Performance Absolutes for Arm Health in Pitchers

I was fortunate enough during my tenure as a strength and conditioning coach in professional baseball with the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres to be mentored by pitching guru Dr. Tom House, work under some great coaches such as Bruce Bochy, and train some outstanding pitchers in Trevor Hoffman, Jake Peavy, Barry Zito, and Cole Hammels to name a few.

hoffman

These experiences provided myself a fundamental understanding of the stresses placed upon a pitcher during a MLB season and the processes by which a training staff and coaches attempt to maintain the arm health of their entire pitching staff. One of the most basic concepts to maintaining a pitcher’s arm health I learned was from Tom House and is described in detail in his The Pitching Edge book released in the mid 1990′s.

This concept as Tom House stated is the pitcher must Repair, Prepare, and Compete on a weekly basis at the Major League level. This also holds true for pitchers at any level as they will pitch on a regular basis during the season. Breaking this concept down we see three separate components to arm health.

The first component is Compete. Compete refers to the time frame in which the pitcher is throwing in competition. This entails all pitches encapsulated during the time throwing in a game and the coinciding warm up. What we must recognize as performance coaches is the action of throwing down the slope of the mound repetitively stresses the arm and causes fundamental levels of fatigue within the body.

Once the pitcher comes out of the game and is done throwing the Compete phase is complete and the Repair stage begins. The Repair stage is the time frame and processes a pitcher will undertake to get the body to recover from the process of pitching competitively. The Repair process includes rest, therapy modalities implemented by the training staff, and nutritional intakes of the pitcher. These components collectively assist the body and arm to repair itself from the stresses placed upon it during competition.

The final stage prior to Competing again is the Prepare process. Prepare is the process of getting the pitcher ready to Compete in their next scheduled game or appearance. This entails all physical activities such as workouts, side sessions, and bull pens. These actions in conjunction with the repair stage get the body ready again to pitch. As a performance coach it is imperative we monitor workloads, training volumes, and training intensities during this stage to assure we get the pitcher as physically prepared as possible to Compete again at the highest level possible.

The Compete, Repair, and Prepare cycle is continuous throughout an entire MLB season and can be easily implemented into pitchers at lower levels of the game. If fundamental errors are made at any stage of this process the levels of fatigue can increase in the pitcher, performance levels can decrease, arm health can be jeopardized, and the potential for injury increased.

As a result it is imperative for strength coaches, therapists, and coaches to be aware of these fundamental performance absolutes for arm health in pitchers. This will provide professionals within the industry the greatest level of success with their pitchers from a physical perspective.

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy provides Sean a proven track record of success.  He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, Fit to Hit, and Complete Conditioning for Pitchers. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.

 

Physio-Ball Forearm Saws Perfomance Exercise

The development of segmental stability or sometimes referred to as pillar strength is integral in the overall development of the athlete. Limitations in segmental stability within the lumbo/pelvic/hip complex can adversely affect sports performance.

Improves Your: Pillar strength

Target Area: Musculature of the lumbo/pelvic/hip complex

Why It’s Important: Segmental stabilization within the lumbo/pelvic/hip complex is integral for the athlete in the maintenance of postural positions in sport, the transfer of speed through the kinetic chain, and the generation of rotary speed.

The Common Problem: The athlete will be limited in terms of the stabilization capacities within the lumbo/pelvic/hip complex. The result of this dysfunction is an inability to stabilize this segment of the kinetic chain, resulting in poor postural position, limited transfers of speed within the kinetic chain, lower rotational power outputs, and in general less than optimal performances during competition.

The Solution: Improving the segmental stabilization capacities of the lumbo/pelvic/hip complex through the implementation of pillar strength exercises within a comprehensive strength and conditioning program.

