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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Sports Specific Training

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Panel Discussion: Sports Specific Training

What is sports specific training on the gym floor? How closely should exercise mimic sport - what transferable attributes should we be training for?

Moderated by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

This Panel Discussion was originally posted on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/brent.brookbush - on February 18th, 2012

Jemimah Simms, February 18 at 10:58am: I venture to say, which might be terribly generic, any training that would increase efficiency in movement and decrease risk of over-use syndrome and/or decrease the risk of injury all-together.

Brent Brookbush, February 18 at 11:16am: Nicely said Jemimah… there is no bigger inhibitor to sports performance than pain. It is amazing how even a mild amount of knee pain can significantly impact someone's vertical jump. This is why I chose physical therapy over a PhD in exercise physiology, or a degree that would lead to ATC licensure.

Jemimah Simms, February 18 at 11:48am: Same here. I'm really excited to learn how to diagnose musculoskeletal disorders and how to put my hands on people, measure their joint angles, and do MMT. It kinda makes me want to run around like a hyperactive kid off their ADD meds.

Jeff Young, February 18 at 5:23pm: ‎"sports specific" training would start with a needs analysis -- both with the sport itself (movements; physiological systems; requirements for the position, if applicable; typical injuries) and the individual (posture, flexibility, stability, strength issues/imbalances; medical and exercise history; fitness level, etc…). for the most part the program would most likely need to include strength and power (mechanical and possibly maximum power) training; some level of hypertrophy training; strength-endurance training; and physiological system training (most often PC and glycolytic). movements in the program would include multi-joint, multi-planar exercises and emphasis on neuromuscular and eccentric control. core training would include stability and rotation. exercises would include variations of squats, deadlifts, lunges, power cleans, upper and lower body plyometrics, movements that mimic the movements in the sport, etc… the program would be periodized and would most likely need to include interval training. and ideally the trainer would have the knowledge/experience to instruct proper exercise technique with complex lifts like squats, deadlifts, lunges, and cleans, and understand proper progression/regression and choice of exercise. ….a very general response to your question and I’m sure I missed some things.

Brent Brookbush, February 18 at 5:49pm: Nicely said, although we could argue that mimicking movement in sport is iffy… especially in regard to adding load. We want transferable strength without effecting the skill-centric movement patterns essential to performance.

Jeff Young, February 18 at 5:53pm: I can definitely agree with that, but i'd add that it depends on the movement and goal

Joe Constantine, February 18 at 6:03pm: You need to very carefully analyze the pertinent movements that the athlete needs to perform in his/her sport. This must include fine attention to the very small details at each and every joint in the chain. As you incorporate strengthening exercises which simultaneously improve strength and flexibility you re-analyze the athlete to ensure that what you're incorporating in their training is actually improving their performance. Is it making them run faster? Throw better? Kick farther and with more accuracy? Swing faster? If not, then change gears. The biggest farse I see out there is trying to use random conditioning drills that "mimic" the movements in the sport to improve sports performance. IF someone has a bad movement pattern, or part of their body isn't performing the action necessary at the right time, and you simply try to mimic their movements with general conditioning drills, you'll only succeed in strengthening a dysfunction and that will ultimately lead to higher rates of injury.

Before you add that aspect to their conditioning drills you need to be sure that you've strengthened their movement patterns.

The biggest key to this whole puzzle is constant analysis of their movements ensuring that you are IMPROVING their performance.

Jemimah Simms, February 18 at 7:16pm: But. If that person has a moving pattern that isn't 'right' but isn't causing them harm, you have to work with what you are given. Balance in exercises and treatment.

Brent Brookbush, February 20 at 9:30am Nice post Joe I totally agree…. Jemimah, just because the athlete is not injured now, doesn't mean that a movement pattern won't cause them injury in the future. One of the ideas behind correcting posture, is that postural dysfunction will always lead to injury, either chronic or acute, given enough time. For example, Lebron James pronates on his left side. I am willing to bet it is costing him inches on his vertical and some speed on his first step (nobody cares now because he is an athletic freak with talent to spare), but most importantly - it will lead to knee, hip, or back pain in his future - if not a more obvious injury like a rolled ankle.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 10:06am: So, would you train towards or against Lebron's moving pattern? No doubt all athletes break down over time. It's a given, but would you train his moving pattern to something new and risk his elite status to save his body, or train his current pattern with the caveat of: this is eventually going to break you?

