Kettle Bell Swings Performance Exercise

The development of strength and power in the kinetic chain is imperative to sports performance. The kettle bell is an extremely useful piece of equipment to utilize in the development of both of these parameters in the kinetic chain. Athletes especially at the high school and occasionally at the collegiate level lack the lower body and hip strength to generate power.

Improves Your: Lower Body Strength and Power Outputs

Target Area: Lower Body and Hips

Why Its’ Important: The generation of speed, sprinting ability, change of direction, hitting, throwing, and striking all begin with the development of ground reaction forces. In order to develop high power outputs via ground reaction forces both the lower body and hips must be strong.

The Common Problem: Limitations in lower body and hip strength will ultimately decrease the force outputs of the kinetic chain. This situation will result in lower levels of power development, athleticism, and speed generation within the athlete. Thus potentially limiting their performances during competition.

The Solution: The implementation of exercises within a comprehensive strength and conditioning program developing strength in the lower body and hips. The result will be a stronger athlete with the ability to generate higher power outputs levels.

Kettle Bell Swings

Kettle Bell Swing

Set Up:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward, knees bent, hips press backwards, arms extended, and both hands grasping the kettle bell slightly in front of your feet

Action:

  • Swing the kettle bell backwards through your legs by hinging at the hips keeping both arms straight
  • Forcefully extend the hips and knees driving the kettle bell back through your legs
  • Continue to extend the legs and hips until your torso is upright and the kettle bell is directly front of your chest with the arms extended
  • Complete the repetition by bending the knees, hinging the hips, and returning the kettle bell in a swinging action back through the both legs
  • Repeat the swing of the kettle bell for 6-20 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 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.

 

 

 

 

Sports Performance Guidelines for Baseball

To improve performance, increase bat speed, throwing accuracy, sprinting ability, change of direction, and prevent injury in your game, it is necessary to develop the “five physical pillars” of the kinetic chain. Empirical evidence also suggests it is best to develop these physical components in order. Begin with mobility, then progressing to neuromuscular efficiency, and completing the process with power training. Following this sequence provides the correct ratios of mobility to stability, and prevents the possibility of injury to a player who is not physically ready to implement a specific training modality.

The goal of your baseball strength and conditioning program is to develop a physical foundation allowing you to execute the athletic actions associated with baseball efficiently and effectively. This is accomplished through the development of the “five physical pillars” of your body. We will now look at what is required from your body in terms of mobility, neuromuscular efficiency, stability, endurance, and power.

Carlos Quentin

Mobility/Stability Pattern

Before breaking down the “five physical pillars” of baseball individually it is important to discuss a concept that is very central to athletic development. The concept we are referring to is the mobility/stability pattern of human movement. This principle was first noted by physical therapist Gray Cook and strength coach Mike Boyle. This principle states efficient movement within the kinetic chain of the human body occurs in an alternating pattern of mobile joints and stable segments. If this pattern of mobile joints and stable segments is altered, dysfunction in movement patterns will occur, and compensations in these movement patterns will be the result. Table 1.2 below provides a joint-by-joint view of this pattern within the human body.

Mobility/Stability Pattern of Human Movement Table:

Foot Stable – Ankle Mobile – Knee Stable – Hip Mobile – Pelvis/Sacral/Lumbar Spine Stable – Thoracic Spine Mobile – Scapula-Thoracic Stable – Gleno-Humeral/Shoulder Mobile – Elbow Stable – Wrist Mobile – Cervical Spine Stable

As you can see from the above table the human body “feet to fingertips” operates in an alternating pattern of a mobile joint followed by a stable joint throughout the entire kinetic chain (i.e. body). It is obvious joints such as the elbow and knee are not rod like pieces of iron that do not flex or extend, but rather these joints are stable in terms of limited degrees of motion. For example, the knee joint does not rotate in 360 degrees of

motion as does the hip or shoulder, rather it operates essentially in one plane of motion flexing and extending. As a result this joint is considered a stable joint where as the hip, shoulder, and ankle require large ranges of motion for human movement to occur efficiently.

Relative to the baseball swing the mobility/stability pattern of human movement allows for the creation and transfer of energy through the kinetic chain from “feet to fingertips” into the bat. If the mobility/stability pattern is dysfunctional relative to the baseball swing, the development of speed will be limited, transfers of this speed to the bat will be compromised, and the ability to execute a consistent swing will be limited.

