Performance Training

Coaching Cues Every Trainer Should Possess

  |   Internship, Performance Training   |   No comment


Whether you’re training a business executive, the Golden State Warriors, or training a group of 3-20 people, every trainer needs to have good coaching cues in their arsenal in order to convey direction to any clientele. Good coaching cues lead to good technique, form, and most importantly a foundational understanding of the exercise that they are performing. A comprehensive understanding of what clients are doing and why will lead to better physical and mental awareness, and better insight/adherence to exercise prescription. Here are a couple of coaching cues every trainer should posses:

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Coaching from various angles

 

Be active in your coaching!  Profile, 45˚ and fontal plane views are key to coaching success, and the constant movement will keep you, the coach, attentive and engaged as well.  Each set should be viewed from each of these angles vs one at a time per set.  Being able to coach your client from various angles will give you a much better understanding of how they are moving biomechanically in all planes of movement. As we know, looking from just one angle isn’t enough. For example, an athlete may look great performing a front squat when viewing the frontal plane, but may present with excessive anterior translation of the knees or a rounding of the back when viewing the sagittal plane. Therefore, being able to circle and coach the athlete throughout their movement, and see from all the different angles is the most effective way to ensure safety and yield good coaching cues.

***Line of sight: Wherever you are standing you should be able to see all of your athletes on the floor to ensure quality coaching at all times.

 

 

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Knowing when to coach

 

Knowing when to coach, cue, and reinforce is vital to quality execution, progression, safety and adherance. So when is the best time to coach? The answer is before, during, and after each set. We like to employ the rule: Coach 100% of the time. 80% verbally to the client (actually speaking – this may be corrections or simple positive reinforcement), and 20% of the time giving the client a verbal rest but actively assessing the movement.  Set the client up for success prior to the set with quality initial positioning and execution cues, and make quick adjustments while they’re performing the set if need be. Give them a report after; what they did well and what they can improve.  Don’t over coach.  Your report for a seasoned client may be the word, “Perfect,” and walk away.  Always coach from a perspective of positive reinforcement slowly building up the perfect movement patterns.

 

 

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Never sit down

 

Simple, but a common blunder observed in our field.  Most of you out there a charging good money to your clients in return for the best coaching possible.  Sitting down is body language that does not show your athletes you are interested in their success.  Be physically active in your coaching – apply 80/20 rule – if you need to get into a lower position we coach our interns and staff to take a knee. So if you want to be a great trainer, sitting down should never be an option.

 

Demonstrate, but do not overload

 

Demonstrating an exercise is one of the most important ways an athlete can learn. It sets the precedence for how they are going to perform the exercise. With that in mind, you want to make sure that when you demonstrate  you must do so exceptionally, how you would want your client or athlete to move. Explain what you are looking for in the exercise as you demonstrate, keeping the goals you want to make concise and to point. No one wants to be coached for more than 10 seconds or so, so communicate the key points, effects, and  how to properly setup. Of course answer any questions as in depth as the client requires and continually reinforce the good and iterate the fine details.

 

Know your audience

 

Having the ability to connect with your clients will help you become more agile in your training methods – which can benefit you in the long run with the new clients as well.  Understanding your athletes within the performance level is essential, but the personal level connection will help make you a better coach in a number of ways: communication, tone, and when and how much to correct and reinforce to elicit the best response possible to name a few. Knowing your audience is one of the greatest keys to success as a trainer.

 

Scientific instruction

 

As mentioned above, having an educational basis on how and why your clients are performing certain exercises is yet another key to success for the trainer. Being able to create purposeful programming starts with having an educational understanding of your client in every way possible. Physically, mentally, biomechanically – all of these things are taken into consideration for creating a unique program for that specific client. Therefore, being able to educate your client on your thought process for their programming, explaining to them why they are performing certain exercises, and how they should do them, will bolster client retention, and such thoughtful presentation will build trust in the client-trainer relationship. Instructing your clients with the same scientific verbiage you would use when creating their program will further build on the fundamental educational foundation for you and the client- of course you must be able to translate such verbiage into every-day-terms (and in time the client will build up their scientific vocabulary to a level of simple conveyance).

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Are You Walking Around Hyperinflated?

  |   Injury Prevention and Care, Performance Training   |   No comment

What if you could fix your back pain, knee irritation, neck spasms, to name a few…and increase your athletic outputs by taking a couple proper breathes and locking in that pattern?

 

What is Breathing?

 

 

Breathing is the most underappreciated of all human movements. Since breathing is a human movement pattern, it can be mechanically altered by a combination of factors. Breathing plays an important role in its influence on movement quality, stability, and posture. If breathing is “normal” or “functional”, posture and stabilization will be maintained in a healthy manner. Conversely, if breathing is “abnormal” or “dysfunctional”, it not only affects posture and stabilization, but can also create countless other health issues. On average, we breath 20,000-24,000 times a day. Any problems we have in breathing are therefore multiplied 20,000-24,000 times a day.

 

Breathing affects every system of our bodies to include, but not limited to, our cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Many individuals have misconceptions about breathing and consider it solely as an action of inhalation and exhalation. What is less understood is breathing’s role in posture and movement. The exchange of respiratory gases into and out of the lungs has many implications. The human body has three cavities that are designed to aid in the movement of air and support the upright posture of our human structure based on the pressure differences between them. These cavities include the cranium, thorax, and lumbo-pelvic femoral complex. This dynamic displacement of air defines the active movement that occurs during breathing and muscular activity.

 

Breathing is the origin of all movement patterns. Because it is one of our most frequent behaviors, any disturbances that create and/or inhibit these pressure gradients to occur between the head, thorax, and/or pelvic complex will lessen its efficiency and places a strain on the body’s ability to adapt. The manner in which individuals breathe affects their appearance and function of these cavities, and predicts the level of discomfort an individual may experience throughout their lifetime from both a physical and psychological standpoint.

 

 

Optimal Breathing

 

Optimal breathing includes moving air in and out of the thorax in a way that maintains optimal diaphragm position and optimal rib cage position for controlled tri-planar movement. The biggest challenges in positioning the diaphragm and the rib cage are:

 

  1. To get the diaphragm into a properly domed position
  2. To get the rib cage on both sides into full internal rotation

 

Both of these challenges are overcome if the person can get into a full state of exhalation when they breathe out.