Joe Constantine, February 20 at 11:53am Jemimah, I'd strengthen to limit the pronation. I haven't watched Lebron's step so I can't say what is causing this, but generally it's a strength imbalance. By analyzing his movement patterns on great detail, you will identify breakdowns, and will develop a strengthening protocol to adjust.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 11:55am right, but if strengthen to limit his pronation affects how he plays, would you take that risk?

Joe Constantine, February 20 at 12:11pm Tiger Woods hit the golf ball better than anyone until he blew out his knee. This was largely see to an excessive external rotation through his left hip. Early strengthening of his internal rotation could have prevented this catastrophic injury to his knee. Look how that injury has impacted his game long term.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 12:17pm true, and is game isn't quit the same. but lebron's body might handle his repetitive force differently and may afford him a longer run than tiger. but that didn't answer my question, would you risk changing lebron's patterns at present and change his career making him less effective and giving him longevity or keeping him as is and he might end his career sooner. as a dancer, i had to bow out at 27 due to repetitive motion injuries. working in normal ranges of movement only work if i'm not dancing. then there are ballerinas and pro-dancers that make it to into their 40s dancing. no doubt in saying all athletes (dancers included) will wear their bodies down, but i think it depends on the person and how much of their art you/they are willing to change if they are successful at that given time.

Joe Constantine, February 20 at 12:20pm Jemimah, my point EXACTLY. The note you can do to perfect their movement patterns the longer they can stay at a high level.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 12:22pm but at the point of being an elite athlete, their movement patterns are pretty much cemented into their brain. my point is, perfecting their movement pattern might negativity affect their current pattern. would you take that risk? Brent Brookbush, any day now.

Joe Constantine, February 20 at 12:28pm Jemimah, yeah, it's in there, but by identifying the flaw, and correcting the bio-mechanics, you will only improve their performance. I have and will continue to take that "risk". It's not a risk at all. Their current pattern is the problem. I'd holding them back.

Joe Constantine, February 20 at 12:30pm: Jemimah. I recommend you read "building a better athlete" by Doctor Michael Yessis. It talks at length about improving bio-mechanics and its impact in performance.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 12:31pm: not necessarily. using lebron or lance or *insert athlete here* has a moving pattern that got them to where they are, changing it might have an adverse affect. there is even the risk of causing pain through the new movement pattern. i know it sound stupid and against logic, but if their motor cortex has that pattern in there, there is no changing it, or if you do, it's going to take a long time.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 12:31pm: i'll read when i graduate. pt school doesn't allow much time for leisure.

Brent Brookbush, February 20 at 1:33pm: I hear you Jemimah on the reading while in PT school, but I think Joe is right on this. If you improve posture and mechanics an athlete cannot help but get better. Would I change a problem in a professional athletes movement… absolutely… The risk is that the injury from the dysfunction happens on my watch if I don't. Nobody is so different that they can play forever with dysfunction, or play better with compensation. Realize compensation patterns also alter intermuscular coordination, intramuscular coordination, and proprioception. Fixing someones shoulder dysfunction will often lead to a more consistant shot, pitch, or pass due to improvements in proprioception and coordination. And although you will hate to hear this, I would stake my career on my ability to keep you dancing, if… I could have started your training program before you had caused damage that resulted in irreparable structure change.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 1:38pm: hmm. i hear what you are saying, but did you yell at me once telling me you can't change movement patterns? i know exactly what you are talking about. but who says it's dysfunction if he was built to move that way? ie: professor comes into lecture one day, tells of a personal trainer changing movement patterns on a runner because her movement pattern sucked (his words directly) and then caused her pain that forced her into pt. so when do you cut your loses and just go with what you have?