For example, if a hitter had limited hip mobility. The ability to rotate the hips in the swing would be limited, and the initiation of speed could be hindered. This would result in a loss of speed, an inefficient transfer of this speed to the bat, and most likely the development of compensations or poor hitting mechanics.

As you can see from the above example, the mobility/stability pattern of human movement is integral to hitting and deficiencies within it will adversely affect every aspect of baseball from hitting, to base stealing, to throwing. Development of the “five physical pillars” supports the mobility/stability pattern of human movement and are a great benefit to it.

Mobility

The first pillar is mobility. Mobility is a combination of both joint range of motion and flexibility. Joint range of motion concerns itself with the actual articular structure of the joint (i.e. skeletal structures), and flexibility has to do with the extensibility of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) surrounding the joint. To better understand the relationship of joint range of motion and flexibility let’s define both.

Flexibility can be defined as the optimal extensibility of all soft tissues surrounding a joint to allow for full range of motion. (Michael Clark, Director: National Academy of Sports Medicine) If certain muscles are “tight” or ligaments become “un-pliable” the ability for a joint to move through multiple ranges of motion may be hindered. For example, the golf swing requires the hip to be mobile in order to execute correctly. If the surrounding soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons) are “tight” the hip will be immobile and unable to operate through the ranges of motion required too execute the golf swing correctly.

In addition to flexibility, range of motion is the second component of mobility. Mobility as stated above is the combination of normal joint range of motion and proper extensibility of the surrounding soft tissues. Range of motion is simply the number of degrees a joint should be able to flex, extend, or rotate. For example, the elbow joint is considered a hinge joint that only flexes and extends. The elbow joint should flex or extend a certain number of degrees. Limitations in the degrees of flexion and extension would be considered a limited range of motion in relation to the elbow joint.

Mobility could be limited by a lack of extensibility by the surrounding soft tissues of a joint or the articular (i.e. skeletal) structures of the joint. For example, if the ankle joint were to have bone spurs, mobility in this joint would be limited not from the soft tissues surrounding the joint, but rather the articular components of the joint. Typically, mobility issues for the baseball players are a result of flexibility issues rather than joint range of motion.

Neuromuscular Efficiency

The second “physical pillar” is neuromuscular efficiency, which is often referred to as balance. It is defined as the ability of the neuromuscular system (nervous and muscular systems) to maintain the proper alignment, center of gravity, and coordinate the body during biomechanical movement. (Gray Cook, Athletic Body in Balance, 34) Throughout the entire swing, it is necessary for the ball player to maintain certain angles, create a weight transfer, coordinate muscular movements, and generate speed. To perform this properly, you must be able to maintain balance of the body as a unit and control your extremities (i.e. arms and legs).

Neuromuscular efficiency within baseball is a responsibility of both the body and the mechanics by which you hit, run, and throw. Improvement of your neuromuscular efficiency capacities on the “physical side of the equation” will allow your body to execute the athletic actions associated with baseball with greater efficiency and ease.

The process by which the athlete improves their neuromuscular efficiency is via specified exercises challenging the body’s current state of balance, movement coordination, and kinesthetic awareness. Over time these training modalities will improve one’s neuromuscular efficiency and overall athleticism.

Stability

Stability is the third pillar of our five pillars. Stability can be defined as the ability of any system to remain unchanged or aligned in the presence of outside forces (Greg Rose, Titleist Performance Institute Manual, 86) The development of stability within the neuromuscular system is contingent upon muscular strength. Strength is defined as the ability of your body to exert the required levels of force to perform the functional movement at hand. (Michael Clark, Integrated Training for the New Millennium, 369)

Basically, stability in the hitting is contingent upon muscular strength, and in order to execute the swing effectively and generate bat speed, a certain level of muscular strength is required. This allows your body to correctly sequence the muscular contractions required in hitting in addition to being a precursor to power generation in athletic actions.

Stability tends to be the “stumbling block” for many younger players. They simply do not have the muscular strength in their bodies to execute the swing while generating speed into the hitting zone. A tendency of the swing breaking down, releasing the hands early, and an additional hitting flaws will occur.

Endurance

The fourth pillar of your strength and conditioning program for baseball is muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle(s) to repeatedly perform a physical action over an extended period of time without fatigue. Performing repeated physical actions such as the baseball swing causes fatigue within the muscular system. As a result, muscular performance can decrease. Once this occurs the ability to swing the bat efficiently is compromised. Endurance as with muscular strength is again a problem area for many younger players and more seasoned players when the season becomes longer and more games are played. As is the case with muscular strength, the ball player does not have the endurance capacities developed within their neuromuscular systems required for not only hitting but the additional athletic actions of the sport. Over time the result is a decrease in performance. To prevent such a situation from occurring during a game or season, it is necessary to develop muscular endurance.

