Posts Tagged ‘functional training’

RECLINE ROW  By Adam Brush – Performance coach at IHP and creator of FiveToolBaseball.blogspot.com

One of my favorite exercises that strengthens the posterior chain musculature, responsible to decelerate the arm during a throw, is the RECLINE ROW.


This exercise creates back strength, shoulder stability, core stiffness, and even grip strength (when modalities such as ropes are incorporated) all of which are important to the baseball player. In addition, maintaining proper body alignment requires the ability to isometrically sustain hip extension along with glute activation which encourages lengthening of the hip flexors which is important for creating healthy hamstrings.

Stay Strong!

Out Train the Game

 Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Chris
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Great post by my good friend Adam Brush

Just so we’re on the same page, baseball is a rotational sport. So while recently looking over a collegiate baseball summer training program I couldn’t help but notice Olympic lifts were included. Really?
Olympic lifting is a sport in and of itself that includes lifts such as the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. These lifts require a tremendous amount of technique and demand a high level of skill specific to the sport of Olympic lifting.
So why are these movements/exercises finding their way into the world of baseball training? I know, I know Olympic lifts can create powerful hips; and they do…in the sagittal plane of motion – which is not the motion dominated in baseball. Baseball is dominated thru the transverse/rotational plane. I’ll say it again – from hitting, throwing and running – baseball is a rotational sport requiring rotational power training.
Structurally, Olympic lifts can create abnormal and high levels of joint stress – particularly thru the shoulders and wrists- (let’s not forget about the shear force that can be placed on the knees). I think we would all agree that the knees, shoulders and wrists are rather important to a ball player, and we wouldn’t want to risk an off-season injury.
I’m not against Olympic lifts – I MIGHT incorporate them(MAYBE) if an athlete has a good base and understanding of Olympic lifting. However, I haven’t seen too many baseball players having exposure, or even master these lifts. Therefore I ask myself how important is it to teach and incorporate a potentially “risky” movement in order to develop sagittal plane hip power when baseball is dominated by rotational hip power. In other words what’s the reward:risk ratio?
Now, Im not saying we shouldnt do any sagittal plane power training. I just believe that in order to save the shoulders, wrists and knees a safer alternative, such as box jumps, can be performedBUT IN CONJUNCTION with rotational power training. Furthermore, you may find that you are working with limited time so wouldnt you rather spend your time training for baseball than teaching exercises specific to the sport of Olympic lifting.
Go hard in the yard.

Life is a sport,

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and dont forget to rotate!)

Chris

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My good friend Adam wrote this on his site:  fivetoolbaseball.blogspot.com.
Even though the article is written for baseball the principles are applicable to any activity and to life in general!
As many baseball purists are aware, baseball players are evaluated utilizing the measuring stick known as the five tools: hitting for average, hitting for power, running speed, arm strength, defensive skills. Complimentary to these five tools, are a series of 5 training protocols collectively known as ‘Training to the 5th Power’ (T5). Based upon the explosive and power nature of baseball, I believe that by following the five training protocols will transfer off-field training to on-field performance.

THE PROTOCOLS ARE:
(1) Train standing;Training from standing positions trains the movements unique to baseball along with the respective muscle groups. Baseball players rarely rely on strength from sitting or lying down positions;yet exercises performed from such positions continue to dominate training programs. Utilizing modalities such as bands/cables from standing positions can target the same muscle groups typically trained from sitting or lying positions all the while training movements beneficial to baseball.

(2) Train with free weights; Free weights allow for multiple ranges of motion and multiple planes of motion(movement). Training with free weights, such as dumbells, allows for a bit more freedom of movment, unilateral training which can identify muscular imbalances between limbs,and builds neuromuscular efficiency (coordination of muscle groups). In addition, training with other free weight objects, such as medicine balls, provides power development. The ability to toss a free weight, such as a medicine ball, in a manner similar to hitting increases power potential of the muscles involved; making free weight objects superior to machines in replicating and increasing power.

(3) Train multi-joints – a.k.a compound movements; Movements involving more than one joint are referred to as compound movements. Multiple joint training allows for greater loads to be trained, therefore greater muscle recruitment, leading to greater strength development. I cant think of any movement in baseball that doenst involve the total body. Thus compound movements can deliver fluidity for on field performance…more so than single joint movements. In addition if your athlete needs to drop a few pounds then multi-joint, baseball specific movements can assist with increasing caloric expenditure.