 

Maximizing the removal of previously un-exhaled air allows the anterior rib cage to come all the way down, all the way in, and translate back so the diaphragm can take on a fully domed shape and the rib cage can get into full internal rotation. This is called maximizing Zone of Apposition

 

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Using this corrected diaphragm and rib cage posture for proper diaphragmatic breathing involves maintaining the newly attained Zone of Apposition as they transition from exhalation to inhalation.

 

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A proper Zone of Apposition includes fully translating the diaphragm muscle back (posteriorly) so it lines up properly with a neutral lumbar spine and the pelvic outlet. This retro diaphragm position must be maintained so the diaphragm and the rib cage do not come forward when air starts to come into the chest wall. Support from the hamstrings and the internal abdominal obliques helps to maintain this posteriorly positioned diaphragm and rib cage position so synchronized abdominal and chest wall expansion can occur during inhalation.

 

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If this pattern of inhalation maintains enough posterior diaphragm translation (via hamstrings and internal abdominal obliques) to support lumbar spine and pelvic outlet posture, then it could be referred to as properly coordinated diaphragmatic breathing.

 

 

Hyperinflation

 

The most common form of breathing disorder is hyperventilation. Hyperventilation results from increased respiratory demands due to mechanical or emotional stress, or merely habit, and leads to respiratory alkalosis and an increase in the body’s PH. This, in turn, results in a host of physiological changes, including:

  1. Loss of dissociation of oxygen from hemoglobin in the blood, known as the Bohr affect. This is a paradox: the more we breathe, the less oxygen is available to our tissues
  2. Depletion of adrenal steroids, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone
  3. Changes in brain wave patterns
  4. Increases in neural excitability, increased sympathetic drive, leading to:
    • Reduced cerebral blood flow
    • Altered intracellular pH and metabolism
    • Vasoconstriction and bronchoconstriction
    • Increased capillary pressure reduces blood supply to local tissues
    • Local tissue in hypoxia, which triggers release of neuropeptides and pro-inflammatory substances from nociceptive terminals
    • Activation of beta-adrenergic receptors at the motor endplate/sarcolemma via release of norepinephrine and leading to release of acetylcholine and on-going depolarization
    • Less oxygen available to move calcium through the gradient to unlock actin-myosin cross-bridges, leading to muscle stiffness
    • A switch in energy production from aerobic/oxidative phosphorylation to anaerobic/glycolysis, which is less efficient and destabilizing to homeostasis.
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Digestive disorders

 

Breathing acts as an extrinsic influence on all other oscillating physiological systems, improving their efficiency and preventing energy waste on non-productive functions

 

When breathing synchronizes its oscillating cycles with that of other physiological systems, it allows for the rest and recovery of these systems

 

 

 

References

Blandin, J & Anderson, J. (2015). PRI integration for fitness and movement. Restoring and altering reciprocal activity. Principles. Breathing (33-37). Lincoln, NE.

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Autografts vs. Allografts: Which choice is the better choice?

  |   Injury Prevention and Care, Performance Training   |   No comment

It has been debated for many years in the sports medicine field whether autograph or allografts are the better choice for an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. It has been fluctuating back and forth between the years, teetering between an autograft patellar tendon, an allograft hamstring tendon or patellar tendon, or an autograft hamstring tendon. There never seems to be any consistent or consensual basis on the topic. A study done on non-contact ACL injuries states that “An estimated 80,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears occur annually in the United States” (Griffin et. al, 2000).

 

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As the rise of ACL injuries continues to increase with each passing year, this question seems all the more relevant to many current and future athletes. Before we continue to delve into this question, let’s first define autografts and allografts.

 

An autograft is a graft transferred from one part of a patient’s body to another, such as one’s own patellar or hamstring tendon to replace their torn ACL (Taber’s Medical Dictionary).

 

 

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An allograft is an organ or tissue transplanted from one member of a species to another genetically dissimilar member of the same species, such as a cadaver’s hamstring or patellar tendon to replace the athlete’s torn ACL (Taber’s Medical Dictionary).

 

 

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One would assume that receiving a tissue from a cadaver would put them in a vulnerable position for tissue rejection. However, recipients of allografts take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent tissue rejection from occurring. The reconstruction of an ACL is crucial to the longevity of any given athlete due to it’s importance in maintaining the stability of the knee, particularly in activities involving cutting, pivoting or kicking. People with ruptured ACL’s have unstable knees that generally become more damaged over time. Therefore, surgical reconstruction is vital for the athlete in order to get back to regular sport activity. Now that we are familiar with the terminology, let’s see what the current research has to say about which is the better choice.

 

 

 

 

Autograft Research:

 

A study done on the rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction followed up with 68 patients two years after surgery to determine which method was the best. Thirty-four patients chose the patellar tendon graft, and 34 patients chose the hamstring tendon graft (Heijne & Werner, 2010). The patients were evaluated preoperatively for 3, 5, 7, and 9 months, and then 1 and 2 years after ACL reconstruction. The results from this study showed that the outcome regarding graft choice anterior knee laxity was in favor of the patellar tendon graft, and that the hamstring tendon graft led to larger laxity compared with the patellar graft. There was also a significant difference in rotational knee stability in favour of the patellar tendon graft. The patellar tendon graft resulted in higher activity level than hamstring graft. Another finding was that 2 years after ACL reconstruction, patients who chose the hamstring graft showed both significantly lower quadriceps and hamstrings strength ratio in comparison with patients operated on with patellar tendon graft as well as when compared with their own preoperative values (Heijne & Werner, 2010). The conclusion of this study shows that the patellar tendon graft leads to more stable knees with less anterior laxity and less pivot shift. Patients with hamstring ACL reconstruction need more hamstring strengthening exercises. Some of the study’s data indicated that patients operated on with hamstring grafts might need slower rehabilitation protocols, focusing more on hamstring strength than those with patellar tendon graft. Athletic patients with the patellar tendon ACL reconstruction returned to sports earlier and at a higher level than those operated on with hamstring tendon grafts (Heijne & Werner, 2010).

