What Does Grading Mean?

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Things are really starting to change here in the mountains.  Getting colder and this is what Beaver Creek looked like last evening with more in the forecast. Hopefully we start out fast and furious when the mountain opens in just over a month!!!. That means we need our bodies to be ready to ramp up for skiing fast. Last post I talked about load tolerance. If you push to much too soon you can have issues. Here is that post.  https://ascentpt.blog/2018/10/08/what-does-load-tolerance-mean/

So how do we improve load tolerance? That concept is called grading. It is the foundation for any training. We can do this for getting in better shape for a sport, but also in returning to activity after an injury or with pain. For getting in shape for a sport it will let us go harder faster, and allow us to have more fun out there. With pain or injury, its about coming back without setbacks, so we can get up to speed as quickly as possible. Ramping up too quickly can give us pain, and ultimately slow our return. The difference between training and injury return in where we begin.

The basics of grading is beginning at a place your body is comfortable with and steadily progressing, rather than just starting out full force. Kind of like going down a set of stairs rather than jumping off the top step.

Where we start depends on where we have been. If we have been injured or very sedentary we will start at a lower level of activity. If we have been very active but doing different things than the new activity we are getting ready for we can begin at a higher level. So, assess realistically where you have been, and how your body has responded before.

Any starting point will be a bit of an educated guess. Do your best and then begin with some activity or exercise. This may look like your sport, such as plyometrics for skiing, if you have been active and are just trying to fine tune for the sport. It may be general fitness if you have been less active or returning from injury. Then, I like to use the stoplight analogy to progress. If what you do feels like no issue at all, its a green light. You can progress. If what you do feels challenging and there is some discomfort, its a yellow light. Keep doing that level, with appropriate rest in between. Once this becomes easier you will get a green light. If what you do causes major discomfort or pain that lasts 24 hours, that’s a red light. You need to stop and reassess. You probably need to back down your intensity.

Ideally we get lots of green and yellow lights, but not too many reds. As we progress week to week, think of adding consistently to challenge yourself and steadily increase your capacity.

Hope this helps understand grading and training. Drop a comment or email is at keith@ascent-pt.com if you have any question.

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  1. Pingback: How Long Does It Take | Ascent Physical Therapy

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