Although in L.A. we don’t usually think of an off-season where we spend more time exercising indoors, in a normal year (unlike this year!) there are lots of rainy days and damp cool times to avoid. That’s a good time to work on preventing sports injuries with various exercises that strengthen muscle groups that surround and support your joints. We can get caught up in performance — how fast can we run our four-mile route, how many reps can I do today — but preventing injury can be just as important.

Dr. Dini makes it his business to help his patients get back in the game. And, although it may keep you from needing his services, he’s been around enough athletic teams to know how to help prevent injury. Here are some exercises with prevention in mind.


Back injuries can be the worst, and they tend to linger. Maintaining proper form and posture is important to keep your back healthy. Try keeping your stomach slightly pulled in, shoulders rolled back, and chest out. Try this mini stretch every morning, or when you wonder if your posture is slumping.

The Posture Check Stretch: Begin by stretching your arms over your head and slightly toward the back. Now, bring your arms down and roll your shoulders forward three times, then backward three times. Now roll your neck in each direction three times, and stretch your neck by keeping your face facing the ceiling for 10 seconds.

Other exercises to keep your back strong:


To keep your knees strong, you must keep the surrounding muscles strong. Pay attention to your stance. It may be somewhat crooked, which can cause your knees to turn out unnaturally, weakening them.

Here are exercises for the knees:

Duck squats — Stand in a typical squat position with your feet apart the width of your shoulders, legs bent halfway. Now, lower your bottom down to almost touch your heels and then rise back up.

Walking lunge — Step into a front lunge, but instead of coming back up to upright step the other leg forward in a lunge, as if walking.

Polymeric jump — Stand with your feet at hip width and bend down into a squat. Now jump straight up with as much force as possible. Land back softly into the squat position.


Shoulders support the neck and other areas, but are also prone to injury, especially the rotator cuff. This can be especially true if you spend your weekends raining spikes at beach volleyball courts. These exercises should help.

Shoulder rotations — Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a weight in each hand. Lift the weights into a halfway biceps curl. Then keep the weights there, but rotate the weights and your lower arms out to the sides. Then bring the weights back to the half curl in front and then down.

Dynamic plank — Start from a plank position on your toes and the palms of your hands. Carefully bend one arm and lower it, so you are down on one forearm. Repeat that with the other arm. Rise back up one arm at a time.

Diamond push-up — This is a push-up but from a different position. Start in a push-up position, but then put your hands together so your thumbs and forefingers touch and form a diamond. Do the push-up from this position.

If you want more exercises to keep you from injury, or if you think you may have injured your shoulder, knee, hips, or ankles, call our offices in Los Angeles, (323) 525-0101, or Encino, (818) 784-1020.

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