060818 Building Athletic Movement-part3

060818 Building Athletic Movement

Physical athleticism requires precise mastery and powerful execution of specific sport movement/motor system patterns. In order to accomplish these multifaceted demands on the body each of the interacting sequential muscle groups within the kinematic chain and kinematic system have to be functioning and producing their peak tension at the exact right time.

In the beginning stages of learning a new skill or exercise the dynamic elements are weak, which makes the law of facilitation immediately relevant. This law states that each time a movement is performed wrong it becomes easier to repeat and harder to execute the right pattern in the future. With each repetition the movement becomes more difficult to correct. Fortunately these early mistakes don’t have long lasting effects on the system-if they are continually modified in closer approximations of the exact movement.

As the pattern becomes closer to perfect the body automatically finds more effective ways to reconcile the discrepancies of the motor unit’s interrelationships. These changes are the result of differentiations in, and increases within the emphasis of neuromuscular output at the varying times necessary to produce maximum power when needed in the chain of events.

It is at this time in the training sequence that performance of correct repetitions begins to take hold. The relationship between the movement strength amplitude curve and the execution time decreases indicating approaching movement perfection.

Once this takes place the process is complete and the movement is performed technically correct with little to no wasted energy.

Summary:

Continual training in the techniques of your sport at the closest equivalent to perfection requires constant attention to the detailed execution of each movement pattern.

Fundamentals of special strength training in sport, Y. V. Verkhoshansky

300718 Building Athletic Movement-part 2

300718 Building Athletic Movement-part 2

Physical athleticism requires precise mastery and powerful execution of specific sport movement/motor system patterns. In order to accomplish these multifaceted demands on the body each of the interacting sequential muscle groups within the kinematic chain and kinematic system have to be functioning and producing their peak tension at the exact right time.

Each exercise or sport movement is formed by and evolves from a cause and effect relationship with the individual elements making up the pattern. The line of force which is developed to successfully complete these movements depends on the efficiency of the neuromuscular system. The relationship between these mechanisms is constantly changing in an effort to find the most balanced response to the required movement pattern. Meanwhile additions to the dynamic element are being added to the equation.

This latter represents the ‘rigid framework’ i.e. the determination of the spatial time parameters and the working effect of the movement. It is this dynamic concept that is vitally important to the athlete and their coach.

The dynamics of the patterns depend on the interaction with the sport implement; in the case of the lifter, the loaded barbell of dumbbell. This interaction is further divided into concentration and the dynamic reaction to the load.

Expanding on this interactive process leads one to the conclusion that we are not just discussing the physical expressions of the movement but also the process that evolves during the active accentuation of the motor unit’s responses to the external stimuli, i.e. the load.

230718 Building Athletic Movement

230718 Building Athletic Movement

Physical athleticism requires precise mastery and powerful execution of specific sport movement/motor system patterns. In order to accomplish these multifaceted demands on the body each of the interacting sequential muscle groups within the kinematic chain and kinematic system have to be functioning and producing their peak tension at the exact right time.

Acknowledgment of the forgoing leads to these observations:

  • The body determines the most rational activation of the individual kinematic chains.
  • The individual parts that make up the chain will be integrated into this arrangement in a high powered flowing state of continuity.
  • Perfection in training continuously alters the organism’s responses.

While the successful intelligent athlete trains and continues to develop more highly defined skills the body is adapting by forming complex engrams within the neuromuscular system. These neural changes make major contributions to the rapid and fluid movements that are a necessary part of all sports.

Each exercise or sport movement is formed by and evolves from a cause and effect relationship with the individual elements making up the pattern. The line of force which is developed to successfully complete these movements depends on the efficiency of the neuromuscular system. The relationship between these mechanisms is constantly changing in an effort to find the most balanced response to the required movement pattern. Meanwhile additions to the dynamic element are being added to the equation.

110618 Balancing Out Your Exercise Program By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A., CSCS

110618 Balancing Out Your Exercise Program By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A., CSCS

Weight training helps build strong bones.

Bone density responds directly to increases in intensities of load and site specifically to the greater pressures required to move the load. Adaptations take place within the structures of the bone that make it more resistant to the imposed loads and thus stronger.

Women in particular need this load bearing weight on their long bones, the spine and hips to stave off and help prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis from occurring. Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that progressively decreases the bone density which in time leaves them weakened and vulnerable to fracture.

Flexibility

Getting stronger helps in other ways too. The strength to recover from a slip may prevent a bone damaging fall. Postural muscles that are strengthened through weight training inevitably lead to improved posture and a reduced potential of lower back problems. Even though strength training is high on the list of maintaining a strong fit body other pieces of the equation are important too. For instance being flexible enough to tie your shoes or even scratch your back is an important part of living a full and healthy lifestyle.

Work the joints normal range of motion each day by following a stretching program. But be cautioned that static stretching performed before a strength training session has been found to lower the power output by as much as 8%. If you are a sprinter, thrower or recreational handball or tennis player stay away from these at the start of your activity. The proper place for a static stretch is at the end of the workout when the muscles are warm and receptive to change. Doing so before hand, is an invitation to injury.

Find a good stretching book; read up on the proper way to stretch and start applying these to your exercise program. Brad Walker’s ‘Stretching Handbook’ or Bob Anderson’s‘Stretching’ are two of the premier ones on the market and each one has stood the test of time. Even though flexibility is important it is not the end of the line. Maintaining your balance becomes harder as we age.

