‘The Anatomy’ of Sport Programs

Athletic preparation should come in different forms, when thinking about the phases of mesocycles within a macrocycle in a calendar year, as well as the stage of development over an athletes’ career. Not withstanding that there are many factors which need to be considered, including (but not limited to):

PROMOTERS

  • Engineered Recovery
  • Sleep Strategy
  • Wake Up Strategy
  • Self Care
  • Joint Strengthening
  • Dietary Considerations (anti-inflammatory diet)
  • Meditation/Reflection
  • Positive Relationships
  • Etc.

DISRUPTORS

  • Faulty Neural Patterns
  • Mechanical Stress Unrelated to Sport
  • Poor Lifestyle
  • Poor Sleep
  • Chronic Over-Reaching (and lack of recovery)
  • Travel Requirements (time zone changes)
  • Stage of Season
  • Cumulative Stress (allostatic load)
  • Dietary Considerations (pro-inflammatory diet)
  • Pollutants
  • Toxicity from Environment
  • Etc.

This article provides a short overview on some key considerations when preparing and challenging an athlete to adapt to become more resilient and perform with more effectiveness.



PREPARATION:

1. Breathing (Deep Core Activation) – through ‘Force Breathing’

2. Eye Activation – through ‘Visual Tracking’

3. Foot Activation – through ‘Ground Reaction’

4. Hip Activation – through ‘Articular Motions’

5. Thoracic Spine Activation – through ’Type 1 and 2 Motion’

PERFORMANCE:

1. Power – Accelerations -> Decelerations -> Conversions 

2A. Strength – Starting 

2B. Strength – Odd Position

2C. Strength – Endurance

3. SAQ/ESD – through ‘Rhythmical Action’


By providing these training considerations to the athlete with ViPR PRO, the goal is that these perturbations will allow optimized adaptations to the requirements of sport.


PREPARATION:

1. Breathing (Deep Core Activation) through ‘Force Breathing’

Breathing is not only critical for life itself, the many mechanisms of breathing are related to deep, intrinsic core stabilization. Since muscles are task specific, and synergistic, the use of breathing to elicit core preparation is vital for athletic development. We use 2 primary breathing methods:

Forced Inhalation and Exhalation

Forced Inhalation and Forced Exhalation suggest breathing in and out to the maximum comfort level. In other words, pushing air out maximally under labored efforts, or bringing air into the lungs, under labored efforts. Both should be forced, but remain within a person’s capabilities. 

Forced Breathing incorporate accessory breathing muscles, which are primarily Type 1 stabilization muscles. We us forced breathing techniques to up-regulate deep core activation and motor unit coordination, to complete an athlete’s preparatory protocol.

2. Eye Activation through ‘Visual Tracking’

Visual training in preparation is essential for any athlete. Oculomotor stimulation will affect motor control, coordination, sensory/motor input, awareness and chemical change within the body. The 2nd and 3rd cranial nerves, along with the Iris, control the eyes and eye function. Inclusion of these all important nerves and small muscles are critical to the success of athletic performance. See how Rory Mclroy & Connor Hellebuyck prepare and perform with their eyes.

3. Foot Activation through ‘Ground Reaction’

The first derivatives of power is immediate metabolic substrates and ground reaction. Success and optimization of ground reaction force lies with foot strength, surface area, and pre-stress. This simple drill is more complex than it looks because the foot is vital for performance in land-based athletes.  This drill optimizes foot strength, surface area/splay, and tensile foot strength.

4. Hip Activation through ‘Articular Motions’

The musculature and neurology of the hip influences the well-being and performance of the foot, knee, and lower back. Proper preparation must include special consideration to concentric, eccentric, and isometric action of the hip in all planes of motion.

5. Thoracic Spine Activation through ’Type 1 and 2 Motion’

Proper body rotation emanates from the T-Spine, hips, and feet. The thoracic spine is the only area of the spine that is both anatomically stable and most mobile in the transverse plane. Increasing mobility of the thoracic spine consequently stretches its rotational potential, while freeing up the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) to more degrees of freedom.

PERFORMANCE:

1. POWER Accelerations -> Decelerations -> Conversions

Power is the ability to rapidly generate high levels of force in a specific movement pattern. This demands a highly coordinated response from the neuromuscular system to produce the required movement, and high levels of tissue resilience to produce and transfer force. Explosive Strength (i.e. Power) can be trained at low-to-high loads (40-85% 1RM) for 3-5 repetitions with moderate-to-high rest intervals (90-300 seconds). The goal of power is to attempt to move mass as fast and violent as possible.

Power drills may be broken down into Accelerations (this is where the muscles ‘act’ through a nervous system action potential, which facilitates an adaptation in quick signaling transmission of a nerve impulse), then to Decelerations (this is where the muscles ‘get acted upon’ in response to an eccentric load. Both motor and neural coordination must be present for success in deceleration, thus making this an important progression), and finally Conversions (this is the plyometric ‘load to unload’, which takes advantage of the stretch shortening cycle of muscle, fascia and skin). For more complex considerations, both Speed Strength and Strength Speed can be incorporated here (this will be expanded upon in later blogs).

2. STRENGTH

2A. STARTING STRENGTH  

Starting Strength is the ability to produce high levels of force with less contribution from the elastic components of connective tissue, beginning from a stationary position with little initial motion (i.e. ‘dead’ positions), and creating only a small mechanical pre-stretch. This is exhibited when moving from relaxed positions as seen in  ground-to-standing movement (e.g., deadlifts, turkish getup), and pre-set positions such as most sprint starts and olympic lift pulling patterns.

 2B. ODD POSITION STRENGTH  

Odd Position Strength is the ability to generate purposeful force from ‘uncommon’ body positions. Activities of life and sport often require proficiency in specific and less than common postures. To excel at sport, one must consider and adopt patterns that are variable and omni-directional. This is to say ‘odd’. Odd Position Strength can  be trained from various body orientations (standing through ground-based) for a variety of tissue responses.

 2C. ENDURANCE STRENGTH 

Strength Endurance is the ability to produce and sustain muscle contractions for an extended period of time. It is specific to the tissues involved, movement patterns and time under tension. Strength-endurance is typically trained at low-to-moderate loads for high repetitions with relatively short recovery intervals to improve the anaerobic buffering and aerobic efficiency of the involved tissue.

 3. SAQ/ESD through ‘Rhythmical Action’  

SAQ/ESD Drills are designed to rapidly excite the nervous system, while exhausting immediate substrates. This will create a nervous adaptation to better coordinate movement tasks, while flooding the body with metabolites (i.e. Fatigue), forcing the systems of the body to buffer, efflux and otherwise deal with accumulations of fatigue. In sports which require undulating energy utilization, these drills are a must.


By following this basic model of Preparation and Performance, key aspect of adaptation will be fostered. It should be noted that each athlete has specific and unique needs and outcomes, and as the athlete develops, progressions must be considered in order to push the athlete to over-reach. The above, however, gives a basis for growth to the athlete that allows he or she to excel.


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