 

 

A second study on the patellar tendon versus the hamstring autograft for ACL ruptures in adults gathered 1597 young to middle-aged adults for this study. The results demonstrated that all of the movement tests they performed on the patients (instrumental, Lachman, pivot shift) for static stability consistently showed that patellar tendon reconstruction resulted in a more statically stable knee compared with hamstring tendon reconstruction (Dooley, Chan, Dainty, Mohtadi, and Whelan, 2006). Conversely, patients experienced more anterior knee problems, especially with kneeling, after patellar tendon reconstruction. Patellar tendon reconstructions resulted in a statistically significant loss of extension range of motion and a trend towards loss of knee extension strength. Hamstring tendon reconstructions demonstrated a trend towards loss of flexion range of motion and a statistically significant loss of knee flexion strength (Dooley, Chan, Dainty, Mohtadi, and Whelan, 2006). The conclusion of this study explains that while patellar tendon reconstructions are more likely to result in statically stable knees, they are also associated with more anterior knee problems (Dooley, Chan, Dainty, Mohtadi, and Whelan, 2006).

 

 

The third and final study did a meta-analysis comparing patellar tendon and hamstring tendon autografts. The researchers of this study gathered 1348 patients in the patellar tendon group, and 628 patients in the hamstring tendon group (Freedman, D’Amato, Nedeff, Kaz, and Bach, 2003). The results of this study showed that the rate of graft failure in the patellar tendon group was significantly lower, and a significantly higher proportion of patients in the patellar tendon group had a side-to-side difference of less than 3 mm on KT-1000 arthrometer testing than in the hamstring tendon group (Freedman, D’Amato, Nedeff, Kaz, and Bach, 2003).  The KT-1000 knee arthrometer is an objective instrument to measure anterior tibial motion relative to the femur for anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (Arneja & Leith, 2009). There was a higher rate of manipulation under anesthesia or lysis of adhesions and of anterior knee pain in the patellar tendon group. Patellar tendon autografts had a significantly lower rate of graft failure and resulted in better static knee stability and increased patient satisfaction compared with hamstring tendon autografts. However, patellar tendon autograft reconstructions resulted in an increased rate of anterior knee pain (Freedman, D’Amato, Nedeff, Kaz, and Bach, 2003).

 

 

 

 

Allograft Research:

 

The first study in this section talked about the comparison of auto and allograft hamstring tendon constructs for ACL reconstruction. The study gathered 84 patients total, with 37 choosing autografts and 47 choosing allografts (Edgar, Zimmer, Kakar, Jones, and Schepsis, 2008). The results of this study showed that at short to intermediate term follow-up, an allograft hamstring construct performs just as well as an autograft hamstring construct in all clinically monitored parameters (Edgar, Zimmer, Kakar, Jones, and Schepsis, 2008). Given some of the potential advantages of allograft constructs (no donor-site morbidity, shorter operative time, a potential graft tissue source for backup when harvested tissue is inadequate, and the ability to preoperatively select the appropriate length and diameter graft, thus adjusting to the size and weight of the patient), allograft constructs are becoming more widely used. The performance of the allograft counterpart of the typical autograft hamstring construct performs as well by all criteria at short to intermediate term followup (Edgar, Zimmer, Kakar, Jones, and Schepsis, 2008).

 

 

The second study looked at allografts versus autograft ACL reconstruction to see which method led to the least amount of complications. Their results showed that patient age and ACL graft type were significant predictors of graft failure for all study surgeons (Kaeding et.al, 2011). Patients in the age group of 10 to 19 years had the highest percentage of graft failures. The odds of graft rupture with an allograft reconstruction are 4 times higher than those of autograft reconstructions. For each 10 year decrease in age, the odds of graft rupture increase 2.3 times (Kaeding et.al, 2011). The conclusion formed from their data revealed that there is an increased risk of ACL graft rupture in patients who have undergone allograft reconstruction. Younger patients also have an increased risk of ACL graft failure (Kaeding et.al, 2011).

 

 

The final study in this section tested allograft ACL reconstruction in the young, active patient. Their results showed that high activity allograft patients had a 2.6 to 4.2 fold increase in the probability of graft failure compared with low activity bone-patellar tendon-bone allograft patients and low and high activity bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft patients (Barrett, Luber, Replogle, and Manley, 2010). Patients undergoing bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft reconstruction reported significantly fewer problems on a visual analog scale and scored significantly higher on the postoperative Tegner activity scale than patients undergoing allograft reconstruction (Barrett, Luber, Replogle, and Manley, 2010). The active allograft group is 2.6 to 4.2 times more likely to fail compared with low-activity allografts and low and high activity autografts. We conclude that fresh-frozen bone-patellar tendon-bone allografts should not be used in young patients who have a high Tegner activity score because of their higher risk of failure (Barrett, Luber, Replogle, and Manley, 2010).

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Based on the three studies demonstrated above about allografts, the athlete should stay away from allografts due to the increased risk of ACL graft rupture and higher risk of failure. So this leaves the option of autografts. But which one? Well, based on the studies above, research shows that a patellar tendon autograft is the best way to go for the serious athlete. This is due to the patellar tendon autografts having a significantly lower rate of graft failure and resulting in better static knee stability and increased patient satisfaction compared with hamstring tendon autografts. All of the studies shown in the autograft section demonstrate that patellar tendon graft lead to more stable knees with less anterior laxity and less pivot shift. Patients that choose to go with the hamstring tendon autograft need more hamstring strengthening exercises, and slower rehabilitation protocols that needs to focus on hamstring strength than those that choose the patellar tendon autograft.

 

Furthermore, these studies show that athletic patients with patellar tendon autografts returned to their sport earlier and at a higher level than those operated on with hamstring tendon grafts. However there is a word of caution for the patellar tendon autograft, that all three studies agreed upon; and that is that the patellar tendon autograft reconstructions resulted in an increased rate of anterior knee pain, especially in a kneeling position. Besides the anterior knee problems, the patellar tendon reconstructions resulted in a statistically significant loss of extension range of motion and a trend towards loss of knee extension strength. Those that went with the hamstring tendon reconstructions demonstrated a trend towards loss of flexion range of motion and a statistically significant loss of knee flexion strength.

 

 

The big take home message here is that there will obviously be a handful of pros and cons between the choice of hamstring or patellar tendon autografts. Perhaps the biggest determiner in answering this question is what your sport is, what you really cannot afford to lose in terms of knee flexion/extension and knee pain, and weight out whether the pros and cons work for you on your field or court.