Joe Constantine, February 20 at 1:43pm Jemimah. Did he cause the pain? Or expose it? Correlation does not always equal causation. If the trainer removed a compensation mechanism, then that would expose the pain. The injury was already there. Now, we can also get into the qualifications of this trainer, but that's a different conversation all together.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 1:46pm: if I listened correctly, caused. the trainer changed a movement pattern because it looked wrong. prof. would have said something if the trainer wasn't good/qualified. my point is, if someone is built a particular way, changing something in their inherent moving pattern might change them or the negative. just because someone doesn't move like the textbooks says, doesn't mean it's wrong. i am totally on board with what you and Brent are saying, but I’m trying to offer a slight deviation from you two. :)

Joe Constantine, February 20 at 2:12pm: Changing a movement pattern is not the same as CORRECTING. How did the trainer analyze the runners movement patterns? What did the trainer do? How did the trainer change the movement patterns? There's a LOT more that goes into this than just saying…. "Plant your foot this way." You have to strengthen the new movement pattern, and not simply just "Change" it. Everyone is so quick to blame the closest person when a symptom appears. I know a chiropractor who got "blamed" for exposing a problem in the spine during an adjustment. He didn't cause the problem, but he exposed the compensation. He got blamed because he was the closest person at the time of the pain.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 2:16pm: true. at the same time, it's easy to talk about any athlete when watching them move on tv. but it would take a serious analysis and so on and so forth. I’m not going to comment further on that situation that i mentioned because, I don't know anything else. there is so much more that goes into stuff like this. I don't have enough knowledge other than what i offered, but i get all sorts of excited to find out. :)

Brent Brookbush, February 20 at 2:17pm: We are all built more or less the same way… Postural dysfunction is not "how we are built." It sounds like your professor may have a stigma toward personal trainers, and I can't say that I blame him, but he should know better than to tell a story without justifying the trainers position. This argument has been going on for ages and it is hard for me to argue your point without a very lengthy lecture on the normative data on structural impairments in human beings. I see postural dysfunction in everyone; however, postural dysfunction is created and structural deformity is generally congenital. I find it hard to believe that as a species we could be structurally messed-up most of the time and be successful. However, due to certain inherent properties of adaptive tissues like muscle and connective tissue it is easy to see where an imbalance in forces can change these in everyone over time. From a practical standpoint… functional problems are solvable. Every time I hear someone say that a person was "born that way," "that's how I move," or "that's how I was trained," I think to myself… what an unfortunate cop-out by the individual, trainer, or therapist… If you learn your functional anatomy, apply some fairly basic stretching, release, mobilization, and activation techniques most of this stuff would go away. I hate to be a bit cocky, but if you don't believe me, train with me, you will be amazed how simple it is, and what a difference correcting length/tension relationships and correcting postural dysfunction can make.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 2:25pm I never said i didn't believe you. But as a trained dancer it took… at least a year after pulling my head out of my ass to learn how to correctly move (more correctly) and then to learn how to correctly lift weights and be able to move back and forth between different movement patterns. But you can't deny that how someone moved for years that it won't affect how this person currently moves and gives you an insight to how they think and how to proceed with treatment. I was born hyper-mobile, there is nothing i can do about that, but what i can do is move in a range that isn't an extreme for me and go from there. If someone uses one of the excuses you listed and doesn't do anything, what can you do other than shake your head, offer advice and walk away. :)

Brent Brookbush, February 20 at 2:31pm: True, true… Everyone is born hyper-mobile, you just kept pushing rather than allowing connective tissue and muscle to limit your range and increase stability with age. How someone moved is important, but we attack the problem by going after the structures affected not the structure that is affecting your movement (your CNS). Movement isn't cognitive, and I am not 100 percent sure that the movement patterns have changed, as much as, your brain is using an alternate program sent to structures that have been modified. It would be like your computer trying to send you a color picture to a black and white monitor. You don't fix the computer, you fix the monitor and let the computer do what it does.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 2:34pm: have you seen my elbows? i don't know if i agree with that totally. babies are hyper-mobile because they are cartilage. I’m in motor learning now. we can pick this up at the end of the semester. :)

Brent Brookbush, February 20 at 2:43pm: Sure thing… I have to admit, as an educator my love for human movement may be matched by love for analogies :-) However, I agree the computer monitor analogy is grossly oversimplified. The point is the idea it is conveying. Treat the structures and the CNS will follow. It is really tough to try and correct movement patterns by cognitive training. Education is important, but I think we will see the largest therapeutic effect from structure based treatment.

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 2:44pm: But we are talking purely ortho, not neuro right ? (now i'm just messing with you.)

Brent Brookbush, February 20 at 3:03pm: Yes, of course… I will be the first to admit I know very little about neuro rehab… Sorry, should have stated that bias up front

Jemimah Simms, February 20 at 3:03pm: We know. it's all good. it makes for more interesting conversation

© 2014 Brent Brookbush

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