Rhabdo Recipe: Too Much, Too Soon

In an athletes life, off season workouts now going on may be even more challenging than grinding through the season. Mat drills, endless running, repetitions on end, weightlifting, building a base of strength, breaking down to build up. These days are always a challenging time for those trying to secure the favor of a coach. Recently, we heard of three Oregon football players hospitalized with a condition called Rhabdomyolysis or Rhabdo for short.  Others showed some symptoms requiring workout modificationrefers to the disintegration of muscle fibers in skeletal muscle. That is to say, the muscle begins to dissolve. This releases large amounts of myoglobin, which reach the kidneys via the bloodstream where it can cause major damage, including acute renal insufficiency. In this case medical attention is absolutely and immediately necessary!  This disease can be caused by a variety of factors. A distinction is made between traumatic, non-traumatic, load-dependent and load-independent rhabdomyolysis. Load-dependent rhabdomyolysis may develop from muscle damage that has come from over-strenuous physical activity or overtraining. Simply put, too much high intensity or volume of work, too soon, often after winter break, a period of inactivity or just being de-conditioned.

Prevention involves a gradual exposure to high-intensity training along with proper hydration before, during and after activity and limiting an emphasis on eccentric, movements with high repetitions. For example, loading the muscle ad under tension when not contracted. Nutrition plays a positive role by replacing nutrients lost in exercise with carbohydrates and proteins. Hydrate as well with water and proper sports drinks. Work hard but train sensibly.

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