 

 

 

 

References:

“A.” Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis, 2013. 123-24. Print.

 

Arneja, S., & Leith, J. (2009). Review article: Validity of the KT-1000 knee ligament arthrometer. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, 17(1).

 

Barrett, G. R., Luber, K., Replogle, W. H., & Manley, J. L. (2010). Allograft anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in the young, active patient: Tegner activity level and failure rate. Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery, 26(12), 1593-1601.

 

Dooley, P. J., Chan, D. S., Dainty, K. N., Mohtadi, N. G., & Whelan, D. B. (2006). Patellar tendon versus hamstring autograft for anterior cruciate ligament rupture in adults. The Cochrane Library.

 

Edgar, C. M., Zimmer, S., Kakar, S., Jones, H., & Schepsis, A. A. (2008). Prospective comparison of auto and allograft hamstring tendon constructs for ACL reconstruction. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 466(9), 2238-2246.

 

Freedman, K. B., D’Amato, M. J., Nedeff, D. D., Kaz, A., & Bach, B. R. (2003). Arthroscopic Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction A Metaanalysis Comparing Patellar Tendon and Hamstring Tendon Autografts. The American journal of sports medicine, 31(1), 2-11.

 

Griffin, L. Y., Agel, J., Albohm, M. J., Arendt, E. A., Dick, R. W., Garrett, W. E., … & Wojtys, E. M. (2000). Noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injuries: risk factors and prevention strategies. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 8(3), 141-150.

 

Heijne, A., & Werner, S. (2010). A 2-year follow-up of rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction using patellar tendon or hamstring tendon grafts: a prospective randomised outcome study. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy,18(6), 805-813.

 

Kaeding, C. C., Aros, B., Pedroza, A., Pifel, E., Amendola, A., Andrish, J. T., … & Spindler, K. P. (2011). Allograft versus autograft anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction predictors of failure from a MOON prospective longitudinal cohort. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 3(1), 73-81.

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Increased Strength and Power vs. Improved Aesthetics: Who Wins?

  |   Injury Prevention and Care, Performance Training   |   No comment

When preparing for an assessment of any kind, one has to take into consideration the goals, abilities, and functional needs that the an athlete may have. When Walter came in to Accelerate Sports Performance, he was looking to rehabilitate a bulging lumbar disc, rebuild a slowly atrophying body due to his movement limitations, and reach levels of elite performance. We knew that meant having to increase his strength and endurance in order to relieve the compressive forces on his spine. Walter is an intelligent athlete, and he knew that gaining size was not the answer to getting stronger. This is not to say that gaining size means that one cannot get stronger, rather much could be done with his current physical stature via mitochondrial plasticity.

 

 

An article on heavy resistance training explains that “Heavy resistance training is associated with increased body weight, lean body mass, and muscle cross-sectional area. The increased muscle cross-sectional area is mainly brought about by hypertrophy of individual muscle fibers” (Tesch, 1988). However, one does not need to only look for size in order to gain strength.

 

 

Here at Accelerate, we know that packing in strength, increasing mitochondrial density, and enhancing neuromuscular adaptations  is the real key to making an athlete stronger without necessarily having to increasing mass dramatically. Our goal was to achieve these goals without adding further unnecessary compressive forces to his spine via body wieght.

 

 

Another article describing the plasticity of mitochondria explains that “Mitochondria in skeletal muscle tissue can undergo rapid and characteristic changes as a consequence of manipulations of muscle use and environmental conditions (Hoppeler & Fluck, 2002). They also explain that “Strength training has a major impact on muscle myofibrillar volume” (Hoppeler & Fluck, 2002).

 

 

Walter’s first assessment here at ASP was on 7-7-14, and his re-assessment was on 10-8-15.  Due to Walter’s lumbar impingement, we did not prescribe a strength assessment. Therefore, in order to create the strength assessment data needed for comparison to his re-assessment, we gathered Walter’s prescribed programs created by our strength and conditioning staff and estimated his 1 rep max based on his 3 rep recorded numbers. This was quite essential in Walter’s case. It would have been a contraindication to max load him or prescribe common baseline testing exercises for that matter. Below are some examples of compressive forces and the direction of forces on the lumbar spine:

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(Normal discographs under increasing pressure)

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However, we did need to increase his core strength, stability, and create a good zone of apposition (and related imbalances) in order to release those compressive forces from his lumbar spine. When Walter came in for his first assessment, he could not stand in work functions for long periods of time, as he would experience lumbar pain and radicular down his legs. Now, he has the core strength, stability, and diaphragmatic adaptations to stand in work functions for long periods of time. Even more impressive, his new overall strength has released those compressive forces from his lumbar spine and he no longer experiences the previous symptoms he experienced during his first assessment. The question becomes: Could Walter have had those strength gains, without actually increasing his mass and size? We decided to answer this question by gathering the data from Walter’s first assessment and his re-assessment, and translating them into readable graphs below.

 

 

 

 

Raw Data:

 

Re-Assessment Comparision Chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s raw data gathered from his first assessment at ASP, his previous programs, and his re-assessment. Due to a possible bulging disc in his lumbar spine, strength testing was terminated during his first assessment. Instead, we focused on his lower body elasticity and cardiac output. The numbers we have gathered for his strength were based off of previous programs that were prescribed to Walter during his time here at ASP. Included in this raw data, we also have the percentage increase from his first assessment to his second assessment, and the integer increases within the various tests

Lower Body Elasticity:

 

Vertical Jump (Inches) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Here we have Walter’s vertical jump, measured in inches on our vertical jump mat. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents inches measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment and his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

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Here we also have Walter’s vertical jump, measured in inches on our vertical jump mat. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his vertical jump from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Broad Jump (Inches) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s broad jump, measured in inches using a measuring tape. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents inches measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

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Here we also have Walter’s broad jump, measured in inches using a measuring tape. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his broad jump from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Left Leg Lateral Bound (Inches) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s left leg lateral bound, measured in inches using a measuring tape. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents inches measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