Physio-Ball Forearm Saws

Golf Fitness

Set Up:

  • Position your body directly in front of the stability ball with both knees on the floor
  • Place the forearms on top of the stability ball with the elbows bent at 90 degrees
  • Elevate your body into a standard push-up position

Action:

  • Slowly roll the forearms forward on the stability ball while maintaining a plank position with the body
  • Roll the forearms outward as far forward as possible
  • Immediately reverse the movement of the forearms pulling the elbows in towards your chest
  • Repeat the movement forward and back with the forearms for 10-20 repetitions

 

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of famer Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.

 

 

Kettle Bell Plank Row Performance Exercise

The kettle bell is a very useful tool for sports performance training. This piece of equipment is very versatile and can be utilized for a number of modalities, one of which is the development of strength and stability within the core.

The core is a very integral part of the kinetic chain as it pertains to power development, the transfer of kinetic energy, and maintaining postural positions in sport. Any strength and conditioning program for sport should focus on the development of the stabilization and strength components of the core.

Improves Your: Core strength, endurance, and stabilization capacities

Target Area: Core Musculature

Why It’s Important: As stated above the core is integral in sports performance relative to postural positioning, the transfer of ground reaction forces to upper extremities, anti-rotation, and rotational components of the torso.

The Common Problem: The athlete is limited in terms of the stabilization, strength, and endurance capacities within the core thus detering their ability for optimal sports performance. This can result in lower power outputs, the inability to maintain postural positioning required in certain athletic actions, and in general lower performance outputs during competition.

The Solution: Implement a series of strength, endurance, and stabilization exercises for the core within their strength and conditioning program. The end result over time will the improvement of the aforementioned physical parameters associated with this anatomical region of the body.

Kettle Bell Plank Row

Golf Fitness

Set Up:

  • Grasp two kettle bells and position the body in a traditional push up position
  • Extend the arms straight, back flat, core engage, and feet placed shoulder width apart

Action:

  • Pull the kettle bell upwards to the torso while maintaining a plank position
  • Continue to pull the kettle bell upwards until your hand is next to the rib cage
  • Pause slightly, return to the starting plank position of the exercise
  • Repeat the movement with the opposite arm
  • Alternate the row for 8-15 repetitions

 

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of famer Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.

 

Yahoo! Sports – August 2014

Golf Fitness Expert Sean Cochran Advises Focus On Core And Hips, Not Biceps
by Jeffrey Eisenband

“The core is what I call the engine of the golf swing,” Cochran says. “It’s all muscle on the front, sides and back of the body, and it’s responsible for the slope and rotation. Many amateur golfers lack the hip mobility and core strength to execute a consistent golf swing.”  - Sean Cochran

Read More

 

Men’s Journal – August 2014

6 Steps to Getting Golf Fit
by Nicholas McClelland

“Your typical health and fitness training program is probably not going to get it all done relative to the golfer,” he said. What the golfer needs to accomplish in a workout is to increase flexibility and mobility. “The golfer must recognize number one is that in order to create the rotary aspect to the swing, they have to have a lot of flexibility and mobility,” – Sean Cochran

Read More 

 

Mobility and Flexibility Programming for Athletes

Performance and corrective exercise for sport is predicated upon a systematic approach where the strength and conditioning coach first identifies the kinetic chain dysfunction, next creates a plan to address dysfunction/performance, and finally implements the corrective and performance training program.

The process by which the development of mobility within the kinetic chain occurs is the implementation of joint range of motion and flexibility modalities. The fitness professional must understand it is not one type of training or group of exercises through which mobility in within the kinetic chain is developed for the athlete. It is through a comprehensive series of differing types of training modalities this goal is achieved.

It is through this integrated approach to mobility training by which the fitness professional can develop the required ranges of motion and muscular extensibility for their athletes. An integrated approach to mobility training will incorporate 3 categorical types of mobility training: 1) Responsive, 2) Operational, and 3) Dynamic.

