Archive for the Injuries Category

The Joint by Joint Approach to Training

Posted in Core training, Injuries, Low Back Pain, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Uncategorized with tags on February 2, 2016 by mboyle1959

I’m not sure when I wrote this but, I’m going to say 2007. It was originally a T-Nation piece. Others have “borrowed” from this thought process so often that many of you may have missed the original article. In the process of writing The New Functional Training for Sports I realized this would be a good “repost”.

“We get old too soon and smart too late.” Swedish Proverb My good friend, Physical Therapist Gray Cook, has a gift for simplifying complex topics. I envy his ability to succinctly take a complicated thought process and make the idea appear simple. In a recent conversation about the effect of training on the body, Cook produced one of the most lucid thought processes I have ever heard.

to finish reading A Joint by Joint Approach to Training on StrengthCoach.com, click here

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ACL Injury Prevention is Just Good Training

Posted in Injuries, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on January 28, 2016 by mboyle1959

I wrote this a few years ago for http://www.strengthcoach.com

Is ACL injury prevention just good training? I think so. The program we use for ACL injury prevention is actually the same program we use with everyone! The truth is ACL injury prevention programs often consist more of packaging than new concepts. Calling a program an ACL prevention program may be nothing more than a way into the head of the athletic trainer, physical therapist or coach. But, if that’s what it takes, I’m all for it. However, as coaches we have to realize that we should be practicing great injury prevention concepts with all our athletes and our weekend warriors.

Because female athletes are much more likely to be injured, those who coach female athletes tend to be more interested in the concept of ACL injury prevention. However, obviously both genders can be injured. In fact, estimates run to over 100,000 ACL tears per year, with 30,000 of them high school age females. In any case, coaches should still practice these injury reduction concepts with both male and female athletes. Then again, ACL injury prevention may be the thought that gets your women’s basketball coach to buy into the program.

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More On Why We Don’t Squat

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags on January 23, 2016 by mboyle1959

A recent thread on our StrengthCoach.com site made me realize I need to continue to write about why we don’t squat. I still don’t think people realize that my decision to stop doing back and front squats was not a knee jerk, attention grabbing ploy but rather the culmination of a twenty year long thought process. Our changes were based on years of lifting, coaching and observation. Our decision to switch to unilateral exercises was based on three thoughts:

1- Number of back issues we were seeing in our groups. Our number one mandate is “do no harm”. Although we did not have many serious back issues I would say at any given time in our collegiate strength program a minimum of 10-20 percent of our athletes would be dealing with back pain that limited the athlete and caused us to modify their training. I struggled to accept the idea that some peoples back were just going to hurt.

2- Number of athletes trained in a group environment. This is important. Any change in our programming has to be wholesale. You can’t run a collegiate strength and conditioning program or a private one without a philosophy. I felt we either going to use the back squat or front squat as a major lift or we weren’t. Any in between was going to cause problems. In our “monkey see, monkey do” world it is tough to explain to athletes why some will use one lift and others will not. What we do with one person effects everyone else in the facility. You can’t let someone squat and then someone else not. It just creates problems.

3- The “functional” thought process. Although some might view this as most important, the previous two occupied more of my thought process early on. However, it’s tough to avoid the idea that we primarily run and jump off one leg?

My decision to switch to a program of primarily unilateral exercises is really about psychology and group think. I think squatting might be fine if you only did personal training and no one ever saw anyone else train.

However I’m not sure how realistic that is.

Lets be honest, there is a real minority of people who are naturally good squatters. I’d liken it to a Bell Curve. 20% were made to do it and do it right the first time. 20% are awful and will probably never do it well. 60% are somewhere on the curve?

It’s 80-20 in reverse. ( This is the start of another article/ blog post I think). 80 percent of people you will deal with will have trouble squatting. The remaining 20% who squat well will then spend lots of time criticizing those of us who acknowledge the 80%.  Just remember, it’s rarely  a bad squatter with back pain who is advocating squatting.

7 Days to the MBSC Winter Seminar

Posted in Core training, Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Seminars, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates with tags on January 9, 2016 by mboyle1959

The MBSC Winter Seminar is only 7 days away. Have you signed up yet? I can guarantee you that Ana Hartmann’s talk will be worth the time invested all by itself.