Power

Muscular power is the final physical pillar, and is the final factor that is necessary for optimal performance on the diamond. Muscular power can be defined as the ability of the body to create the greatest amount of force in a short amount of time. (Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Professor Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Pennsylvania State University) Basically, power is one component of developing bat speed in addition to

enhance performance in other areas of the game. The more speed that can be developed by the body the more potential for increases in bat speed, running speed, and general athleticism on the diamond. So it is a great attribute for any golfer, junior player included, to develop the power components of the body.

In order to increase the power outputs of your muscles, it is necessary to implement specialized exercises. These types of exercises, referred to as plyometrics, jump training, Olympic lifting, or Med ball work will enhance the ability of your neuromuscular system to develop power, which in turn, as stated above, will enhance the amount of speed generated by the body.

Summary

Let’s put all this information together so you have a solid understanding before moving on. Mobiltiy, neuromuscular efficiency, stability, endurance, and power comprise the “five physical pillars” of the golf swing. The “five physical pillars” support the mobility/stability pattern of human movement. Development of these five pillars is necessary to execute the athletic requirements of hitting, fielding, throwing, and running efficiently. Inefficiencies in any one or all five of these categories will directly affect the execution of hitting, throwing, fielding, and running. The athlete will often have physical deficiencies within the areas of neuromuscular efficiency, stability, endurance, and power development hindering the ability to perform optimally at all facets of the game.

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.

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

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

Newell, S. 2001 Assessing and Improving Your Game, Faults and Fixes in The Golf Instruction Manual, edited by S. O’Connor and M. Ellis. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersly

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

 

Medicine Ball Overhead Scoop Throw Performance Exercise

The development of lower body power is integral in most all sports. Increasing the rate of force production and speed of force production will benefit the athlete in the majority of actions involved in sport today. One type of modality the strength and conditioning coach can utilize to enhance lower body power production is plyometrics sometimes referred too as jump training.

Improves Your: Lower Body Power Outputs & Triple Extension

Target Area: Lower Body Musculature

Why Its’ Important: Lower body power is a component of improving an athlete’s sprinting capacities, the ability to change direction, and generate ground reaction forces. Increasing lower body power outputs will improve the athlete’s ability to execute the aforementioned actions in addition to more sport specific activities such as jumping, tackling, throwing, and striking.

The Common Problem: Many athletes are limited in their lower body force production, speed of force production, and general power outputs. This results in less than optimal execution of athletic actions and limited success during competition.

Solution: The implementation of exercise to develop speed and force production of the lower body within a comprehensive strength and conditioning program.

Medicine Ball Overhead Scoop Throw

MB Scoop Throw

Set Up:

  • Grasp a 10 – 20 lb. medicine ball with both hands in front of the hips
  • Place the feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, torso upright, and eyes looking forward

 

Action:

  • Squat downward by bending at the both the knees and the hips
  • Lower the hips until the upper thighs are parallel to the floor, explosively extend the hips upward and simultaneously extend the arms overhead
  • Continue to extend the hips until the legs are straight and release the medicine ball straight up in the air when the arms and legs are extended
  • Allow the medicine ball to fall to the floor, pick the medicine ball up off the floor, and repeat the exercise
  • Perform 6-10 repetitions of the exercise

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennis Ball Lifts Performance Exercise

The “Glutes” are the largest muscle group within the kinetic chain and a very powerful muscle group as it pertains to performance. Unfortunately for many athletes the glutes do not “fire” and are not “active” during sports performance. The benefits of getting the glutes to “fire” and contribute in athletic actions is of great benefit.

Improves Your: Glute Activation

Target Area: Glute Medius & Maximus

Why It’s Important: The Glutes are a driver of the lower body, active in rotary movement patterns, involved in triple extension, abduction and rotation of the hip. As a result getting the “glutes” to fire and active in movement of the kinetic chain is imperative for optimal performance.

The Common Problem: As stated above the Glutes will not be “firing” optimally during kinetic chain movement patterns. The result of such a situation is less than optimal performance, increased use of stabilizers and neutralizers during movement patterns, an increase in potential injury, and lower athletic outputs.

Solution: The implementation of corrective exercises in the beginning stages of an athlete’s training program to promote glute activation.

