What is pre-habilitation?

We’ve all heard of the term rehabilitation. But what does pre-habilitation mean?


Prehab is a proactive approach to avoiding pain and injury. Its as simple as an additional exercise, or range of motion exercise that is done to ensure that an injury does not occur. When added to your program it significantly reduces the risk of injuries developed.

If you’ve suffered an injury or have been dealing with chronic pain and surgery is on your horizon there’s a chance that your GP, Physiotherapist or Accredited Exercise Physiologist has recommended you for prehabilitation. This refers to improving your functional capacity through increased physical activity before the anticipated surgery.

Prehab is a proactive approach to avoiding pain and injury.

Prehab is a proactive approach to avoiding pain and injury.

There has been studies conduced to show that the process of prehabilitation four to six weeks prior to surgery is to accelerate the speed at which patients recover post surgery.

Pre-habilitation does not necessarily apply to just individuals having surgery. This concept also applies to individuals who participate in sport or have a very active physical life and do not wish to be impacted by injury. For an example if you were a gymnast a prehab situation would be teaching the importance of strength and stabilisation to balance the excessive flexibility needed for the sport. Sometimes the over use of a training technique can cause excessive tightness of muscle groups, imbalance of strength and muscle stabilisation. Prehab programs are used to address the anterior and posterior slings of the body related to the sport.

Another example is if you were doing to do deadlifts in your exercise program, prehab work could include foam rolling calves, hamstrings and glutes. Using a lacrosse ball for soft tissue work on the mid/upper back and lats and then followed by some glute bridges and body weight squats to fire those muscles to ensure those muscles are active throughout the movement.

To incorporate this into your physical activity routine start off with some soft tissue mobilisation with a foam roller or lacrosse ball, followed by stretches dynamic or static then activation exercises such as a glute bridge for deadlifts.


Exercise Right’s top 4 tips to help you get started


  1. If you are unsure about what so of prehab work you need speak to your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist or qualified exercise professional about it.
  2. If you have a foam roller spend 5-10 minutes before your workout mobilising your joints such that they can have an increased acute range of motion.
  3. If you play sports and prone to injury ask your coach about what prehab exercises you can do to get started.
  4. If you are scheduled for a hip / knee or shoulder surgery ask your physician what exercise you should be doing pre surgery to ensure a speedy recovery.



Exercise Right Blog