Do you know that  being barefoot may be the key to low back health?

Have you ever thought of shoes as “sensory deprivation chambers for the feet’?

Ana’s talk was our best in-service in years and we are bringing her back to MBSC next Saturday to share her info with you. In addition, you’ll get talks from me ( 25 Mistakes, 25 Years), Kevin Carr, and Marco Sanchez as well as a great hands -on afternoon.

Sign up here http://www.bodybyboyle.com/seminar 

How Strong is Strong?

Posted in Hockey, Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training on January 5, 2016 by mboyle1959

This is one of my favorite articles…

It’s interesting, ask a strength coach what a good bench press is for a 200 lb male and chances are you’ll get a good answer. Maybe everyone won’t be in agreement but, everyone will have an opinion. Ask a good strength coach what constitutes good single leg strength or good vertical pulling strength and I don’t think you’ll get the same level of agreement or, if everyone will even have an answer. The answer might even be something like “what do you mean?” Last spring and summer I set out to answer both questions. How much single leg strength and upper back strength are actually possible? I think if you are going to train, you need a goal. If we are going to train for strength, we need to know what strong is. The four-minute mile is a great example. In 1957 Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. On that day he broke a twelve year old record. By the end of 1957 sixteen runners had also broken the four-minute mile. It’s amazing what someone will do once they have seen that it is possible. Twelve years to break the record and sixteen followers in one year. My goal is to raise the bar on both single leg strength and upper back strength by telling the strength and conditioning world how strong strong might be….

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Progressing to Bodyweight Plyometrics

Posted in Injuries, Low Back Pain, MBSC News, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training with tags on December 30, 2015 by mboyle1959

If you are a strength and conditioning coach, you know that power matters. Plyometrics, Olympic lifting and medicine ball throws probably are used in some form in your athletes’ programs.

But, what about your adult clients? Did you know that adults need power training as much or more than athletes? Adults are losing strength and power as they age, however power is lost at a much faster rate. In fact, it’s almost twice as fast. (1.7 to be exact). What does that mean in numbers? It means that if you are losing 10% of your strength you would lose 17% of your power? When you double that loss (20 and 34%) you can see how the loss of power is quickly magnified.

So, does that mean we want to get our adult clients doing box jumps and Olympic lifting? Probably not. There is a little concept we call risk-reward or, risk-benefit. The risk of adults starting a plyometric program or trying to learn to Olympic lift may outweigh the reward? Obviously, you are going to have some adult clients that are fit and healthy and simple plyometric exercises may be fine for them.

But what about older clients, or overweight clients? How do we help these folks stop the loss of power and in fact begin to regain it?

To do this we need to defeat our big enemy, gravity. The combination of body mass and gravity can create some real problems when training older clients, overweight clients or clients that combine the two (older and overweight). We need to find a way to get these folks to move with speed but, safely. We need to find a way to reduce both weight and gravity.

totalgym

Sounds a little bit like a high school science experiment, doesn’t it? We can obviously reduce weight with diet but, that takes time. We can fight gravity by gaining strength, particularly in the lower body, but that also takes time.

Thankfully, there are two tools on the market that do in fact allow us to move with speed using loads less than bodyweight. One is the Total Gym Jump Trainer, the other is the MVP Shuttle. Having at least one of these pieces in your facility is essential if you are going to be training adult clients or, doing any type of rehab work.

The two pieces are somewhat similar. Both appear at first glance to be some version of a leg press machine but, they are far more than that. Both pieces actually allow horizontal jumping in an environment that reduces the effect of gravity.  Both also incorporate elastic bands to create resistance. For years, the MVP Shuttle was the only commercial grade piece that allowed jumping in a gravity reduced environment. Total Gym has recently entered the field with a commercial piece that has a few features not present in the MVP Shuttle.  The Total Gym Jump Trainer allows the user to move from a horizontal position toward a more vertical position.   Load can be strictly bodyweight and increased by changing the incline of the machine or, elastic bands can be added in each position. The Total Gym adjusts toward the vertical to increase the percentage of bodyweight being used.