  • Responsive: Self-myofascial release and static stretching
  • Operational: Active joint range of motion
  • Dynamic: Multi-planar and multi-directional functional movement

Stretching

Responsive Mobility Training

Responsive mobility training consists of two types of modalities, self-myofascial release and static stretching. The goal of these modalities is improved extensibility of soft tissues associated with the muscular system of the kinetic chain. Self-myofacial release utilizes a bio-foam roller, stick, or therapy ball to apply pressure onto the muscular system of the kinetic chain whereas static stretching incorporates passive movement of a muscle to the first tissue tension point and holding it for a specified period of time.

Self-myofascial release addresses two components within the muscular system for improved extensibility. Research indicates that the application of concentrated pressure is influential on fascia in the muscular system. (Michael Clark, Director, National Academy of Sports Medicine) The pressure applied improves the extensibility and viscosity of the fascia located in the muscular system. In addition, self-myofascial release techniques reduce over activity in muscles spindles causing hyperactivity within associated soft tissues.

The process by which self-myofascial release is implemented is with the use of a bio-foam roll, stick, or therapy ball by the cliental. The fitness professional will instruct the client to roll over the target muscle searching for “hot spots” where tenderness or mild discomfort is felt. After the client locates a trigger point (i.e. “hot spot”), instruct the client to maintain pressure on the spot for 15-20 seconds. The application of pressure for this period of time allows for an autogenic inhibition response within the muscle spindles and an elongation of fascia in the muscular system to occur.

Static stretching addresses extensibility within the muscular system of the kinetic chain through the process of taking the target muscle to its first tissue tension point and holding this position for 30 seconds. Research indicates the benefits provided by static stretching are in improved viscoelasticty in both the fascia and muscular systems.

Empirical evidence also suggests the greatest benefits from static stretching is received from a “hands-on” approach by the fitness professional with their cliental. This allows for the fitness professional to monitor improvements as well as implement the exercises correctly. Static stretching appears to be best implemented after self-myofascial release techniques and prior to any operational or dynamic mobility training. Both self-myofascial release and static stretching techniques can be performed daily and should always be a part of a comprehensive mobility training program for sport.

Operational Mobility Training

Operational mobility training is comprised of actively moving a joint through a specified range of motion. This process is achieved through the utilization of the agonists, synergists, and antagonists associated with the target joint. The activation of a joints agonist causes reciprocal inhibition of the associated antagonist. This results in a greater range of motion within the targeted musculature and associated joint.

The implementation of these operational modalities occurs when the fitness professional instructs the client to utilize a joint’s agonists, synergists, and stabilizers to move an extremity limb into a stretch position and holding it for 2-3 seconds. An example of this technique would be instructing a client in the active straight leg hamstring raise to contract the quadriceps/hip flexors to actively move the leg into a position where the hamstring is inhibited, holding this “stretch” for 2-3 seconds, then returning the leg to the floor, and repeating for 10 repetitions. Operational mobility exercises are to be performed after responsive flexibility training and prior to any dynamic activities.

Dynamic Mobility Training

Dynamic mobility training is the process of integrating the entire kinetic chain into multiple planes of motion. Force production, reduction, and stabilization are key components of dynamic mobility training where the client will be required to stabilize components of the kinetic chain while simultaneously performing corollary movement patterns. Research indicates dynamic mobility training improves the rate of force production and reduction, motor unit recruitment, and neuromuscular efficiency within the entire kinetic chain. As a result, dynamic mobility training is the final series of modalities to be performed prior to athletic activities or strength training activities.

The implementation of dynamic mobility training requires the utilization of minimal loads (body weight is ideal), the maintenance of proper posture during the movement pattern, the ability to control the movement patterns associated with the exercise, and the correct sequencing of the neuromuscular firing patterns required of the exercise. An example of these requirements would be the multi-planar lunge where the client is required to perform a lunge movement in multiple planes of motion. In order to perform this exercise correctly, the client must maintain the proper postural positions of the exercise, correctly sequence the force production and reduction requirements of the exercise, and synergistically recruit the entire kinetic chain.