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Here we also have Walter’s left leg lateral bound, measured in inches using a measuring tape. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his left leg lateral bound from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Right Leg Lateral Bound (Inches) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s right leg lateral bound, measured in inches using a measuring tape. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents inches measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.23.39 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we also have Walter’s right leg lateral bound, measured in inches using a measuring tape. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his right leg lateral bound from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Strength:

 

Hex Bar Deadlift (lbs) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s hex bar deadlift, measured in pounds. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents pounds measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.26.55 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we also have Walter’s hex bar deadlift measured in pounds. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his hex bar deadlift from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Neutral Grip Bench Press (lbs) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s neutral grip bench press, measured in pounds. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents pounds measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.29.09 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we also have Walter’s neutral grip bench press measured in pounds. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his neutral grip bench press from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Safety Bar Squat (lbs) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s safety bar squat, measured in pounds. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents pounds measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.32.08 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we also have Walter’s safety bar squat measured in pounds. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his safety bar squat from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Pull-Up (lbs) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s pull-up, measured in pounds. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents pounds measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.33.47 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we also have Walter’s pull-up measured in pounds. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his pull-up from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Conventional Deadlift (lbs) Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s conventional deadlift, measured in pounds. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents pounds measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.35.33 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we also have Walter’s conventional deadlift measured in pounds. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his conventional deadlift from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Woodway:

 

Woodway (Speed Protocol) - Speed Per Round Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s Woodway speed protocol, measured in miles per hour. The X-axis represents each round Walter successfully completed, and the Y-axis represents the miles per hour measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Woodway (Speed Protocol) - Average Speed Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s Woodway speed protocol, measured in miles per hour. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the miles per hour measured. This graph allows us to see the linear progression Walter has achieved from his first assessment to his second assessment here at ASP. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

 Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.39.04 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s Woodway speed protocol, measured in miles per hour. However, it is demonstrated as a column of percentage increase to better visualize Walter’s achievements during his training here at ASP. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the percentage increase. This graph allows us to see the tremendous improvement in his Woodway speed protocol from his first assessment to his second assessment. Located at the bottom of the graph are the dates from his first assessment to his second assessment, demonstrating the timeline between prescribed strength training.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.40.03 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s Woodway speed protocol during his first assessment, measured in minutes. The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the minutes measured. This graphs allows us to see how long Walter performed total work, and how long he performed total work with the added rest periods at the end of each round, which can be translated to cardiac output. Located at the bottom of the graph is the date from his first assessment here at ASP.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 4.41.00 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s Woodway speed protocol during his re-assessment,  The X-axis represents the time frame of each assessment, and the Y-axis represents the minutes measured. This graphs allows us to see how long Walter performed total work, and how long he performed total work with the added rest periods at the end of each round. When comparing this to the graph above, we can see that Walter performed total work for a longer duration, which correlates to having a greater cardiac output. Located at the bottom of the graph is the date from his second assessment here at ASP.

 

 

Woodway (Speed Protocol) - Total Work vs. Rest Ratio Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s Woodway speed protocol during his first assessment, graphed as a pie chart. This pie chart demonstrates Walter’s work to rest ratio during his first assessment here at ASP. The blue pie represents the total amount of work completed in minutes, and the red pie represents the total amount of rest accumulated at the end of each round in minutes. Located at the bottom of the graph is the date from his first assessment here at ASP.

 

 

Woodway (Speed Protocol) - Total Work vs. Rest Ratio #2 Graph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have Walter’s Woodway speed protocol during his re-assessment, graphed as a pie chart. This pie chart demonstrates Walter’s work to rest ratio during his first assessment here at ASP. The blue pie represents the total amount of work completed in minutes, and the red pie represents the total amount of rest accumulated at the end of each round in minutes. Located at the bottom of the graph is the date from his second assessment here at ASP.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

 

When Walter first came into Accelerate Sports Performance, he came in looking to relieve a serious ailment. He could not stand for long periods of time during work-related functions, nor could he put any load through his spine. Fortunate for our unimpeded implementation, Walter was an intelligent athlete that understood that increasing body mass and size was not going to align with our goals, as this would only exacerbate the already serious problem. Now over one year later, Walter is exceeding his performance goals at a functional size. He no longer experiences pain-like symptoms from his bulging lumbar disc, nor does it hold him back during any lifestyle activities. His success was largely due to focused work on centralizing his L4-L5 disk by prescribing core strengthening, stability, postural, and respiratory exercises and integrating strength him proximally to distally.

 

 

So the question remains: can one demonstrate increases in power and strength, but not see it physically? Based on the evidence gathered from Walter’s re-assessment here at ASP, we can confidently answer “yes” to that question. The graphs and data shown above demonstrates the answer to that question in tremendous form; that just because one may not see massive gains in size during strength training, doesn’t mean that they are not increasing their strength and power during the process.

 

 

 

 

References:

 

Hoppeler, H., & Fluck, M. A. R. T. I. N. (2003). Plasticity of skeletal muscle mitochondria: structure and function. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 35(1), 95-104.

 

Roaf, R. (1960). A study of the mechanics of spinal injuries. Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, British Volume, 42(4), 810-823.

 

Tesch, P. (1988). Skeletal muscle adaptations consequent to long-term heavy resistance exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 20(5 Suppl), S132.

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Shoulder Health in the Plane of the Scapula

  |   Injury Prevention and Care, Performance Training, Video   |   No comment

What is the plane of the scapula?

 

The plane of the scapula can be defined as the normal resting position of the scapula as it lies on the posterior rib cage at an angle of 30-45˚ (Johnson 2005). It can also be defined as the angle assumed by the face of the glenoid fossa (Starkey & Ryan, 2010). In simple terms, this arm position is the angle in which the scapula is laterally facing outwards from an individual’s upper back. The picture below gives an illustration of where exactly the plane of the scapula lies:

 
Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 9.25.35 AM

Why move within the plane of the scapula?

 

There are several reasons that explain why it is beneficial to move within this plane. The first, and probably the most important reason, has to do with simple physics. When one is in the plane of the scapula, the mechanical axis of the humerus approximates with the mechanical axis of the scapula (Johnson, 2005). This optimally aligns the deltoid muscles and the supraspinatus muscle for elevation of the arm, thereby avoiding subacromial impingement during shoulder abduction (Paine & Voight, 2013).

