So far in this series we’ve looked at all the major phases of building our athlete from the ground up. Today I’m going to look at one of the most important aspects and one that is a common theme throughout the training, warm-up and movement patterns.
Warm-up (all phases) - Whether it’s a lower body or upper body day, Glute(butt,ass) activation exercises must always be done. 80% of the population will have had a back problem in their lives. This is almost always do to inactive glutes caused by us being a sitting culture (work, TV, video games, computers, school).The fact that we sit all day puts stress on our small lower back muscles and de-emphasizes our hips and much stronger glute muscles. When we reactivate the glutes we teach the body to use the hips and butt as prime movers, this not only decreases lower back injuries but also dramatically increases power output as the hips are the strongest power generators in the body. When you activate the Hips and Glutes your lower back goes back to its original intent which is to brace your spine and be a transport of power rather than a power generator. Some exercises we use include but are not limited to glute bridges, X Band walks, good mornings, walking lunges etc.
We not only use our warm-up to activate our glutes but to also help groove proper motor patterns with our athletes. Proper movement for an athlete is essential to maintaining good health and performing at your best. We start with exercises that make sure that our body can understand and properly perform in the “athletic position” (see graphic). By working from the proper athletic position it allows the athletic to be in the most efficient possible position to perform any sport specific movements.
We do this by queuing up our athletes in the position and then having them run through a series of warm-up drills (hurdle jumps, speed ladders etc) to make the athletic position muscle memory.
And finally we also use our warm-up to rehab any soft tissue injuries and also “prehab” by doing soft tissues work as well as specific stretches to keep our joint s and tendons healthy and get ready for the workout ahead.
This is just a basic template of what we do with our athletes. Building an athlete from the ground up is a long complicated process that involves an understanding of bio mechanics, anatomy, sports and physiology. It is not found in a weekend certification course. The body is a complicated and amazing thing so it only makes sense to take advantage of all the learning resources available to train it for the best performance possible. Through proper programming, consistency and intensity it is possible for anyone to realize their athletic potential.
Now that we have the Physical preparation portion of building the athlete out of the way I’ve decided that next week I’ll write a bonus blog post looking at another important aspect of building an elite athlete…lifestyle and nutrition