More of What I Learned at SST

August 30, 2008

About a week ago I posted a brief recap of my summer at SST and what I learned while I was there. I kept it fairly short just so that I wouldn’t have a novel length post for anyone to read through, so I’m creating another post to bring up more enlightening experiences (Ah-Ha Moments! if you will…) 

4. PERFORMING Activation exercises isn’t neccessarily enough:

In our warm-ups at SST, amongst other things, we include activation exercises for glutes, low traps, serratus, etc (sometimes even including these in the workout sheet too). This is nothing earth shattering for people who have trained at a place like SST, but I realized that performing them isn’t neccessarily enough. It goes back to the quantity over quality thing. Thats great that you did your glute bridges, but did you feel your glutes contracting first, or did you just feel your hamstrings getting tight?

This is something I realized after I suffered an injury during one of my baseball games. I pulled my hamstring, and basically that usually indicates the hamstring having to do too much work extending the hip or slowing you down during running and the glutes not doing enough work. So the day after I still worked out, just instead of my normal program, I did lots of activation stuff for my glutes. Amazingly enough as I performed them, I really focussed on feeling the glute firing, and lo and behold after a few reps I started feeling it where I wanted to. Now I’ve been doing glute activation exercises for close to 2 years now and I have never felt them to work like THAT…I basically was just performing  the exercises without realizing that that wasn’t enough to promote the adaptation I was after.

Long story short, activation exercises are great if you actually focus of making the muscles fire, not so much though if you just go through the motions.

5. Getting athletes to foam roll is like making them eat their veggies!:

As the summer wore on, seemingly more and mroe athletes would complain of this, that, or the other thing being tight after a few sprints or agility drills. One of my suggested remedies to them was get on a foam roller, so we’d both grab a roller and hit a few spots including and related to the area that they felt was tight. Then I would always close the impromptu session with a suggestion that they should roll the areas we just did before every workout for the next week or two.

A week later they come in on their running day and say something about still being tight, so I ask them about doing their foam rolling, and I get an “Um, no…” type answer. My thought then is “And you wonder why you’re still tight”.

Is it that they don’t like foam rolling, maybe because it hurts?? Or is it just the fact that we just didn’t consistently monitor an important aspect of the warm-up as closely as we monitor other aspects of a workout?? I think its more of the latter.

What I’ve learned from this scenario is that getting athletes early when they join the gym can help instill the habit of foam rolling as a normal and essential part of a warm-up, not just something to do once they feel they are too tight to perform exercises or drills properly and without any discomfort.



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