The Total Gym Jump Trainer (as assembled for fitness) begins at 46 % at the lowest angle of 20 degrees and then adjusts up in 7 increments topping out at 78% of bodyweight at an angle of 36 degrees.  Assembled for rehab it begins at 27 % at the lowest angle of 12 degrees and then adjusts up in 7 increments topping out at 66% of bodyweight at an angle of 30 degrees. Up to 70 lbs of bungee can be added to any of these levels.
shuttle

The Shuttle instead remains basically horizontal and increases resistance via the elastic bands.

The result in both cases is that a rehab client, an older adult or an overweight client can begin to jump with loads far less than bodyweight.

Both the MVP Shuttle and the Total Gym Jump Trainer can also be used in a rehab setting to introduce single leg plyometrics to injured clients and athletes. In fact the application of both pieces is probably more limited by the imagination of the coach or trainer than by the machine itself.  An athlete returning from an ACL injury can begin jumps or hops far sooner when one of these pieces are used than would be possibly with bodyweight as the load.

Although I would not consider myself a machine person, I would go so far as to tell you that one of these two tools is an essential machine for every facility.  If you have adult clients, young clients or rehab clients I would encourage you to “test drive” one of these two pieces.

Great Stuff From the Guys at Changing the Game Project

Posted in Guest Authors, Hockey, Injuries, Strength Coach Podcast, StrengthCoach.com Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags on December 16, 2015 by mboyle1959

I DID NOT WRITE THIS. It is from the guys at Changing the Game Project. However, I do agree. My daughter went from town sports, to a select hockey team at 12 to a full college scholarship at 15. What these guys say works. My daughter did not play in a summer hockey tournament until the week before her 13th birthday. She had never been to Canada to play etc. However, she had excelled at town hockey, town soccer, and local summer swimming and diving. In addition, she had won a state judo championship. My 10 year old son plays hockey, baseball, lacrosse, flag football and rec basketball. Most of these are very inexpensive and provide great fun and great competition.

