The athletic routines of professionals are certainly something to which we can aspire; however, these elite athletes eat, sleep and breathe training to be the best. If you dedicate yourself to a strong regimen like the Lexington Legends do, you can get there. To help you achieve that status, the orthopedic pros that help the Legends have some tips for you.

During the season, keeping your skills sharp is crucial to your performance. And as any athlete knows, proper form and technique must be observed in order to be your best. At Lexington Clinic Orthopedics – Sports Medicine Center, there are physicians and athletic trainers available to treat and help you train properly. "It is important for athletes to know what technique is needed to perform their best,” says David C. Dome, MD, ATC. "Athletes who are serious about their sport should always work closely with an athletic trainer in order to lower the risk of developing bad habits or inflicting injury.”

For athletes who extensively use their arms and shoulders in their sport, it is especially important to avoid overusing those muscles. Overuse is very damaging to your body and can cause decreases in performance and injury. Practices that help prevent overuse injuries include strength training and improving joint mobility by stretching. "It is crucial that athletes avoid straining and overusing the shoulder as it will decrease performance,” says W. Ben Kibler, MD, FACSM. "Recognize the limits of your strength and gradually push the boundaries instead of forcing your muscles to work too hard.”

In the off-season, athletes still train to ensure they stay healthy and strong. However, many athletes crosstrain during the time off from their sport to allow their vital muscles rest before the next season. An example of this would be swimming instead of running for a track athlete to give their knees the time to heal.  "Runner’s knee can quickly deteriorate your ability to run track,” says Trevor W. Wilkes, MD. "I tell athletes that respecting your limits in the off-season is the best way to ensure your performance during the regular season.”

If you are keeping up with your workouts during the off-season, keep in mind proper form and the risks of overuse. An injury during the summer could bench you for the fall if you push yourself too far. So, if you’re in the gym, take it easy on the weights and keep your limits in check. "Professional athletes perform at such a high caliber because they know their boundaries,” says Peter W. Hester, MD. "Play it safe off the field or the court and you’ll play smarter when you’re on it.” You can visit the Lexington Clinic orthopedics website for thorough information on many aspects of conditioning and injury at LexingtonClinic.com/sports.

Training like a professional takes dedication and it takes knowledge. The orthopedic pros at Lexington Clinic know how to get you there. They offer many different services, in addition to injury treatment and repair, that provide young athletes with proper training and care. The Shoulder Center of Kentucky offers a throwing program designed to train overhead athletes while protecting their joints. In addition, physicians are available to evaluate and treat acute sports injuries at their drop in clinic Monday through Friday, no appointment necessary, as long as the athlete arrives to the facility by 7:30 a.m.

If you would like to discuss the opportunities and benefits of athletic training more with a physician, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please call (859) 258-8561 or visit LexingtonClinic.com/sports.