(4)Train explosively; Slow and controlled movements are great for developing a certain level of strength. However, most baseball movements, even though strength based, are just as dependent on speed and power.Power can be defined as: POWER = WORK / TIME or POWER = FORCE x SPEED

Notice how power is dependent on speed. And the speed component explains the importance of explosive training for developing on-field, optimal baseball power.

(5) Functional Training (FT);Functional training is based upon training movements and not body parts. FT trains multiple planes of motions, in unstable environments, at baseball specific speeds. Basically, FT is “train like you play”. Functional Training supports the other T5 principles: Training in a standing position is functional for on-field activities; Training with free weights allows functional training along any plane and at any speed; Multiple joint, compound movement training is the way baseball is played, therefore functional. Much of how baseball is performed is power dominated, so training explosively becomes functional.

All in all implementing the T5 training guidelines are ideal for building overall baseball performance. However, like other training concepts,thereare exceptions in exchange for other effective results. For example, slow, isolated work in stable positions (i.e. lying down,) just might be necessary for the athlete needing a bit more muscle (hypertrophy). Take special note that although bodybuilders look great, I dont recommend an all exclusive use of bodybuilding methodologies for improving on field, baseball performance. The question which would you rather train for “all go” or “all show”?

Regardless of the type of training incorporated into your program, the majority should fall within T5.

As Adam always says:  Go hard in the yard!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

 

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By Michael Rizk, CPT, ART  

 

Have you ever witnessed a relationship gone sour? The telltale signs are significant, but many  

times the root cause stems from poor communication. There is one particular area of the body  

that seems to get more press than a short‐lived Hollywood hook‐up. You’ve got it – the lumbar  

spine (LS) is likely the most injured, dysfunctional, and (supposedly) weakest link of the body.    

  In relation to the rest of the body, the LS is active in nearly every functional task performed … it  

resides at the crossroads of the body. For that reason, it is important for the rest of the body to  

communicate with the low back to let it know how important it is, how much it is needed, and  

how much it is appreciated for all it does.    

  What is meant by communication with the LS? Great question! Communication refers to the  

ability of all our joints to feed triplane motion to the LS creating triplane stability. A lack of  

triplane  mostability  (mobility  plus  stability)  can  shut  down  the  phone  lines  feeding  

proprioceptively rich information to the LS, thus creating undesirable chain reactions.  

  By design, the LS facilitates flexion and extension, allows lateral flexion, and almost inhibits  

transverse plane motion. The small amount of transverse plane motion may in fact be the most  

important motion allowing the LS to be the transverse plane transmitter of forces between the  

upper and lower extremities.   

  To simplify motion, we consider two phases: loading and unloading. Loading is the preparation  

of the task and unloading is the performance of the task. Using the golf swing as an example,  

the backswing is the load and the downswing / follow through is the unload. The moment of  

time between the load and unload is what we call the transformational zone (TZ). The TZ is  

where  motion  is  decelerated  and  transformed  into  a  concentric  production  of  force.  

Understanding what happens just as we enter and exit the TZ will allow us to effectively assess  

our patients and clients.  

  I  recently  assessed  a  57‐year‐young  right‐handed  golfer  with  right  low  back  pain,  which  

occurred during the end range of his back swing just prior to transition. His approach to me was  

simple, “So I heard you can fix my back.” With a humble smile, I explained how the body works  

relative  to  the  intended  task.  I  shared  with  him  how  a  lack  of  three‐dimensional  motion  

(communication) at any segment will become excessive compensatory motion elsewhere.    

 While his assessment started with a gait evaluation, I kept in mind that gait and golf create very  

different chain reactions in the TZ.  During gait, the pelvis and trunk move opposite each other,  

and in golf, they move in the same direction. However, I immediately noticed an inability to  

load the left side of his body during gait, which was evident by a rough transition from his right  

to left foot, as well as an early heel rise on the left foot. After viewing this global glitch, I had to  

become a biomechanical detective and get more specific.  