Tennis Ball Lifts with Medicine Ball

Tennis Ball Lifts

Set Up:

  • Lie with your back flat on the floor, knees bent, and feet together
  • Position the right foot on top of a medicine ball
  • Place a tennis ball on the front side of the left hip and pull the left knee in towards your chest
  • Continue to pull the left knee towards your chest until the tennis ball is secured in the hip

 

Action:

  • Slowly elevate the hips off the floor by pressing through the right foot into the medicine ball
  • During the elevation of the hips keep the left knee pressed towards your chest and the tennis ball in place
  • Continue to elevate the hips upward to a position inline with your shoulders and right knee
  • Return to the starting position of the exercise, keeping the tennis in position and 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 renown Titleist Performance Institute.

 

 

Power Development Guidelines for Sport Performance

The development of speed, power, and the ability to change direction in sport requires the athlete to generate high force output levels in a short amount of time. The ability to create maximum performance in these aforementioned sport components requires power. Power is in the most basic terms strength plus speed. The ability of the strength and conditioning professional to develops these components within the kinetic chain can exponentially increase the performance parameters of the athlete in their chosen sport.

Power training develops the ability of the kinetic chain to generate maximum force outputs in a minimal amount of time. This process is achieved through modalities typically classified as plyometrics (neuromuscular reactive training) or Olympic Lifting. The stretch shortening cycle is the key component within both of the aforementioned training modalities of power development.

Hang Clean 2

The stretch shortening cycle as stated previously is an eccentric muscular action where a muscle is lengthened, followed immediately by a concentric muscular action where force production is enhanced. Through the utilization of the stretch shortening cycle within power training the fitness professional can enhance the rate of force production, increase motor unit recruitment, motor unit firing frequency, and synchronization (Michael Clark, Integrated Training for the New Millennium, 198).

It is also important to note traditional weight training where high loads are executed for a specified number of repetitions increases strength and hypertrophy, but does not adequately increase the maximum power outputs of the kinetic chain.

As result it is necessary to implement power developmental modalities to increase the rate of force production required in the explosive muscular contractions of most athletic activities. In order for the strength and conditioning professional to accomplish this requirement successfully it is imperative to understand the three phases involved in the power training exercises which are: The eccentric phase, the amortization phase, and the concentric phase.

Eccentric Phase

The eccentric phase of power training modalities is classified as the time frame within the exercise where potential energy is stored within the muscle(s) due to a pre-stretch or active elongation of the muscle(s) (Donald Chu, Jumping into Plyometrics, 3). The potential energy stored within the muscle fibers during the eccentric phase will be exploited within the concentric phase of the exercise.

Amorization Phase

The amortization phase is classified as the time between the eccentric and concentric phase of plyometric training. The amortization phase is characterized by dynamic stabilization of the kinetic chain prior to concentric muscular contractions. In addition research indicates a prolonged amortization phase results in less than optimal neuromuscular efficiency, a loss in potential energy, and overall decreases in power production. As a result of this research the more speedily an individual can move from the eccentric to concentric phase, the larger amount of force production that will occur from the exercise.

Concentric Phase

The concentric phase of power training is classified as the phase in which force production occurs via the neuromuscular system. The concentric phase follows the eccentric and amortization phases of such training modalities.

Power Training Mechanisms

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine research indicates power-training modalities improve the rate of force production via three different mechanisms. These mechanisms are as follows: 1) Increased Muscle Spindle Activity, 2) Golgi Tendon Desensitization, and 3) Improve neuromuscular efficiency.

  • Increased Muscle Spindle Activity – Contractile speed is governed and limited by the neuromuscular system. The faster a muscle is loaded eccentrically, the greater concentric force production regardless of strength (Michael Clark, Integrated Training for the New Millennium, 203).
  • Golgi Tendon Desensitization – The golgi tendon organ is sensitive to both change in tension and rate of tension change that directly affects muscular inhibition. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine desensitization the golgi tendon increases the stimulation threshold of muscular inhibition allowing for increased force production with a greater load applied onto the kinetic chain.
  • Improved Neuromuscular Efficiency – Plyometrics, Olympic Lifting, and power training improves force production through enhancing the ability of the nervous system to react at maximum velocity to the eccentric action of the stretch-shortening cycle (Michael Clark, Integrated Training for the New Millennium, 203). This in turn allows for maximum force production during the concentric contraction.