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 9.25.25 AM

 

Another reason for moving within the scapular plane is that it puts less stress on the shoulder capsule. When the arm is raised overhead in the sagittal or frontal plane, the shoulder capsule is stressed from obligatory humeral rotation. For example in the frontal plane, the anterior capsule structures are tensioned, which may complicate soft tissue healing in patients who have glenohumeral injuries/instability. Whereas within the scapular plane, the inferior part of the capsule is relaxed, since no humeral rotation is required (Paine & Voight, 2013).

 

A final reason for moving within the plane of the scapula can be explained by the rule of the length-tension relationship. Since the rotator cuff muscles originate from the scapula, the position of the humerus in the scapular plane increases the length-tension relationship of the deltoid and rotator cuff muscles, therefore helping to facilitate optimal muscle force (Paine & Voight, 2013).

 

Overall, research has suggested that exercises completed in this specific plane can provide great benefits for improving shoulder function. Improvements in function and shoulder biomechanics include relief of the anterior capsular structures of the shoulder, decreased chance of rotator cuff compression, and an overall improvement of the shoulder complex neuromuscular performance. As well as improving the overall function of the shoulder, the improvements also reduce the chance of pain and injury for the shoulder complex, particularly in overhead throwing sports/ movements. (Paine & Voight, 2013)

 

Pressing exercises in the plane of the scapula vs the frontal plane

 

An example of a strength exercise being performed in the scapular plane is the 2DB bench press. A study done on the avoidance of shoulder injuries during resistance training showed that performing this exercise, or any overhead press within the scapular plane will help minimize anterior capsular distension (Davies, Durall, & Manske 2001).

 

Several studies have shown the importance of exercising in the scapular plane versus exercising in the sagittal or frontal planes. For example, a study conducted on the assessment of internal and external rotation in the frontal plane versus the plane of the scapula found that isokinetic strength testing of the shoulder’s internal and external rotators within the scapular plane had several advantages to testing in the frontal plane. Abducting the arm within the frontal plane tends to place the glenohumeral joint into more of a closed packed position. This position may place undesirable stress on the soft tissues of an injured joint, and may even be uncomfortable for healthy subjects (Hellwig & Perrin, 1991). Movement within the scapular plane minimizes tension/rotation of the inferior portion of the capsule and enhances stability of the glenohumeral joint by allowing a maximal amount of congruity between the head of the humerus and the glenoid fossa (Hellwig & Perrin, 1991). Because greater stability and increased comfort are important factors to consider when strength-testing or rehabilitating the shoulder, the scapular plane should be the preferred position.

 

 

External rotation in the plane of the scapula

 
Studies have also shown that external rotation within the plane of the scapula is more beneficial in terms of the amount of torque produced during concentric and eccentric contractions. The study done by Hellwig and Perrin demonstrated that assessing isokinetic strength of the shoulder internal and external rotators in the scapular plane changes the peak torque to body weight ratios for concentric external rotation. They found external rotation peak torque to body weight ratio values to be significantly higher in the plane of the scapula than in the frontal plane (Hellwig & Perrin, 1991). This correlates with the previous finding of increasing the length-tension relationship when one is within the scapular plane, thus increasing the amount of torque and muscle force produced. The table below illustrates the degree of muscle activation during external rotation in several different positions:

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 9.25.02 AM

The table above demonstrates 3 of the 4 rotator cuff muscles and deltoid muscles that are activated during external rotation and abduction. Here we can see that performing external rotation while standing and in the scapular plane at 45˚ abduction shows the infraspinatus and teres minor being the most active, when compared to the supraspinatus, middle deltoid, and posterior deltoid (Andrews, Escamilla, & Yamashiro, 2009).

 

This is due to the role that the infraspinatus performs during glenohumeral abduction. At about 70˚, the humeral head becomes depressed by the infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis to allow the humeral head to clear the acromion process. At 115˚, the humeral head is externally rotated by the infraspinatus and teres minor in order to clear the greater tuberosity of the humerus under the acromial arch.

 

Rhythmic stabilization in the plane of the scapula vs outside of the plane of the scapula: Is it still beneficial?

 

Rhythmic stabilization movements are short, rapid movements in an acute area performed for a short period of time, i.e., 10 seconds. These movements can be used to enhance shoulder function, as they improve neuromuscular control, proprioception, and dynamic stabilization. Physiologically speaking, these exercise drills facilitate agonist/antagonist muscle co-contractions, which allows for efficient coactivation to occur. This restores the balance in the force couples of the shoulder joint, and thus enhancing joint congruency and joint compression (Townsend et al, 1991). Research has shown that rhythmic stabilization movements performed in the plane of the scapula, and at the end-range external rotation positions can greatly benefit the shoulder complex, especially for the overhead throwing athlete who is either recovering from injury, or who is preventing injury in the first place. In saying this, rhythmic stabilization exercises performed in different planes can be beneficial for the injury prevention of any athlete, as different angles though the various possible ranges of motion can be targeted and improved on (Wilk et al, 2002).

 

 

References
 
Durall, Chris J., Robert C. Manske, and George J. Davies. “Avoiding Shoulder Injury From
Resistance Training.” Strength & Conditioning Journal 23.5 (2001): 10.
 
Escamilla, R. F., Yamashiro, K., Paulos, L., & Andrews, J. R. (2009). Shoulder muscle activity
and function in common shoulder rehabilitation exercises. Sports medicine, 39(8), 663-685.
 
Hellwig, E.V. & Perrin, D.H. (1991). A comparison of two positions for assessing shoulder
rotator peak torque: the traditional frontal plane versus the plane of the scapula. Isokinetics and Exercise Science, 1, 1-5.
 
Johnston, T. B. (1937). The movements of the shoulder joint: A plea for the use of the plane
of the scapula as the plane of reference for movements occurring at the
humero‐scapular joint. British Journal of Surgery, 25(98), 252-260.
 
Paine, R., & Voight, M. L. (2013). THE ROLE OF THE SCAPULA. International Journal of
Sports Physical Therapy, 8(5), 617–629.
 
Starkey, Chad, Sara D. Brown, Jeffrey L. Ryan, and Chad Starkey.Examination of Orthopedic
and Athletic Injuries. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis, 2010. Print.
 