 To  further  assess  his  left  ankle  and  left  hip,  I  had  him  perform  a  three‐dimensional  balance  

reach  matrix.  He  lacked  balance  when  I  asked  him  to  reach  in  the  frontal  and  transverse  planes  

from  his  left  foot.  To  create  stability,  I  placed  him  in  the  TRUEStretch™  in  a  backswing  posture  

and had him perform his balance reaches from this golf‐specific position. Lo and behold, he said  

“Wow,  it  feels  like  my  ankle  doesn’t  want  to  turn  that  way!”  He  continued  to  say,  “I  wonder  if  

the left ankle sprain I had playing college basketball has anything to do with this?”    

Next,  I  positioned  him  in  his  backswing  posture  to  his  threshold  of  success  (meaning  prior  to  

experiencing  any  pain  or  compensation)  and  used  my  hands  as  a  driver  to  facilitate  frontal  and  

transverse  plane  subtalar  joint  (STJ)  motions.  To  balance  his  new  mobility  with  stability,  we  

performed  lateral  and  rotational  lunges  with  three‐dimensional  arm  drivers  specific  to  the  golf  

TZ.  This  strategy  facilitates  proprioceptive  communication  between  his  left  STJ  and  right  LS.  

Within  one  week,  my  client  was  enjoying  a  pain  free  backswing  with  added  yardage  and  accuracy.  Needless‐to

say, we were both happy. Even though my client came to me with low back pain, I am led to believe his lack of frontal and  

transverse  plane  motions  at  his  left  STJ  was,  at  least,  in  part  the  CAUSE  of  his  LS  dysfunction.  If  

we  take  a  snapshot  of  the  backswing,  we  can  see  the  following:  right  trunk  rotation,  right  hip  

internal rotation, left hip external rotation, right ankle inversion, and left ankle eversion. Frontal  

plane  eversion  of  the  left  STJ  transforms  into  rotation  of  the  left  limb;  therefore,  a  lack  of  that  

motion  must  be  made  up  somewhere  else  in  the  kinetic  chain.  With  the  nominal  amount  of  LS 

rotation available there, is not much room to compensate at the LS before dysfunction and pain are experienced.  

With  an  understanding  of  Applied  Functional  Science  (AFS)  and  chain  reaction  biomechanics  we  

can  effectively  and  efficiently  keep  the  LS  healthy  and  functional  with  improved communication.  

Oh how I love function!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By David Westerman LMT, FAFS  

Are  we  utilizing  “authentic”  principles  of  Function  when  designing  our  strength  and  

power programs?  

Is  there  a  special  population  that  might  be  missing  two  of  the  most  important  bio‐ 

motor abilities in their training and rehabilitation programs?  

As  a  former  collegiate  and  professional  strength  and  conditioning  coach,  strength  

and power were (and are) the two most emphasized bio‐motor abilities.   

Take,  for  example,  the  “power  clean”  in  an  athletic  weight  room.  This  is  one  of  the  

most  utilized  exercises  in  “power”  training.  The  typical  strategy  is  to  put  as  much  

weight  on  the  bar  and  successfully  lift  it  one  to  four  times.  Let’s  see  if  we  can  use  

part  of  our  litmus  test  of  “authentic”  strength  and  power  principles  to  better  

understand its carryover to three‐dimensional Function.  

  Is  it  three­dimensional? 

  The  power  clean  is  a  sagittal  plane‐dominate  

movement.  Most  activities  require  three‐dimensional  movement  in  all  

muscles and joints. 

  Is  it  specific  to  activity?  

Considering  most  sports  and  activities  have  a  

horizontal component to load, the power clean is mostly a vertical load.  

  What  is  the  neural  input  and  range  involved?  

If  the  weight  is  too  heavy  

and  we  go  through  long  ranges,  we  may  actually  slow  down  the  neural  input  

which will inhibit our power and strength transfer to activity.  

  Are  we  taking  advantage  of  the  Transformation  Zone?  

The  fact  that  

most  of  our  power  is  utilized  at  the  zone  in  which  a  direction  is  reversed  in  a  

motion needs to be considered (i.e. – plyometrics).  

Above  are  a  few  key  questions  that  we  can  use  for  any  population  or  exercise  we  

choose to work with.     

Typically  we  associate  strength  and  power  with  athletes.    However,  the  population  

that  may  need  it  the  most  is  our  senior  population.  With  the  baby‐boom  explosion,  

more  and  more  of  this  growing  population  are  getting  injured  and  becoming  more  

sedentary.  Consider  the  following  scenario  and  proposed  training  /  treatment  

approach:  

Scenario:  

A  75‐year‐old  woman  has  balance  problems  when  walking.  