Plyometric Training

Plyometrics as stated previously is one type of modality utilized in the development of power within the kinetic chain. Plyometrics are a category of exercises enabling a muscle to reach maximum force in as short a time as possible (Thomas Baechle, Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, 319). Plyometrics incorporate the force of gravity to store potential energy within the muscles. This occurs during the eccentric phase of such exercises. This energy is then used immediately after a brief amortization phase in the opposite direction during the concentric phase of the exercise.

The box jump plyometric exercise is a simple example where these components of such exercises can be easily understood. Standing on top of the box is the starting point of this exercise. The next step is jumping off the box where gravity will pull you down to the floor. At this juncture of the exercise potential energy is being stored as your feet come in contact with the floor and the musculature of the lower body elongates. Immediately following this brief contact time on the floor, you will jump forcefully upward through a series of concentric contractions by the musculature of the lower body. The potential energy stored within your musculature is utilized and transferred to kinetic energy during the concentric muscular actions of jumping off the floor, thus increasing the force outputs of the jump.

Plyometric exercises are typically classified into lower body and upper body exercises. Lower body plyometrics commonly referred to as jump training utilize gravity and the stretch-shortening cycle in conjunction with jumps, hops, and bounding whereas upper body plyometric exercises are characterized by throws, catches, and pushes often times utilizing a medicine ball within the exercise.

Plyometrics and power training in general are similar to resistance training in that both utilize the principles of progression, overload, and cross-specificity. As a result, it is necessary for the fitness professional to implement exercises in a systematic manner to continually challenge the neuromuscular system of the kinetic chain cross-specifically to the athlete’s chosen sport.

Olympic Lifting

Olympic Lifting is comprised of the clean and jerk and snatch lifts. Both of these lifts are very technically orientated for proper execution. As a result, hybrids and partial movements of these two lifts are commonly utilized in the development of power within the kinetic chain. The hang clean, push press, hang snatch, and single arm dumbbell snatch are examples of hybrids or partials.

Olympic lifting recruits the entire kinetic chain, encompasses the stretch shortening cycle, necessitates stabilization of the kinetic chain during execution, develops high levels of rapid muscle fiber activation, and increases force production within the neuromuscular system. As a result the inclusion of Olympic Lifts is very beneficial in the development of power production within the kinetic chain.

Systematic Training

A comprehensive conditioning program should follow a systemic and structured approach to the development of power within the musculature system. The processes by which this goal is achieved is through sequential training stages, where modalities are implemented in a progressive manner to continually challenge the physical qualities of the kinetic chain.

Systematic training for the power development utilizes a progressive four-tier system. Each tier within the system incrementally increases the training intensity and incorporates more challenging exercise modalities to progressively improve the rate of force production, neuromuscular efficiency, and coordination within the kinetic chain.

Characteristics of modalities utilized in a systematic training program for power development are exercises which are: multi-planar, multi-faceted, multi-joint, proprioceptively enriched, speed orientated, integrated, progressive, require rapid rates of force production, and are generally cross specific to movement patterns of the golf swing.

Sequence Continuum 

The development of stabilization, strength, and power within the musculature of the kinetic chain requires adherence to a system of progressively challenging the neuromuscular system with the appropriate training modality for the fitness professional’s client. This systematic progression of training modalities creates maximal training response within the client. A progressive and sequenced training continuum for the athlete typically begins with stabilization training, progresses to strength training, and is completed with power development.

Potentiation Effect

The potentiation effect is based on research indicating the combination of functional strength training in conjunction with power exercises results in the greatest recruitment of Type IIB muscles fibers. The benefit of this training mode is improved power outputs and overall increases in the rate of force development within the kinetic chain (Dr. Greg Rose, Titleist Performance Manual 184).

Summary

This information provides the strength and conditioning professional the general characteristics of power training for sport. Understanding the differing modalities and mechanisms by which power training improves the force outputs of the kinetic chain, and supplies the underlying structure for the creation of power developmental programs for athletes.

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.

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

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

Newell, S. 2001 Assessing and Improving Your Game, Faults and Fixes in The Golf Instruction Manual, edited by S. O’Connor and M. Ellis. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersly

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

 

Side Plank Core Stabilization Performance Exercise

The ability of the core anatomy to transfer energy from the lower extremities to the upper body, maintain postural positions, and oppose external forces is imperative to sports performance. The greater efficiency by which the kinetic chain can fulfill these requirements of sports the greater potential for success by the athlete.