Wilk, K. E., Meister, K., & Andrews, J. R. (2002). Current concepts in the rehabilitation of the
overhead throwing athlete. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 30(1), 136-151.

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Success on the Court!

  |   Injury Prevention and Care, Performance Training, Photos, Video   |   No comment

Congrats, boys, on a tremendous win! Physically and mentally you outperformed an elite opponent.

 

Paris led all scorers with 21 points and a major spark in the second half while Ivan hit the game winner with 0.8 to play. See article below and gain some insight into the leading scorers training ingredients.

 

 

#repostmonday @chefboyparis #athlete #basketball #oakland #soldiers #dreamvision #ASPEED #ASPnation

A video posted by AccelerateSP (@acceleratesp) on

 

In this resistance based power protocol we take between 40% and 60% of Paris’s max resisted sprint capability and apply for short/moderate bouts for long durations. The key is that the athlete can maintain that pace throughout the entire session with the HR in the appropriate ranges during the work/rest portions of the session. In this case Paris was running with 25lbs of resistance at a speed of 9+mph for bouts of 10 seconds with 50 seconds of rest. His hard work and perseverance has served him well!

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Drew “probably felt a little too good”

  |   Performance Training, Photos, Video   |   No comment

Always good to see our friends doing well! Looking forward to the season! Scroll through the article below and gain some insight into a small piece of his off-season training at ASP.

 

 

thumbnail-1
Drew setting up for some core elasticity work with our Split Stance Side High Throw

 

START
– Split stance with feet hip width apart side facing wall
– Head, shoulders, hips, feet all facing perpendicular to rebound wall.
– Shift arms laterally toward outside shoulder
– Outside arm level with shoulders

EXECUTE
– Lead hand is supporting underneath Medball and throw hand is behind Medball.
– Drive with full extension of throwing arm, maintaining elbow at shoulder height.
– Hips stay stable and side facing while rotation comes thoracically
– Repeat for prescribed repetitions.

FOCUS
– Rotate thoracically to throw Medball
– Drive off outside leg
– Maintain throwing elbow level with shoulders
– Thoracic rotation
– Hips and shoulders remain side facing rebound wall at end of motion

GOAL
– Upper body elasticity
– Upper body power

 

Keep up the good work!

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Shear Knee Forces in Weightlifting Exercises

  |   Injury Prevention and Care, Performance Training, Video   |   No comment

Introduction

 

All athletes are subject to various amounts of momentum, force, and overall impact on the knee. It is paramount that athletes build stable, synergistic, and efficient levers up and down the kinematic chain when engaging in their preferred sport.   Throughout the course of this article we will look at five different exercises; the dynamic squat, the barbell squat, the power squat, the front squat, and the lunge. With each exercise, we will discover the differences in shear and compressive forces on the tibiofemoral joint and the patellofemoral joint, as well as take a look at knee kinetics that occur during the different phases of each exercise. From the studies presented below, we can present and rank the following exercises in order from most stressful knee forces to least stressful knee forces:

 

1. Lunge

2. Front squat

3. Power squat

4. Barbell squat (unrestricted)

5. Barbell squat (restricted)

6. Dynamic squat

 

The Dynamic Squat

 

There are several studies that look at diverse exercise movements that involve flexion and extension of the knee joint. One such study involves examining knee biomechanics during a dynamic squat exercise, as illustrated in the picture below:

convexMoment Arm

 

In this study, the researchers examined tibiofemoral shear and compressiveforces, patellofemoral compressive forces, knee muscle activity, and knee stability relative to athletic performance, injury potential, and rehabilitation (Escamilla, 2001). Their results showed several things; first, that there were low to moderate posterior shear forces restrained primarily by the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), that were generated throughout the squat for all knee flexion angles. Second, there were low anterior shear forces restrained primarily by the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), that were generated between 0 and 60° of knee flexion. And third, patellofemoral compressive forces and tibiofemoral compressive and shear forces progressively increased as the knees flexed and decreased as the knees extended, reaching peak values near maximum knee flexion (Escamilla, 2001). Hence, training the squat in the functional range between 0 and 50° knee flexion may be appropriate for many knee rehabilitation patients, because knee forces were minimum in the functional range. The Barbell Squat (Back)   As mentioned above, the previous study only looked at the knee biomechanics during a bodyweight dynamic squat. However, even with just a normal bodyweight squat we can see that there are still compressive and shear forces acting on the knee joint. Here we will take a look at another research study that observed the effect of knee position on hip and knee torques during a barbell squat. ABTo be more specific, this study examined joint kinetics that occurs when forward displacement of the knees are restricted, versus when such movement is not restricted. The methods included seven weight-trained men who averaged about 27.9 years, being videotaped while performing two variations of parallel barbell squats (Fry, Schilling & Smith, 2003). The first variation performed was permitting the knees to move anteriorly past the toes (unrestricted), and the second variation performed was providing a wooden barrier to prevent the knees from moving anteriorly past the toes (restricted), as shown in the picture below: The results of the unrestricted squat showed that knee torque for all participants averaged about 150.1 N·m with a mean standard deviation of 50.8 N·m. Hip torque for the unrestricted squat was 28.2 N·m with a mean standard deviation of 65.0 N·m. The results of the restricted squat showed that knee torque was 117.3 N·m with a mean standard deviation of 34.2 N·m. Hip torque for restricted squat was 302.7 N·m with a mean standard deviation of 71.2 N·m. The restricted squats also produced more anterior lean of the trunk and shank and a greater internal angle at the knee and ankles. The illustration below provides a more detailed description of the torque produced at the knee and hip during both variations of barbell squats:   This study’s experimental studies demonstrate that although restricting forward movement of the knees may minimize stress on the knees, it is likely that forces are inappropriately transferred to the hips and low-back region. Thus, appropriate joint loading during this barbell exercise may require the knees to move slightly past the toes while the center of gravity remain directly above the midfoot.UnvsRES

 

The Power Squat, Front Squat, and Lunge

 

A final study done on knee forces looked to analyze intersegmental forces at the tibiofemoral joint and muscle activity during the power squat, the front squat, and the lunge, as illustrated in the picture below. The results for this study showed that maximal posterior shear of 495 N (±72) occurred with the lunge at 103° of knee flexion. During the power squat and the front squat, the posterior shear forces were the same, with a maximum of 295N (±32) at 93° and 295N (±33) at 97° of knee flexion (Growney, Lutz, Meglan & Stewart, 1996). Joint compression forces of 500-600 N remained relatively constant throughout the descent and ascent phases of the power squat and the front squat. The lunge produced the highest joint compression, reaching a maximum of 716 N (±70) at 76° (±25°) of knee flexion. A rapid increase in joint compression during the lunge occurred with the foot strike when stepping forward with the right leg, but the force remained relatively constant during the descent and ascent phases of the exercise (Growney, Lutz, Meglan & Stewart, 1996). The means of maximal extension moments were similar for all exercises, measuring 113 N-m (±23) for the lunge, 89 N-m (±12) for the front squat, and 86 N-m(±13)for the power squat at terminal flexion. Significant differences between the exercises were most notable when the knee flexion angle approached its peak.