Through  functional  assessments,  the  practitioner  finds  abdominal  muscles  

are  weak  and  significantly  lack  the  ability  to  move  in  all  three  planes  of  

motion.  

Potential  strategy 

:  Position  client  in  a  small  stride  position  with  the  left  leg  

forward  in  front  of  a  wall  for  support  and  as  a  target.  To  create  a  load  in  the 

abdominals  we  want  to  reach  with  the  left  shoulder  posterior  (backward)  at  

shoulder  (height)  towards  the  wall  in  a  short  range  of  motion  at  a  moderate  

to fast speed.  

Rationale: 

  This  facilitates  tri‐plane  loading  of  the  abdominals  in  the  

Transformational  Zone  of  walking  with  an  exercise  that  replicates  the  

activity,  while  creating  more  power  that  will  transform  into  better  strength       

of the entire kinetic chain by using a short (safe) range and increased speed.     

Whether  you  seek  strength  or  power,  our  strategies  and  exercises  need  to  be  based  

on “authentic” principles of Function. 

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and be functional)

Chris

By Nick Nilsson (From Charles Staley website/newsletter)

So it’s no secret that I like using equipment that offers multiple exercises. When it comes to THAT, the sandbag is one of the kings of the hill. I’ve been messing around with this thing for awhile now (you’re going to see a lot more sandbag stuff coming your way in the coming months) and it is AWESOME. I HIGHLY recommend grabbing one of these, if you don’t already have one. I have a bag filled with 70 lbs of sand. It can be used for a TON of exercises. To grab yours (a bag and filler bags make a complete set), click here. We carry them in the Staley Training Store and have some great deals on them. Going to have to get me one of the 150 pounders next, I think. Anyways, this exercise puts the “fun” back in “functional”…okay, maybe not…it really depends on how much you like really hard, unglamorous work 🙂 Me, I find this one fun.

1

Set your sandbag on the ground and kneel down on one knee in front of it. Start with your right leg forward and the bag just in front of you, like in the picture. Beng forward and slide your hands underneath the bag

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– make sure you keep your core and lower back tight – your lower back should have an arch in it. You’ll feel a great stretch in your right glute as you lean forward – most of your power is going to be coming from that right glute and from your back.

Now heave the bag up and over your left shoulder.

3

 Flop the bag down on the ground, grab it again then shoulder it again. After doing 4 or 5 reps on one side, switch legs (left leg forward now)

So many great applications for the sand bag—What a great work out!  And fun, in a sick way!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

Examining the characteristics of the human body further assists in understanding function.  This allows for better understanding of human movement for improved program design and rehabilitation programs.  For e a more depth explanation and further discussion check out my freind and colleague JC Santana’s book Functional Training; Breaking the Bonds of Traditionalism.

 The proportions of the human body are distinct from one person to another.  Therefore we all have unique movement patterns that are consistent with our strength, weaknesses and utility.

Our bodies are made to fit us.  They are a product of what “function” we have dictated for it.  That is why athletes look like athletes and couch potatoes look as they do.

The next two concepts probably have the most significance to training.

Our bodies have the ability to adapt.  This was first discovered by a Canadian endocronologist (Hans Seyle).  He was looking at the adrenal response of rats and stress.  He developed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)  We have the ability to adapt both neurologically and morphologically.  Neurologic adaptations are what allow us to gain strength minute to minute.  Its due to synchronization, rate coding and proprioception.  Whereas morphologic changes are actual increases in the actual size of the muscle (hypertrophy).  This can take 6-12 weeks.

Lastly, proprioception is the communication system for reaction and interpretation of input from the body and its surroundings.   The body/brain uses all the proprioceptive info to make a decision on how and when to perform a specific movement or task.  Remember that muscles are dumb, they rely on proprioceptive and mechanorecptor info.  Proprioceptors are also a safety mechanism to inhibit harmful forces.  I think of proprioception as the foundation to human movement.  The muscles are slaves to the brain.  Power is nothing without control.  Most people are only concerned with strength without a thought to training balance.  I like to use the analogy that i would not put them in a formula 1 race car without brakes or a steering wheel.  Brute strength in function and sport is not as important as rate of force development.  Can you utilize the strength you have at have right time in the right amount to successfully complete the task or skill?  If you cant, your 300 pound bench press or 500 lb squat is meaningless (in function/sport).