The process by which dynamic mobility training improves the range of motion and extensibility is through the process of reciprocal inhibition. It is recommended the fitness professional implement the dynamic mobility modalities after the responsive and operational sections of a conditioning program. A volume of 1-2 sets and 10-15 repetitions of each dynamic mobility exercise is ideal for most athletes.

Summary

Ranges of motion for sports performance are developed through a comprehensive series of responsive, operational, and the dynamic training modalities. Each type of mobility has a specific purpose in creating extensibility and the joint range of motion for your athlete. Keep in mind the goal of mobility training is the development of extensibility within the muscular system, and proper range of motion within the articular system through multiple planes of motion.

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy provides Sean a proven track record of success.  He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.

Article References

Baechle, T.R., R.W. Earle, and D. Wathen. 2000 Resistance Training. In Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (2nd ed.), edited by T.R. Baechle and R.W. Earle. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Boyle, M. 2004 Plyometric Training for Power, Targeted Torso Training and Rotational Strength. In Functional Training for Sports, edited by E. McNeely. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Chek, P. 1999 Power Training, Flexibility: A Balancing Act, How to Warm-Up for Golf in The Golf Biomechanic’s Manual, edited by J. Alexander. Encinitas, CA: C.H.E.K Institute

Clark, M. 2001 Integrated Training, Human Movement Science, Current Concepts in Flexibility Training, Core Stabilization Training, Neuromuscular Stabilization Training. In Integrated Training for the New Millennium, edited by J. Jackson. Thousand Oaks, CA: National Academy of Sports Medicine

Clark, M., Corn, R., Lucent, S., Kinetic Chain Checkpoints, Corrective Exercise, Calabasas, CA:  National Academy of Sports Medicine

Cook, G. 2003 Mobility and Stability. In Athletic Body in Balance, edited by M. Barnard. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Enoka, R. 1998 Human Movement Forces, Torque, Musckoskeletal Organization, Movement Strategies. In Neuromechanical Basis of Kinesiology, edited by R. Frey. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Hay, J. 1993 Angular Kinematics, Angular Kinetics, Golf in The Biomechanics of Sports Techniques, edited by T. Bolen. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Rose, G. Kinematic Sequence, TPI Golf Fitness Instructor Manual, Oceanside, CA: Titleist Performance Institute

Santanna, J.C. 2004, Training Variables in The Essence of Program Design, Boca Rotan, FL: Optimum Performance Systems

Verstegen, M. Williams P., 2004 Movement Prep, Prehab, Elasticity in Core Performance, edited by J. Williams. United States of America: Rodale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Functional Strength Training Program Design for Sports Performance

Performance and corrective exercise for the sports performance is predicated upon a systematic approach where the fitness professional first identifies the kinetic chain dysfunction, next creates a plan to address dysfunction/performance, and finally implements the corrective and performance training program.

Professional tennis player Daniela Hantuchova practices for US O

The process by which stabilization, strength, endurance, and power is developed within the musculature of the kinetic chain is through an integrated series of modalities. The fitness professional must understand it is not one type of training or group of exercises through which the musculature of the kinetic chain is developed for improved athletic acuity. It is through a comprehensive series of differing types of training modalities this goal is achieved.

It is through this integrated approach to training by which the fitness professional can develop the required neuromuscular efficiency, stability, strength, endurance, and power requirements for the muscular system required for sports performance. The processes and training systems by which these fundamental capacities of strength are develop within the kinetic chain for the golf swing vary. The most common strength training systems for the sport are the: Circuit System, Complex System, Multi Set System, Push-Pull System, PMRS System, and Stack System.

Circuit System

A circuit training system consists of a series of specific exercises performed consecutively in order. The circuit system is a very beneficial training mode in the development of strength endurance within the kinetic chain.