Improves Your: Core Stabilization & Anti-Rotation Capacities

Target Area: Musculature of the Core

Why Its’ Important: As stated above the majority of sports require a transfer of energy generated by the lower body to the upper extremities. In order to complete this requirement of sport it is necessary for the core anatomy to have a base of strength, endurance, and inter/intra-muscular coordination. In addition, sport often requires the athlete to maintain specific postural positions and oppose external forces. To complete this requirement the core anatomy must have the ability to oppose rotation and have the capacity to stabilize the kinetic chain in the required postural positions.

The Common Problem: Many athletes lack the core stabilization capacities, ability to maintain postural positioning, and the intra/inter-muscle coordination within the core anatomy to maximize efficiency with their sport. This decreases the level of athleticism, potential for success in ones chosen sport, and can increase the potential for injury.

Solution: The implementation of a comprehensive core anatomy conditioning program where the stabilization, strength, endurance, coordination, anti-rotation, and rotational capacities are developed.

Side Plank

Side Press Up

Set Up:

  • Position right side of body in contact with the floor positioning right elbow directly under shoulder
  • Extend legs straight and left arm straight

Action:

  • Elevate hips upward to a position in-line with the shoulders and feet
  • Do not allow hips to “sag”
  • Hold Position for 30-60 seconds and repeat on opposite side

 

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.

 

 

Box Jumps Power Performance Exercise

The generation of power from the lower body is integral as it pertains to speed development, triple extension, ground reaction forces, and the translation of energy through the kinetic chain. Athletic performance in the majority of sports require lower body power and as a result the development of lower body power is a cornerstone of any strength and conditioning program.

Improves Your: Lower Body Push Power & Deceleration

Target Area: Musculature of Lower Body

Why Its’ Important: The generation of speed in most any sport begins with ground reaction forces, triple extension of the ankle, knee, and hip or the transfer of energy from the lower extremities to the upper body. To maximize speed generation is it is imperative the musculature of the lower body have the ability to generate power.

The Common Problem: A lack of lower body strength and power can diminish the about of speed generated by the kinetic chain. This will invariably decrease an athlete’s ability in competition to a certain degree. In addition, low power outputs from the entire kinetic chain limit lower speed in throwing and striking athletes. Top to bottom limitations in lower body power outputs decrease the overall performances of the athlete.

Solution: The implementation of lower body power development exercises in the form of plyometrics, Olympic lifts, of hybrids of Olympic lifts can invariably increase the overall power outputs of the kinetic chain. This type of training implemented in the correct progressions can over time improve the potential to generate increase level of power and speed by the athlete during competition.

Box Jumps

Sean Cochran - Junior Golf Exercise Book

Set Up:

  • Stand upright in front of a 6, 12, or 18-inch step up box. Place the feet shoulder width apart and approximately 1-2 feet away from the box.
  • Bend the knees slightly, torso upright, and arms resting at your sides.

 

Action:

  • Bend the knees slightly, extend the arms behind the torso, and jump up onto the box with both feet. Land softly onto the box by bending both knees during the landing of the jump.
  • Step back down off the box and repeat. Perform 6-10 jumps and pay strict attention to technique.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Core Performance Training Guidelines

The core is an integral part of performance training as this anatomical area of the kinetic chain is integral in the stabilization of kinetic chain during athletic actions, a generator of rotary power, and integral in the transfer of kinetic energy from lower extremities to the upper body.

Recognition of the importance this anatomical section of the body plays in athletics it is imperative the development of the core consists of a comprehensive series of training modalities. These training modalities will focus on developing neuromuscular control, stabilization, strength, endurance, and power within the structures of this anatomical area of the kinetic chain.

Core Anatomy

Neuromuscular control is the ability of the kinetic chain to work synergistically to produce force and reduce force and transfer energy efficiently. Neuromuscular control is based upon the stabilization capacities of the core musculature and entire kinetic chain. Stabilization can be defined as the ability of the kinetic chain to maintain the required postural positions during integrated functional movement patterns.

Stabilization of the kinetic chain is centered upon the core and development of neuromuscular strength, endurance, and power. Strength is the ability of the muscular system to produce the required levels of force to complete the required functional movement. Endurance is the potential of the kinetic chain to perform a repetitive movement pattern without neuromuscular fatigue, and power is the capacity of the neuromuscular system to produce the greatest amount of force in a short amount of time.

The development of stability, strength, endurance, and power within the core requires the adherence to specified training principles and guidelines. Knowledge of these principles will provide the fitness professional the ability to implement core training strategies to advance the proficiency at which the kinetic chain of the golfer has the ability to execute the biomechanics of the golf swing.