So, based on the characteristics of the human body it becomes more clear the need to train the body functionally using more life/sport specific types of exercises.  Train the body for the task it is intended for using movements and positions that closely resemble the task to react /respond to gravity, ground reaction forces and momentum.

PS…unless your goal is body building.  In that case the body building approach is still the best way.

The question to ask yourself is are you training for “show” or “go”??

Get Strong! Stay Strong!  (But do it functionally!)

Chris

 

Here is another great post from my good friend Adam from his blog: fivetoolbaseball@blogspot.com
As many baseball purists are aware, baseball players are evaluated utilizing the measuring stick known as the five tools: hitting for average, hitting for power, running speed, arm strength, defensive skills. Complimentary to these five tools, are a series of 5 training protocols collectively known as ‘Training to the 5th Power’ (T5). The protocols are: 1) train standing, 2) train with free weights, 3) train multiple joints, 4) train explosively, and 5) train “functionally. Based upon the environment and explosive speeds baseball is performed at, I believe that by following these five traning tools will transfer off-field training to on-field performance.  

(1) Train in a standing position; Training from standing positions trains baseball specific movements along with the respective muscle groups. Since baseball players rarely rely on strength from sitting or lying down positions, why are training programs still dominated with exercises performed from such positions. Utilizing modalities such as bands/cables from standing positions can target the same muscle groups typically trained in the sitting or lying positions while training movements beneficial to baseball.

 

(2) Train with free weights; Free weights can allow for multiple positions, as well as multiple ranges and planes of motion/movement. All of this movement can be tailoredor baseball specific training. Training with free weights, such as dumbells, allow a bit more freedom of movment, can identify muscular imbalances between limbs, enables unilateral training, and builds neuromuscular efficiency (coordination of muscle groups working in cooperation). In addition, training with other free weight objects, such as medicine balls, provides power development. The ability to toss a free weight, such as a medicine ball, in a manner similar to say hitting increases power potential; making free weight objects superior to machines in replicating and increasing power.  

(3) Train multi-joints – a.k.a compound movements; Movements involving more than one joint are known as compound movements. Training multiple joints allows for greater loads to be trained, thus greater muscle recruitment, thus greater strength development. I cant think of any baseball movement that doenst involve total body. As well, baseball players needing to drop a few pounds should incorporate multi-joint, baseball specific movements to assist with increasing caloric expenditure. All in all, compound movements provide the necessary fluidity for on field movements, more so than single joint isolated movements.

 


(4) Train explosively; Slow and controlled movements are great for developing technique and a certain strength training base level. However, most of baseball movements, even though strength based, are just as dependent on speed and power. Power can be defined as:
POWER = WORK / TIME or POWER = FORCE x SPEED

Notice how power is dependent on speed. And the speed component explains the importance of explosive training for developing baseball specific power for optimal on field performance.  

(5) Functional Training (FT); The main emphasis for functional training is based upon training movements and not body parts. FT encourages training in multiple planes of motions, in unstable environments, and at speeds specific to baseball. Basically, functional training is “train like you play”. In a larger scope, FT supports the other T5 principles. Training in a standing position is functional for ground based activities; Training with free weights allows functional training along any plane and at any speed; Multiple joint, compound movement, training is the way baseball is played, therefore functional. Much of how baseball is performed is power dominated, so training explosively becomes functional.

Implementing the T5 training guidelines are ideal for building overall baseball performance. However, like other training concepts, it has its exceptions and can be violated in exchange for effective results. For example, slow, isolated work in stable positions ( i.e. lying down,) might just be necessary for the hypertrophy (i.e. bodybuilding) phase for the ballplayer who needs a bit more muscle mass. Regardless of what type of training you incorporate into you program, the majority of your training should fit the T5. Please note that although bodybuilders look great, I dont recommend an all exclusive use of bodybuilding methodologies for improving on field, fucntional baseball performance. The question which would you rather train for “all go” or “all show”?

Go hard in the yard.  www.fivetoolbaseball@blogspot.com

 

Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Chris