020418 Sport and lifestyle activity-range of motion exercising

020418 Sport and lifestyle activity-range of motion exercising

Your joints and muscles are meant to function within standardized degrees of movement, commonly referred to as the range of motion (ROM). The stronger you are within these ranges, the better protected you will be in preventing injuries from occurring. Therefore when doing your exercise routine keep in mind the following two guidelines:

  1. You gain the most strength within the range of motion (ROM) at which you exercise.
  2. The smaller the range of motion you in the joint, the less will be the carry over strength throughout the rest of the movement.

The basis of every quality strength training or fitness program relies, in part, on these two premises. As an example, let’s look at the squat while explaining these principles.

Many lifters do short range squats, known as high squats, in the gym. They get into a machine or in rare cases under a bar and drop down a few inches and call it good. In many instances this isn’t even to a parallel position, let alone below parallel where they should be before starting back up again. Depending on the load of the bar or on the machine, strength may be increased within this small range of motion but its unlikely this will happen.

This range of movement is too little and does not support normal living activities such as sitting down in a chair and then getting back up. If the strength is not developed within a range that is vital to living an active lifestyle then it is not useful. This group of fitness enthusiasts would be better served by going deeper in their squats, thereby getting a transfer of useable strength into their daily lives. This naturally leads in to the second principle.

An individual or strength athlete will become stronger when training the full range of motion. This expands the strength curve and transfers more useable muscle activity across greater degrees of the joint angle. Greater degree angles of strength protect the joint from injury, especially at the far ranges of motion.

The take home message is don’t cut yourself short with limited range of motion exercises.

261217 Is your grip width destroying your shoulders?

261217 Is your grip width destroying your shoulders?

Where you grip the bar may be the best predictor of how you will injure your shoulders. Research in England has determined that certain widths related to a person’s body size may increase your chance of becoming injured while performing the bench press. A closer look at the anatomical structure of the shoulder may help to explain why this is such a common occurrence.

The shoulder, unlike the hip joint which is a true ball and socket joint, is a semi and shallow ball and socket joint. This means the skeletal bones directly involved in the bench press motion are not mechanically secure. Unlike the hip, the integrity of the shoulder primarily relies on the muscles, ligaments and tendons to keep it intact and not the joint structures. Incidentally, in some literature the shoulder is not even considered a true joint. I consider the shoulder as a joint and as such will continue to refer to it as one.

One of the main primary structures within the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint. When bench pressing this part of the shoulder supports the weight and is subjected to the constant heavy loads of the active lifter.

While benching wide with the upper arms at or near perpendicular to the upper torso the shoulders are placed into external rotation. According to the research ‘ninety degrees of abduction combined with end of range external rotation has been defined as the “at risk position” that may increase the risk of shoulder injuries.’

Now comes the pay attention part of this article. These research findings have clearly shown that benching with a hand grip greater than or equal to ‘2’ bi-acromial widths-the distance between the acromion processes, i.e. shoulder width, is destructive to your shoulders. For the ease of conversation the bi-acromial width is basically measured at the ends of both of the collar bones.

In fact a grip width greater than 1.5 bi-acromial width increases the torque on the shoulder by 1.5 times when compared to that of a narrow grip less than 1.5 bi-acromial width.

For those of you who think that taking up a wide grip on the bar (100%-190% biacromial width) gives you additional pounds you are exactly right; it does. You may realize a slight gain of less than 5% total to your maximum with these extreme grip widths but over the long haul the cost to your shoulders may be prohibitive. At the outer ranges of width the recruitment and activation of your pectoralis major is nearly insignificant in comparison to the narrow and safer grip.

When using the narrower grip positions your triceps brachii are more involved thus making this an ideal triceps building exercise while at the same time saving your elbows from potential damage.

Summary: Constantly bench pressing with a wide grip on the bar is a prelude to an eventual shoulder injury. This is a classic case of risk versus benefit; is it worth your shoulder health to be able to bench a few more pounds?

NSCA Strength and Conditioning Journal October 2007. The affect of grip width on bench press performance and risk of injury by Green, C. M. and Comfort, P.

120917 Engram development; the vital component to success

120917 Engram development; the vital component to success

Exercise technique is something most professional trainers preach. But does anyone ever wonder why? After all it is common knowledge that more weight can often times be lifted if it’s ‘cheated’ up, and more reps can be performed if some of them are ‘cheated’ at the end of the set. So what is the big deal about technical proficiency? The big deal is this: ability, longevity, and injury free movements result from learning and practicing good habits.

Instructing and practicing proper form in all aspects of exercise will enhance an individual’s ability in the long term. Technically correct exercise movement patterns decrease the risk of injury due to poor body mechanics, and improper muscle substitutions.

‘Practice makes perfect’ only if it is truly perfect, consistently, time after time. With proper instructions from the coach/trainer, the activity should become more accurate as the athlete makes the adjustments in form. The effort used to complete the movement tends to decrease and there is “less chance of overflow to the wrong muscles”(1) in the process. However, this pattern must be repeated many times to establish the neuromuscular pathways.

A technically correct and repetitive exercise movement effectively develops a pattern of movement called an ‘Engram’. By definition, “an Engram is an effect or performance that is imposed upon the Central Nervous System through repetition.”(2) The advantage of developing these pathways translates into the activity becoming an automatic unconscious process.

Exercising under a heavy load without having to think about ‘how to lift’ allows the subconscious to take over when the going gets rough. The athlete no longer has to think where their feet are placed, how to begin the move, when to breathe, which muscles to tighten and which ones to loosen in order to make the lift.

It is automatic IF the Engram has been previously developed.

(1) Therapeutic Exercise for Athletic Injuries Houglum. P.A. Human Kinetics 2001

(2) Ibid