Friday, January 20, 2012

Movement matters.

This is important, so I'll say it again: movement matters.
The biggest place people overlook movement is in the very place they should be looking at it most closely: in their warm-up.
One of the things I love about training people in racing sports is that they tend to have very consistent measurable metrics for success. I am working with a woman right now who is a master's rower. We'll call her Karin (mostly because that's her name).
I took her through an assessment and found (quite predictably for a rower) that she lacked T-spine extension and posterior activation (glutes and hamstrings). She sits. She sits at work, she sits at home, and she sits in the boat.
Just for demonstrative purposes I had her warm-up as she normally would, sit down on the ergometer and pull a 20 stroke start sequence. I asked her to pull a start and try to get as much 'distance' as she could in those 20 strokes. I kept it short because I didn't want fatigue to be a factor. I flipped the monitor back so that she couldn't see her stroke rate, her splits, watts. I was trying to isolate distance per stroke as best as possible. Then I showed her some T-spine extension drills. We did some reach roll and lifts. We did some work to activate her backside. Then we repeated the test. Same erg, same number of strokes and same sequence.
the results:
Standard warm-up: 251m
good dynamic warm-up: 303m
That's a 17% increase in distance just by warming-up properly.. once!
This is not after several weeks of corrective exercise, this is 3-4 exercises demonstrated and done for 2-3 sets, and hop back on the erg and go.
This is not a study. The plural of anecdote is not data, but it should be enough to give you pause. Where would a 17% increase in performance put you? On the podium? At the top of the podium?
Movement matters, work on yours.

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