells may sound strange, but these bowling ball-sized cast iron weights have been around for decades. They are beginning to catch on in North America because kettlebell training gets back to basic training and develops functional, whole body fitness. Lifting and controlling a kettlebell forces the entire body, and specifically the core, to contract as a group, building both strength and stability at the same time. Kettlebell workouts engage multiple muscle groups at once. In this way, they are a great option for getting a whole body workout in a short time.

5. Prehab Injury Prevention Programs

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Prehabilitation, or injury prevention programs, are beginning to get traction with professional and college athletes and is starting to move into mainstream fitness programs. These workout programs aim to address total body conditioning, balance and predict sports specific physical needs. The idea is to assess an athlete's symmetry in range of motion, strength, coordination and stabilization from right to left and front to back. Exercises and sports specific skills and drills are then designed to correct an athlete's weaknesses.

6. Sports Psychology Training

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The mind is as much of a part of excelling in a sport as the body. Many elite athletes have used sports psychology techniques, skills and tools for years to get a mental advantage over the competition and learn how to improve their focus. Now those techniques are being adopted by recreational athletes and those seeking to use their minds to help them reach their fitness goals.

Read more
Visualization and Guided Imagery for Sports Performance.
Regaining and Maintaining Focus.
Ten Ways to Discover Your Sports Potential.
Mental Focus During Sports - Centering

7. Core Training and Functional Fitness

Photodisc / Getty Images

Core training was hot in 2008, but often the focus was a bit ab obsessed. Thankfully, as the year progressed, people recognized that the core actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis. The core runs the entire length of the torso, - front and back. These muscles stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder and provide a solid foundation for movement in the extremities. Core conditioning exercise programs should target all these muscle groups to be effective.

8. Strength Training for Women

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Over the last decade, researchers have made extremely compelling arguments for the benefits of weight training for women. Still, the number of women who take this recommendation to heart is still quite low. Most women who exercise are spending most of their gym time on cardiovascular exercise. Whatever your reasons for avoiding the weights, if you are a woman, here are 10 reasons why you need to lift weights.

9. Yoga for Athletes

Graham Mitchell / Getty Images

Yoga has left the yoga studio. It seems that every type of athlete can benefit from the addition of a weekly yoga session to a workout routine. Yoga provides the perfect cross training activity for athletes of all sports because it helps develop deeper, more focused breathing techniques while it improves balance, flexibility, core strength and endurance.

10. Senior Fitness Programs

Senior Fitness Programs
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While it’s true that as we age we have to work harder than the young, a lot of the declines that we attribute to aging may be reversed with fitness training. More and more seniors are hiring personal trainers, joining group exercise programs and taking up sports later in life and reaping the benefits of strength and endurance training.

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