There are many things that make each sport unique, and considerations that must be taken when preparing athlete's for each sport. However, there are also even more similarities in how training can be approached.
For example, in part 1, I discussed deceleration. Now I work with plenty of swimmers, and I was a swimmer, and you might be wondering how that could benefit them. Quite honestly, the better a swimmers landing mechanics the better of a position they can get into when pushing off the wall, and the stronger push they can produce. This is just one example of the carry over and how general training done right can benefit any athlete.
If you missed part 1 you can check it out here - 7 Things Every Athlete Should Do Pt 1
Today we're counting down to number 6 the posterior chain
6.) Posterior Chain - The posterior chain, your probably wondering what that means. Well to keep it simple I'm talking your back side. From your heels to the back of your head and everything in between. Including the glutes, especially the glutes. In fact a majority of this portion we will discuss the glutes and hamstrings.
In terms of injury prevention the posterior chain is of the utmost importance and the utmost neglected. I can not begin to describe to you how many young athletes we see coming back from a knee injury that need to work on their hips and hamstrings.
These muscles contribute immensely to deceleration mechanics. It's really hard for an athlete to land properly or stop quickly when these muscles are not up to snuff. Typically when they aren't working what will happen is as the athlete slows down the femur (thigh bone) will shift forward while the tibia (shin bone) stays put. All this wear and tear can eventually cause the ligaments holding these bones to snap. Think ACL. Now when the hamstrings are working they'll counteract this shift in order to reduce the wear and tear, and when the glutes are working they'll then absorb most the force. Granted this was a really oversimplified explanation but I think you get the idea.
I know, many of you reading this might not care too much about the injury prevention but want to know more about performance. Well the posterior chain is huge in aiding in performance as well. Fun fact of the day, the glutes are the largest muscle group in your body. So it stands to reason that when they are strong, they're going to drastically make you more beastly. Not to mention they are vital in putting force into the ground whenever running and jumping.
Just to give the back muscles a little loving, these go a long way in helping build a strong posture, and in supporting your front side core. When these muscles are working your shoulders will stay healthy, and when your low back musculature is strong it will go a long way in simply protecting your low back. Plus for the fellas out there you'll start to look like Bane or Cory.
Basically the posterior chain is great, and several exercises you can do that will help build it up include;
- Hip Bridges
- Glute Ham Raises
- Good Mornings
- Side Lunges
- Split Squats
- Reverse Hypers
- Any Type of Horizontal Upperbody Pulling (Think Rows)
*I left out vertical pulling, because, while I completely believe it's extremely important these tend to be done a lot already and often times improperly. As a result they end up hindering posture and shoulder health rather than helping it. But that's another post for another time*
But training the posterior chain for injury prevention and performance purposes isn't enough. Athletes also need to train and strengthen in stability. That's why in part 3 we'll talk about single leg movements.
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