Time Under Tension

Time under tension is a training modality in which a specified anatomical position is maintained for a time period of 10 – 45 seconds. This process facilitates the isometric contraction of the stabilizing musculature of the lumbo/pelvic/hip complex. Benefits of this training modality are improved contractile properties, increased stabilization strength, endurance, and intramuscular coordination.

Muscle Contractile Range

Integrated functional movement of the kinetic chain occurs through the process of force production and force reduction, and stabilization by the muscular system. The process by which the neuromuscular system creates and decreases force, and develops stabilization is through concentric, eccentric, and isometric neuromuscular contractions. A comprehensive core program should consist of modalities developing the entire aforementioned contractile range of the muscular system.

Systematic Training

A comprehensive core program should follow a systemic and structured approach to the development of the core musculature. The processes by which this goal is achieved is through sequential training stages, where modalities are implemented in a progressive manner to continually challenge the physical qualities of the kinetic chain.

Sequence Continuum

The development of neuromuscular control, stabilization, strength, endurance, and power within the core musculature requires adherence to a system of progressively challenging the neuromuscular system with the appropriate training modality for the fitness professional’s client. This systematic progression of training modalities creates maximal training response within the client. A progressive and sequenced training continuum for the core begins with stabilization training, progresses to strength and endurance exercises, and is completed with power development.

Integrated Movement Training

The goal of the fitness professional within the implementation of core training modalities is to provide the client with proprioceptively rich and challenging exercises. Training modalities and exercises for core development should integrate the entire core muscular utilizing exercises that are: 1) Multi-planar, 2) incorporate the entire contractile range of muscular system, 3) consist of varying muscular firing rates, and 4) include manipulation of multiple training variables (load, intensity, duration).

The information provided in this article demonstrates the unique characteristics of core stabilization training. . These components allow for the development of the stabilization, strength, endurance, and power components of the core. A sound understanding of these principles by the fitness professional and adherence to these guidelines lays the groundwork for the implementation of core exercises and modalities for enhanced sports performance.

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.

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

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

Newell, S. 2001 Assessing and Improving Your Game, Faults and Fixes in The Golf Instruction Manual, edited by S. O’Connor and M. Ellis. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersly

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medicine Ball Power Drops Performance Exercise

The generation of power from the kinetic chain is imperative in sports performance. Speed, agility, and overall athletic performance is dependent upon this component. That being said, regardless of sport, power development is a key component of any strength and conditioning program.

Improves Your: Upper Body Push Power

Target Area: Prime Movers of the Shoulder Joint

Why Its’ Important: Power generation is strength plus speed. It is necessary to develop both of these components within the kinetic chain. Differing modalities address each of these components. Speed generation can be increase via a number of different modalities incorporating jump training, plyometrics, and Olympic lifting.

The Common Problem: Athletes will lack the ability to generate power thus decreasing overall performance. An athlete may develop high levels of muscular strength but ignore the “speed” component of power development. As a result, power outputs are less than optimal since only one variable of the “power” equation has been addressed. It is imperative a number of different modalities training both the strength and speed components are enveloped in a comprehensive strength and conditioning program.

Solution: The strength and conditioning practitioner during program design and implementation of a training program should incorporate exercises to develop both the strength aspects and speed (i.e. power) of the kinetic chain. This type of training template over time will develop and increase the power outputs of the athlete.

Medicine Ball Power Drops

Medicine Ball Power Drop

Set Up:

  • Position yourself with your back on the floor and legs straight
  • Grasp a 4-8 lb. medicine ball with both hands at chest level.

Action:

  • Explosively extend the arms upward propelling the medicine ball into the air
  •  Propel the medicine ball upward with both arms providing equal amounts of force.
  • Catch the medicine ball with both hands, return to the starting position of the exercise and repeat for 8-10 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 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 renown Titleist Performance Institute.

 

Functional Anatomy of the Hip Complex

The Hip Complex is an oft discussed anatomical area of the kinetic chain when discussing performance training. I recall sitting on a discussion board with Mark Verstegan of Athlete’s Performance a few years ago and question came from the audience on the importance of the hips relative to performance training.

Mark began answering the question by stating the hip joint within the kinetic chain consists of over 20 muscular attachments. Just recognizing this statement in of itself points to the importance of this joint relative to human movement. If we pause for a moment and think about the hips, the number of soft tissues associated with this joint, and the requirements of the hips relative to human movement, it is imperative the health and fitness professional understand the anatomy associated with this joint.