Complex System

Complex training consists of a specified number of strength based exercise sets performed immediately before a specific number of plyometric based sets for power development. For example, 3 sets of barbell front squats followed by 3 sets of box jumps. Current research indicates complex training is extremely effective in the development of power outputs from the kinetic chain.

Contrast System

A contrast system of training is similar to complex training but differs in program set up. Contrast training consists of a single strength training exercise performed immediately before an individual plyometric exercise. For example, a single set of barbell front squats followed immediately with little or no rest by a box jump. Current research supports contrast training as very effective in the development of power development within the neuromuscular system.

Multi Set System

A multi set system entails 2-5 sets of an individual exercise performed with the same load for each exercise set. The multi set system is very beneficial in hypertrophy and maximal strength based training programs (Thomas Baechle, Editor, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning).

Push-Pull System

The push-pull system incorporates the pairing of a lower body orientated exercise followed immediately by an upper body based exercise. For example, a barbell dead lift paired with a barbell bench press. The push-pull system is a very beneficial system to utilize in the development of functional strength within the kinetic chain (Michael Clark, Integrated Training for the New Millennium, 232)

PMRS System

The PMRS (position, movement, resistance, speed) system is based on research from the Titleist Performance Institute and Dr. Tom House of the University of Southern California. The system is based upon the principle of blending basic exercise progressions with advanced motor learning techniques. The benefits of the system are kinetic chain development in conjunction with athletic skill improvement.

Stack System

The stack system incorporates multiple sets of a single exercise with an increase in load within an ascending progression. For example, a barbell squat where the load for set number 1 is 200 lbs., set number 2 increases to 215 lbs., and set number 3 the load is again increased to 225 lbs. The stack system is often utilized in conjunction with a push-pull system and is advantageous in the development of functional and maximal strength within the kinetic chain.

Program Design

Program design for the sport performance is based upon scientific research in which a systematic approach within the strength and conditioning program produces the greatest effect and benefit to the athlete. This systematic approach is based upon an integrated training model where the health and fitness professional manipulates acute training variables with functional training modalities and exercises in order to produce physiological adaptations within the kinetic chain.

Training Adaptation

Training adaptations within a strength and conditioning program for golf are determined by the manipulation of acute training variables. Based upon modifications in the training variables of repetitions, sets, intensity, and duration the fitness professional can influence the adaptations of the kinetic chain at a cellular level. These adaptations can be in the form of increased neuromuscular power, strength, hypertrophy, and/or endurance.

Acute Training Variables

The acute training variables: Repetitions, sets, intensity, volume, and duration directly affect the outcome of a training program. The fitness professional will have specific training adaptations within the goals of a conditioning program requiring the modification of these training variables. During program design the fitness professional must remember that all acute training variables are interdependent. (Clark, Michael, Integrated Training for the New Millennium, 249) In addition, an inverse relationship exists between repetitions and intensity, where an increase in intensity requires a reduction in the number of repetitions for a given exercise.

Repetition schemes within a training program are directly related to physiological adaptations within the neuromuscular system. (Thomas Baechle, Editor, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning). Strength endurance adaptations are achieved with a repetition range of 12-25 at a 50-70% intensity of an individual’s one repetition maximum. Hypertophy requires a repetition range of 8-12 repetitions at an intensity of 70-80%. Neuromuscular strength utilizes a repetition scheme of 5 to 8 at an intensity level of 80-90%, and power is trained with a scheme of 1-3 repetitions at an intensity level of 90-100%.

Summary

The modalities and exercises chosen for the development of functional strength should be done in accordance to the requirements of the sport and in adherence to the training principles of strength development within the kinetic chain. Each individual athlete will have differing needs and requirements to be met within these goals thus requiring alterations within exercise selection. During program design keep in mind the overall goal of the training program is the development of neuromuscular control, stability, strength, endurance, and power within the muscular system specific to the requirements of the athlete’s chosen sport. The training system utilized for the development of the kinetic chain should correspond the goals of the training program in addition to outside variables such as time, training equipment available, practice schedules, and injury history.