 

In particular, the lunge exercise was found to have significantly higher posterior shear forces (tibia force on femur) than both the power squat and front squat at several exercise events (Growney, Lutz, Meglan & Stewart, 1996). These differences appeared when the knee was flexed at 60° in the descent phase, 90° in both the ascent and descent phases, and in the maximal magnitude of the shear force. Similarly, higher maximal net extension moments about the knee were observed in the lunge than in either the power squat or front squat. Significantly higher net extension moments in the lunge compared with the other two exercises were observed when the knee was flexed at 90° while in the descent phase (Growney, Lutz, Meglan & Stewart, 1996). The lunge net extension moments were significantly higher than the front squat moments at 60° of knee flexion during descent.   To summarize, the mean tibiofemoral shear force was posterior throughout the cycle of all three exercises. The magnitude of the posterior shear forces increased with knee flexion during the descent phase of each exercise. Joint compression forces remained constant throughout the descent and ascent phases of the power squat and the front squat. A posterior tibiofemoral shear force throughout the entire cycle of all three exercises in these subjects with anterior cruciate ligament-intact knees indicates that the potential loading on the injured or reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament is not significant. The magnitude of the posterior tibiofemoral shear force is not likely to be detrimental to the injured or reconstructed posterior cruciate ligament. These conclusions assume that the resultant anteroposterior shear force corresponds to the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament forces.  

 

Conclusion  

 

Throughout the course of this paper we have looked at five different exercises; the dynamic squat, the barbell squat, the power squat, the front squat, and the lunge. With each exercise, we have discovered the differences in shear and compressive forces on the tibiofemoral joint and the patellofemoral joint, as well as taken a look at knee kinetics that occur during the different phases of each exercise. From the studies presented above, we can present and rank the above exercises in order from most stressful knee forces to least stressful knee forces:

 

1. The lunge

2. The front squat

3. The power squat

4. The (unrestricted) barbell squat

5. The (restricted) barbell squat

6. The dynamic squat

 

It is important to take into account the stresses you are loading the knee with and incorporating exercises that may be more conducive to athletes’ longevity and injury prevention in regards to tibiofemoral or patellofemoral dysfuntion or related symptoms. That said be creative, empirically driven, and subjective in your approach to practicing or prescribing core and lower body strength exercises:

 

 

 

References

 

An, K.N., Growney, E.S., Lutz, G.E., Meglan, D.A. & Stuart, M.J. (1996). Comparison of intersegmental tibiofemoral joint forces and muscle activity during various closed kinetic chain exercises. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 24, (6). 792-799.

 

Escamilla, R.F. (2001). Knee biomechanics of the dynamic squat exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 33, (1). 127–141. Fry, A.C., Smith, J.C. & Schilling, B.K. (2003).

 

Effect of knee position on hip and knee torques during the barbell squat. J. Strength Cond. Res. 17, (4). 629–633.

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Improving Sprint Mechanics

  |   Performance Training, Video   |   No comment

Speed advantage is a sought-over quality for nearly all athletes, often the final determiner between a win or a loss. Today, we’re going to a deeper, science-driven look at how to gain speed advantage by analyzing the kinematics (joint angles) of sprinting.

 

Speed can be calculated as stride length times stride frequency. Oftentimes, athletes try to increase their stride length by extending at the knee and having their foot land in front of their center of gravity (their hips). Not only does the athlete put themselves at risk for hamstring injuries, but he or she also increases braking forces and robs him or herself of momentum that could be used to carry forward. The athlete should strive to maintain a neutral pelvis so that they can drive the knee up to 90 degrees and forcefully plant the foot directly under or slightly behind their center of gravity.

 

Grant, a rugby player for SF Golden Gate Rugby Team of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, demonstrates a great job of keeping a neutral spine and having his plantar foot land directly under his hips. However, the foot should be dorsiflexed (toes pointed up) as it makes contact with the ground in order to further minimize braking forces and elicit a stretch reflex. Grant lands plantar flexed (toes down) on the third, fourth, and fifth stride.

 

A few things that need to change in order enhance sprint form are:

 

(1) increasing his forward lean

(2) improving arm swing mechanics

(3) increasing stride length without compromising foot position

 

The max velocity phase of the sprint should still feel like a “controlled fall.” There should be between a 2-4 degree lean at the torso. For Grant’s last four strides, he should look to decrease the angle between his torso and thigh from 108-106 degrees to around 100 degrees by both leaning forward at the hip and lifting the knees higher. Grant is limiting forward momentum by being too upright during the max velocity phase of the sprint.

 

There is slight elbow extension during the arm swing during flight phase of every stride. The arms should keep bent at 90 degrees. Powerfully moving the arms about the shoulder while keeping the elbows bent should help contribute to increased stride frequency.

 

Grant is transitioning from playing in ruby 15s to rugby 7s and is currently in his pre-season phase of training. Rugby 7s is a much faster paced league and will require a strong speed and endurance foundation. In order to prepare him for the season, we are going to primarily focus on improving his sprint form and technique to increase efficiency.

 

As training progresses, Grant will look to increase stride length by increasing range of motion and flexibility of the hamstring group. Considering his body type, Grant should try to increase his stride length from 80 to at least 90 degrees.

 

Ultimately, the little details are what make for profound success.  In a world where one tenth of a second is the difference between getting tackled and scoring, we’re here to fine-tune the details.

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