Random Thoughts: February Edition

Here are 10 quick and random thoughts that have been floating around my brain recently. If nothing else I hope it makes you think a little. Enjoy!

1. Athletes need to learn how to land before you worry about learning how to jump.

2. Just because an exercise doesn’t elicit pain it doesn’t mean it isn’t causing an issue. Great examples of this would be traditional bench press with an overhead athlete or bilateral squatting with a hockey player (hockey players are highly likely to have FAI issues).

3. Piggybacking off the previous thought, I don’t see any reason to do a lot of traditional pressing movements with overhead athletes. Kettlebell Bottoms Up Presses, Landmine Presses, various dumbbell movements and Push Ups can get the job done and are considerably safer.

4. For a long while I have been a big fan of the barbell bridge as I thought it was a great way to train hip extension in a dummy-proof way. I think I was wrong. If done correctly I think the barbell bridge is a good movement, but I think far too many people turn it into a lumbar extension pattern instead of a glute/hip extension pattern. From personal experience, I would always get a little bit of low back pain the days following using the movement and I could never figure out why. I think elevating the shoulders and performing 1-leg bridges loaded with chains/sanbags/whatever else you have at your disposal is a better bet.

5. Everything done in the weight room needs to be purposeful. As a field we spend way too much time doing things that don’t really make a bit of difference to sport performance or injury prevention.

6. Most of the athletes we coach don’t need anything more then the basic movements. They may be elite athletes, but generally speaking they aren’t elite lifters.

7. I think heavy bilateral lifting is great for straight ahead and vertical force production but isn’t great for any type of change of direction. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, I’m just saying I don’t think the end-all be-all that people want to make it out to be. Absorbing force and creating force on one leg in the frontal plane just isn’t the same as absorbing force and creating force on two legs in the sagittal plane. Eric Cressey preaches that power is plane specific and as usual, I think he’s probably right.

8. The most important muscle to the core is the diaphragm. It has a huge effect on movement and plays a key role in stabilizing the spine amongst many other things. I think adding some sort of diaphragmatic breathing to all training sessions is becoming close to non-negotiable.

9. I think it’s critical that athletes need to be strong relative to their own bodyweight. And I think the two best and simplest indicators of this are chin ups and vertical jump. I’m willing to be there is a strong correlation between a teams best performers at their sport and their ability to perform chin ups.

10. People don’t say ‘thank you’ enough.

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