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.

References

Baechle, T.R., R.W. Earle, and D. Wathen. 2000 Resistance Training. In Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (2nd ed.), edited by T.R. Baechle and R.W. Earle. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Boyle, M. 2004 Plyometric Training for Power, Targeted Torso Training and Rotational Strength. In Functional Training for Sports, edited by E. McNeely. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Chek, P. 1999 Power Training, Flexibility: A Balancing Act, How to Warm-Up for Golf in The Golf Biomechanic’s Manual, edited by J. Alexander. Encinitas, CA: C.H.E.K Institute

Clark, M. 2001 Integrated Training, Human Movement Science, Current Concepts in Flexibility Training, Core Stabilization Training, Neuromuscular Stabilization Training. In Integrated Training for the New Millennium, edited by J. Jackson. Thousand Oaks, CA: National Academy of Sports Medicine

Clark, M., Corn, R., Lucent, S., Kinetic Chain Checkpoints, Corrective Exercise, Calabasas, CA:  National Academy of Sports Medicine

Cook, G. 2003 Mobility and Stability. In Athletic Body in Balance, edited by M. Barnard. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Enoka, R. 1998 Human Movement Forces, Torque, Musckoskeletal Organization, Movement Strategies. In Neuromechanical Basis of Kinesiology, edited by R. Frey. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Hay, J. 1993 Angular Kinematics, Angular Kinetics, Golf in The Biomechanics of Sports Techniques, edited by T. Bolen. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Rose, G. Biomechanics, TPI Golf Biomechanics Manual, Oceanside, CA: Titleist Performance Institute

Santanna, J.C. 2004, Training Variables in The Essence of Program Design, Boca Rotan, FL: Optimum Performance Systems

Verstegen, M. Williams P., 2004 Movement Prep, Prehab, Elasticity in Core Performance, edited by J. Williams. United States of America: Rodale

 

 

 

 

Physio-Ball Jack Knife Performance Exercise

The development of core stability is a key component of any sports performance program. The core is integral in the maintenance of postural positions during sports performance, the transfer of ground reaction forces to upper extremities, and the generation of rotational speed.

Improves Your: Core Stabilization Strength and Postural Control

Target Area: Core Musculature

Why It’s Important: Athletic action and sports performance requires the transfer of energy through the kinetic chain, the maintenance of postural positions while extremity movements occur, and the generation of speed in multiple force vectors. Strength within the core musculature is imperative in the efficient execution of all the aforementioned athletic activities.

The Common Problem: Limitations in terms of core stability, strength, and endurance limit the ability of the athlete to execute the required components of sports performance. The end results is lower power outputs, speed generation, inefficient movement patterns, and in general lower sports performance outputs.

The Solution: The athlete must commit to developing the core musculature in terms of stabilization capacities. This will in turn provide the foundation within this anatomical section of the body to execute the requirements of sports performance.

Physio-Ball Jack Knife

PB Jack Knife Finish

Set Up:

  • Squat down and place your stomach on top of the physio-ball
  • Roll forward on the ball by walking your hands out into a push up position
  • Continue to roll forward until only the feet remain on top of the ball

Action:

  • Hold the push up position and pull your knees in towards the chest
  • Continue to pull the knees forward as close as possible to your chest
  • Hold this position for one second, return to the starting position of the exercise
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions

 

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.

 

 

 

Fitness Magazine – June 2014

Top 5 Golf Tips from US Open Coach Sean Cochran
By Chloe Metzger

The body is the foundation needed to execute the swing,” says Cochran. “In order to have the opportunity to perform all the movements of that skill, your body has to have certain levels of joint mobility, flexibility, and strength.” – Sean Cochran

Read More

 

The Basics of Kinetic Chain Dysfunctions in Sports Performance Training

The kinetic chain of the human body is comprised of the articular, muscular, and nervous systems. It is these three sub-systems of the kinetic working interdependently to create efficient movement within the human body.