5 Ways Youth Sports gets the Math All Wrong

 
1.Youth Sports Costs Way Too Much, Way Too Soon: We are creating barriers to entry to sports that should have very few. Soccer, for example, needs a round object and some space to play. Instead, we have tryouts, “elite” clubs and travel teams for 6-7 year olds. Author Mark Hyman phrases it perfectly in the title of his great book about the cost of youth sports, The Most Expensive Game in Town. It costs thousands of dollars plus travel for some kids to play a sport that could almost be free. I am not saying that tryouts, travel, and high-level, long distance competition do not have a place in the game, but not before age 12 at the earliest. Local play and town leagues are disappearing. And worst, we have ramped up the pressure on parents to pay, coaches to produce, and kids to perform. As former NFL punter turned college professor Travis Dorsch has found in his research, our kids are acutely aware of the money we spend on sports, and it adds pressure, and takes away enjoyment for them.
2. Youth Sports Makes Poor Use of Our Kids’ Time (and Ours): Let’s compare the average day of pickup games/free play to today’s hyper-organized sporting scene. In other words, lets look at the return on investment in time.
In a pickup/free play environment, a child might walk 10 minutes on a Saturday to the park or pond to meet with friends. They organize teams and play, taking breaks every once in a while to change teams, get a drink, eat, etc. Six hours later, the child goes home. His 6.5 hour investment yields about 5.5 hours of child directed sport.
Now take our highly organized environment. A child gets in the car at 9am, and drives ninety minutes to his travel game. He arrives a minimum of one hour prior to kickoff, and a warm up commences 30 minutes prior to game time. He plays a 60 minute game, and for arguments sake he plays 40 minutes (a hockey team with 3 lines might yield 20 minutes of play or less with a coach who does not think every kid needs to play.) The coach/team spends 30 minutes changing and debriefing after the game, the player grabs a bite to eat, and he arrives home two hours later. A 5.5 hour investment of time, for one hour of play.
In a nutshell, instead of spending the vast majority of his day at play, making rules, calling fouls, playing fearlessly, and involved in self-directed learning, our kids spend most of it in a car (and so do we). We pay a lot more for a lot less time on task.
3. Ratio of Games vs. Training: Games and competitive matches certainly have their place, but our overemphasis on competition, especially at the youngest ages, is detrimental on two fronts.
First, our current environment yields a ratio of one game for one practice in many sports, which is not ideal. A well run hour of baseball practice might get every player a few dozen swings, and dozens of attempts at throwing, catching and fielding. A one-hour game might see him get 8-10 swings, and depending upon position, 3-10 additional touches of the ball. I cannot think of a sport where an athlete does not get more reps in training. Yet, at the critical ages of development, where kids need as many touches and attempts as possible, we are choosing to play competitive games that give them very few, instead of practice that will help develop technical mastery. Why do we play so many games? According to former NBA player turned youth sports advocate Bob Bigelow, “Adults want to win; kids want to play. That’s the difference. The more adult needs you add to these sports, the more adult vision, the more adult needs have to be met.”
Second, and I think this is critical; our massive emphasis on tournament play is developing slow players. Three-time World Cup soccer coach Raymond Verheijan, one of the world’s experts on periodization, training and injury prevention, first stated this idea to me. “Think about it,” he said. “In your first tournament game, everyone plays full speed, 100%. But your second game of the day, you are at 90% because of fatigue. Your third and fourth game of the weekend, you are at 80% speed. If you make the final, everyone is tired, sore, carrying injuries, and playing 70-80% of full speed. Not only are your players increasingly susceptible to injury, but in four out of your five games, they have played at a slower speed due to fatigue. Your players are rarely playing at maximum pace or making maximum decisions per minute. In a mental game like soccer, they are learning over and over to play slowly.”
4. The Age of Specialization is Way Too Young: I have written articles on this subject, and the book “Is it Wise to Specialize” so if you want more on this topic click the links. Until there is compelling science, and not simply outlier, one-in-a million examples like “look at Tiger” to show that early specialization is a better path for player development, I believe the science shows that the multi-sport pathway prior to age 12 gives your child the best chance of long term success. Outside of female figure skating and gymnastics, playing a single sport prior to the age of 12, especially when it is the decision of the parent or coach, and not the athlete, only serves to decrease ownership, enjoyment and intrinsic motivation, while increasing the risk of burnout and injury. Let your kids play multiple sports, and help them find their passion instead of trying to determine it for them.
5. Talk About College Sports Starts Too Young: As evident by the letter I received from the mom quoted above, too many coaches and parents are talking about scholarships at an age they should be talking about love of the game and developing excellence. As the mom noted, her daughter had no idea what she wanted to study, where she wanted to go to school, and likely had been to very few college campuses, yet she was being told “commit soon or else.” I have yet to meet a college coach, especially on the women’s side where the problem seems exacerbated, that likes this current system of evaluating and recruiting middle schoolers, and committing scholarships to kids 3-5 years before they will ever step on campus. Yet they also feel powerless to stop. As a result, we have a generation of college athletes heading to schools that are not the best fit, majoring in subjects they have little interest in, and transferring at a very high rate.
Its time to get the math right in youth sports. don’t you think? Here are a few steps to do so that will make it better for our kids, and better for the adults as well:
Do not force, or be forced, into having your child specialize too early. The evidence supports a multi-sport pathway.
Have your child play one sport per season, and play it with full effort and commitment.
Do not be in a hurry to get on the team that travels the farthest, or collects all the best players as soon as possible. Save your money and time until your child’s ability and desire demands it, and your family and finances can support it. Performance prior to puberty is not a great indicator of performance after it.
Find local free play opportunities, take your child and friends to the park, and let them play. Have your kids play futsal, or 3v3, do tumbling and martial arts, and build those hours on task through more efficiently through child-centered fun.
Look for quality of competition, not just quantity. Don’t be mesmerized by the coach that tells you about all the games they play, and all the tournaments they go to. Find a coach and club that talks about how much they practice, and how much every player gets to play and how they develop on their own time frame.
Stop talking about college sports too soon. Worry about your child becoming a good player, and developing a burning desire to play. College sports are hard, and demand a ton of time;, if sport is a job and not a passion, they won’t make it. Yes, some schools and sports want early commitments, but they also want great players. If your child is good, and patient, chances are she will find a school that is a much better fit then one she was in a hurry to commit to 3-4 years prior.
Let’s hit the reset button, and get the math right. Let’s start investing our precious time wisely, and our precious dollars in the right things, and at the right time. We can make the math work.
Our kids need us to.