The articular structures comprising the hip are the pelvis and femur. The hip joint is classified as a ball and socket joint. The structure of the hip joint provides for a high range of motion with the femur circumventing through a 360 degree circle. The femur can also rotate 90 degrees its axis. (Inner Body, Hip Joint. www.innerbody.com)

Hip Joint 3

Once we understand the articular structures of the hip complex we can move onto the functional anatomy of this joint. I often reference Michael Clark of the National Academy of Sports Medicine when we begin to discuss functional anatomy. What we must recognize is functional anatomy is very different than the anatomy we learned in college. In general anatomy was typically discussed in a state of independent joints within the kinetic chain. For example, the knee joint is a hinge joint and the hamstring complex on the posterior side of the kinetic chain was an active flexor of this joint.

We know from a functional anatomical perspective the hamstring complex is involved in much more than just flexion of the knee. These soft tissues are responsible for deceleration in the gait pattern, extension of the hip, and stabilization of both the knee and hip. That being said, understanding the functional anatomy of the hip is imperative in performance training regardless of the clientele base you are training.

A number of muscle groups are associated with the hip complex, and as a result it is necessary to review each individual muscle group in order to understand the functioning of these soft tissues relative to hip complex.

Anterior Upper Leg

The anterior upper leg contains the Quadriceps; a grouping of five individual muscles. The rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and vastus medialis comprise the quadriceps. The Sartorius and Iliopsoas are additionly found in the anterior portion of the upper leg. The rectus femoris is a primary extensor of the knee and the rectus femoris is a flexor of the hip. The sarotius is a flexor and rotator of the hip in addition to flexion of the knee. The iliopsoas is a strong hip flexor. The integrated function of the quadriceps, sartoirus, and iliopsoas is stabilization of the knee and hip, deceleration of knee flexion, abduction, internal rotation, and deceleration of hip extension.

Posterior Upper Leg

The Hamstrings are the primary grouping of muscles of the posterior upper leg. The hamstrings are comprised of the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. The hamstring complex is an extensor of the hip joint and a flexor of the knee. The integrated function of the hamstrings is as stabilizers of both the hip and knee during movement and decelerators of knee extension.

Medial Upper Leg

The medial upper leg consists primarily of the Adductors of the hip and leg. The pectineus, adductor longus, brevis, magnus, and gracilias are the primary musculature of the medial thigh responsible for adducting, flexing, and internally rotating of the femur. Internal rotation is of primary importance in the golf swing to properly rotate in the backswing and downswing. Restrictions in mobility or stability within these muscles can adversely affect the golf swing. In addition, the adductor complex stabilizes the hip and acts as a decelerator of hip flexion.

Gluteal Region

The gluteal region is comprised of the musculature of the posterior and lateral portions of the pelvis and upper leg. The Gluteal muscles are comprised of the gluteus maximus, medius, minimus and are arranged in three layers. The gluteus maximus is the most superficial of the three muscles and is a primary extensor, and lateral rotator of the hip. The gluteus medius is located laterally on the hip. It creates abduction, and medial rotation of the hip in addition to stabilizing the pelvis. The gluteus minimus is the deepest layer of the three gluteal muscles and is an abductor, medial rotator, and stabilizer of the hip. The gluteals are commonly referred to as the ‘kings’ of the golf swing because of their primary involvement in every phase of the golf swing. Internal rotation, external rotation, stabilization, and rotary speed development are the responsibilities of the gluteals during the golf swing.

The Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL), Iliotibial Tract (IT Band), and Piriformis are the additional structures found within the posterior pelvis and lateral upper leg. The TFL, located next to gluteus medius, assists in abduction of the thigh, internal and medial rotation, and flexion of the hip. The TFL, in addition, is a stabilizer of both the hip and knee. The IT Band is comprised of fascia and runs longitudinally from the iliac crest to the tibia and assists in stabilization of the knee. The piriformis originates at the sacrum and inserts on the greater trochanter are a lateral rotator and abductor of the femur. The piriformis in concert with a series of additional muscles provide stabilization of the pelvis, assistance in hip extension, and deceleration of internal rotation.

Recognizing the functional anatomy of the hip complex provides the health and fitness professional a foundation by which to develop comprehensive training programs for their clientele. Obviously, a number of additional requirements are needed in the development of such programming but functional anatomy is definitively a base by which this type of programming can be developed.

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 renown 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

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

Newell, S. 2001 Assessing and Improving Your Game, Faults and Fixes in The Golf Instruction Manual, edited by S. O’Connor and M. Ellis. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersly

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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