Dysfunctional movement patterns within the human body and  during athletic actions are a result of impairments within these systems of the kinetic chain. Breakdowns within the articular, neural, and muscular system results in Serial Distortion Patterns.

A serial distortion pattern refers to the situation where the integrity of the kinetic chain is compromised because of dysfunction within one of the components within the kinetic chain. (Michael Clark, Integrated Flexibility Training, 4) This results in a decrease in functional efficiency within kinetic chain relative to the golf swing.

Two of the most common serial distortion patterns found in the kinetic chain are the lower cross syndrome, and upper cross syndrome. Both the lower cross syndrome and upper cross syndrome were first noted by physical therapist Vladimir Janda of the Czech Republic. Janda noted through research two distinct distortion patterns of muscles imbalances develop within the kinetic chain due to poor postures.

Anatomy 2

Lower Cross Syndrome & Upper Cross Syndrome

Over Active Musculature                     Under Active Musculature

Gastrocnemius/Soleus                                  Anterior/Posterior Tibialis

Adductors                                                       VMO

Hamstrings                                                     Psoas

TFL                                                                   Gluteus Maximus/Medius

Rectus Femoris/Piriformis                         Tranverse Abdominus/Multifidus

Erector Spinae/QL                                        Serratus Anterior/Trapezius

Pectoralis Major/Minor                               Rhomboids/Teres Minor

Latissimus Dorsi/Teres Major                    Infraspinatus/Posterior Deltoid

Sternocleidomastoid/Scalenes                    Cervical Flexors

Janda noted when muscles of the kinetic chain are shortened or contracted for an extended period of time reciprocal inhibition occurs. Reciprocal Inhibition is the state in which over activity in a specific muscle creates a decreased functioning of the muscle’s antagonist. As a result the antagonist becomes inhibited in terms of functioning properly during human movement. This results in muscular imbalances, synergistic dominance, and poor movement patterns.

Janda, during his research, noted Lower Cross Syndrome is the state in which an individual will have an anterior tilt of the pelvis in conjunction with increased lumbar extension. Lower cross syndrome will typically include a group of muscles that are tight and a corresponding set of muscles that are weak.

Muscles within lower cross syndrome found to be tight are the gastroc, soleus, iliopsoas (hip flexors), adductors complex, quadriceps complex, hamstring complex, erector spinae (lower/mid-back), tensor fascia lata (TFL), and quadratus lumborum (QL).

Lower cross syndrome will in addition find the following muscles/muscle groups to be weak with low neural outputs: rectus abdominus, multifidus, gluteus maximus, gliteus minimus, gluteus medius, latimus dorsi, transverse abdominus, and internal obliques.

The coinciding pattern of tight muscles and weak or inhibited muscles creates dysfunctional movement patterns within the kinetic chain. Common dysfunctions associated with lower cross syndrome are poor stabilization of the lumbar spine, over-active hamstring complex, decreased neural drive within the glutes, altered hip extension, and articular stress within the SI joint and facets of the lumbar spine. (Michael Clark, Director, National Academy of Sports Medicine)

Upper Cross Syndrome, also noted by Janda, is the state in which an individual is characterized by an anterior rounding of the shoulders with a forward extension of the head. This is again caused by reciprocal inhibition, where a specific group of muscles are tight and a corresponding set of muscles that are weak.

Muscles within upper cross syndrome found to be tight are the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, levator scapula, upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, scalenes, and suboccipitals.

Muscles found in upper cross syndrome to be weak and having low neural outputs are the lower and mid trapezius, serratus anterior, teres minor, serratus anterior, and infraspinatus.

Similar to lower cross syndrome, upper cross syndrome creates a common series of dysfunctions associated with it. Poor thoracic spine extension and limited spine rotation are common dysfunctions associated with upper cross syndrome. (Dr. Greg Rose, Titleist Performance Institute) Injuries such as rotator cuff impingement, gleno-humeral instability, and thoracic outlet syndrome are commonly associated with upper cross syndrome. (Michael Clark, Director, National Academy of Sports Medicine)

Both the lower cross and upper cross syndromes create numerous kinetic chain dysfunctions resulting in poor movement patterns directly affecting the biomechanics of the golf swing. In addition the structural integrity that is compromised by both the lower and upper cross syndrome increases the potential for injury exponentially.

Reciprocal Inhibition

Reciprocal inhibition is the decreased neural drive or force production in a functional antagonist caused by a tight muscle on the opposite side of a joint.

Synergistic Dominance

Synergistic dominance is the process by which a stabilizer, neutralizer, or synergist takes over functioning of an inhibited prime mover causing over use syndrome within the stabilizer, neutralizer, or stabilizing muscle.

Arthokinetic Inhibition

Arthokinetic inhibition is the inhibition within muscular system caused by dysfunction within a joint of the articular system. This results in limited ranges of motion and dysfunctional movement patterns.

Relative Flexibility

Relative flexibility is the process by which the human body seeks the least amount of resistance during functional movement patterns. Relative flexibility is typically a result of muscular imbalances within the kinetic chain causing altered length tension relationships. (Michael Clark, Director, National Academy of Sports Medicine)

Cumulative Injury Cycle

A cumulative injury cycle is a cycle of continuing dysfunction within the kinetic chain in the form altered length tension relationships, muscles imbalances, or articular deformation as a result of injury.  (Michael Clark, Director, National Academy of Sports Medicine)

Summary

Dysfunction within the kinetic chain adversely affects the ability of the athlete to execute efficient movements patterns during athletic actions. Common patterns of dysfunctions such as lower cross or upper cross syndrome impede the ability of the athlete to place the kinetic chain in the proper positions to generate speed, change direction, develop power, and execute finite movement patterns effectively and efficiently.

Muscular imbalances, reciprocal inhibition, synergistic dominance, and arthokinetic inhibition can result from either acute or chronic injury. Diagnosis of dysfunction by the fitness professional is the first step in the implementation of corrective exercise to address serial distortion patterns within the kinetic chain. A sound understanding of the characteristics associated with serial distortion patterns benefits in the diagnosis of dysfunction within the kinetic chain.

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renown Titleist Performance Institute.

References

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Chek, P. 1999 Power Training, Flexibility: A Balancing Act, How to Warm-Up for Golf in The Golf Biomechanic’s Manual, edited by J. Alexander. Encinitas, CA: C.H.E.K Institute

Clark, M. 2001 Integrated Training, Human Movement Science, Current Concepts in Flexibility Training, Core Stabilization Training, Neuromuscular Stabilization Training. In Integrated Training for the New Millennium, edited by J. Jackson. Thousand Oaks, CA: National Academy of Sports Medicine

Clark, M., Corn, R., Lucent, S., Kinetic Chain Checkpoints, Corrective Exercise, Calabasas, CA:  National Academy of Sports Medicine

Cook, G. 2003 Mobility and Stability. In Athletic Body in Balance, edited by M. Barnard. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Enoka, R. 1998 Human Movement Forces, Torque, Musckoskeletal Organization, Movement Strategies. In Neuromechanical Basis of Kinesiology, edited by R. Frey. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Rose, G. Kinematic Sequence, TPI Golf Fitness Instructor Manual, Oceanside, CA: Titleist Performance Institute

Rose, G. Biomechanics, TPI Golf Biomechanics Manual, Oceanside, CA: Titleist Performance Institute

Santanna, J.C. 2004, Training Variables in The Essence of Program Design, Boca Rotan, FL: Optimum Performance Systems

Verstegen, M. Williams P., 2004 Movement Prep, Prehab, Elasticity in Core Performance, edited by J. Williams. United States of America: Rodale

 

 

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