T Nation

Prime Time: Sport Muscles

Just wondering if theres any interest from the Prime Time coaches to address indivdual sport muscle and biomechanics. They could tell use which muscles they look at first for indivdual sport movements.

I’m game. Name some sporting movements, and I’ll break 'em down for you.

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
I’m game. Name some sporting movements, and I’ll break 'em down for you.[/quote]

awesome EC, lets start with
Baseball Swing
Football throw
vertical leap from a knee flex postion(ie box out)

I know theres more to it then common knowledge

Well, first, let’s outline what one needs to consider. First, there’s the prime mover approach, which simply determines what musculature is going to give you the most bang for your buck in terms of increasing performance right away.

Also, there’s the antagonist approach; these muscles need to be strong to decelerate the movement. So, with that said, let’s get to the specifics…

Cycling, and maybe ways to improve strength and endurance(can you do that at the same time). For some reson squats don’t seem to be cutting the mustard. I can’t belive I just said that.

[quote]bigpump23 wrote:
Baseball Swing
[/quote]

Simply looking at movements and not deceleration musculature or other movement characteristics (e.g. speed):

Speaking purely from a biomechanical standpoint:

Trunk rotation
Hip Extension (hamstrings, glutes, adductors)
Knee Extension
Hip Abduction
Horizontal Abduction
Horizontal Adduction
Elbow Extension
Grip Strength (supporting), and potentially supplemental specific forearm work in radial and ulnar deviation and wrist flexion/extension

[quote]bigpump23 wrote:
Football throw[/quote]

Trunk rotation/flexion
Shoulder Extension
Elbow Extension
Hip Extension
Knee Extension

[quote]bigpump23 wrote:

vertical leap from a knee flex postion(ie box out)
[/quote]

Hip Extension
Knee Extension
Plantarflexion
Shoulder Flexion

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
Well, first, let’s outline what one needs to consider. First, there’s the prime mover approach, which simply determines what musculature is going to give you the most bang for your buck in terms of increasing performance right away.

Also, there’s the antagonist approach; these muscles need to be strong to decelerate the movement. So, with that said, let’s get to the specifics…[/quote]

hey I’m down EC, actually wait. Would you consider letting me help you write it? An actual article as opposed to a forum post? I’m dead serious on this and I’d put in a hell of alot of work. I’m very hungry for knowledge as I am just starting out in the world of S&C All i do is research, would you consider letting me help you right this?

[quote]analog_kid wrote:
Cycling, and maybe ways to improve strength and endurance(can you do that at the same time). For some reson squats don’t seem to be cutting the mustard. I can’t belive I just said that.[/quote]

Here’s something you might find interesting…

I was at a presentation by Dr. Edward Coyle of the University of Texas last fall; he’s studied Lance Armstrong throughout his entire competitive career. Basically, Coyle has found that as cyclists become more and more experienced, they use their quads less and glutes more. In other words, cycling is more hip dominant (hip extension) as one progresses. This is one of the reasons that elite cyclists require slightly less hamstring work in the off-season to counterbalance all the quad work that takes place during the competitive season (when compared to novice cyclists).

You can certainly improve these two qualities simultaneously, but maximal strength should be the focus. If maximal strength goes up, strength endurance goes up as well (but not vice-versa). It’ll be difficult to gain strength with a significant volume of endurance exercise, but it can be done, especially in beginning athletes.

Also, as for squats not cutting the mustard anymore, you might look to more single-leg exercises like lunges and step-ups to better get the glutes firing along with the knee extensors.

Analog_kid,

While Eric is tackling the first question, I’ll take a crack at your cycling question.

First in order to give you the most pertinent info, it would be crucial to know what kind of cycling (distance, terrain, etc)you do and what your goals are.

Sure you can increase both strength and endurance, however, the gains you make in either category would be significantly reduced compared to focusing on one at a time. This is just a basic tenet of specificity of training or adaptation to imposed demand. Since you are trying to get the body to adapt to two different stimuli, its ability to fully adapt to either will be compromised.

First off all the squats may be doing a fine job at increasing max contractile strength, but unless you are cycling for 30 sec sprints, that isn’t going to be as important for increasing cycling performance as it is to be able to maintain a high power output for a long duration. As a result you will probably not notice much carryover to your cycling. Therefore, the muscular endurance is going to be a bigger consideration.

If you compete, I would periodize your training so that you focus on increasing strength in the early phase of your off season and then switch to higher metabolic-type training and endurance training as you get closer to the season.

Tabata front squats would be a good activity for working the metabolic demands, and pushing your anaerobic threshold. To increase your leg power for cycling, try cycling. You can do interval type training to work on increasing your cadence. Also you can crank up the resistance on the stationary bikes to expose your muscles to higher resistance than you normally get riding your regular bike.

Maybe Eric can chime in as well since I know he would be able to give you more specific info as he has been working with collegiate level athletes from numerous sports.

If you have any questions plase let me know.

Ryan

[quote]bigpump23 wrote:
would you consider letting me help you right this?
[/quote]

“Right” this? Hmmm…

Kidding, of course. Actually, your best bet is to just sit down and write as much as you possibly can. It’s the same advice that I got from JB and Chris Shugart when I was first getting going. You’ll probably have articles rejected, but it’s all about the experience.

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:
analog_kid wrote:
Cycling, and maybe ways to improve strength and endurance(can you do that at the same time). For some reson squats don’t seem to be cutting the mustard. I can’t belive I just said that.

Here’s something you might find interesting…

I was at a presentation by Dr. Edward Coyle of the University of Texas last fall; he’s studied Lance Armstrong throughout his entire competitive career. Basically, Coyle has found that as cyclists become more and more experienced, they use their quads less and glutes more. In other words, cycling is more hip dominant (hip extension) as one progresses. This is one of the reasons that elite cyclists require slightly less hamstring work in the off-season to counterbalance all the quad work that takes place during the competitive season (when compared to novice cyclists).

You can certainly improve these two qualities simultaneously, but maximal strength should be the focus. If maximal strength goes up, strength endurance goes up as well (but not vice-versa). It’ll be difficult to gain strength with a significant volume of endurance exercise, but it can be done, especially in beginning athletes.

Also, as for squats not cutting the mustard anymore, you might look to more single-leg exercises like lunges and step-ups to better get the glutes firing along with the knee extensors.[/quote]

Very interesting indeed. Last weekend I notcied that I have way more power when I lean forward over the handle bars, and I could feel my glutes doing a lot more work, but the power I got to say was explosive! I was spinning up the back tire(could have somthing to do with a lot of my weight over the front of the bike). I’m gonna try some single leg excercises like you suggest. Thanks Eric!!

[quote]Dr. Ryan wrote:
Analog_kid,

While Eric is tackling the first question, I’ll take a crack at your cycling question.

First in order to give you the most pertinent info, it would be crucial to know what kind of cycling (distance, terrain, etc)you do and what your goals are.

Sure you can increase both strength and endurance, however, the gains you make in either category would be significantly reduced compared to focusing on one at a time. This is just a basic tenet of specificity of training or adaptation to imposed demand. Since you are trying to get the body to adapt to two different stimuli, its ability to fully adapt to either will be compromised.

First off all the squats may be doing a fine job at increasing max contractile strength, but unless you are cycling for 30 sec sprints, that isn’t going to be as important for increasing cycling performance as it is to be able to maintain a high power output for a long duration. As a result you will probably not notice much carryover to your cycling. Therefore, the muscular endurance is going to be a bigger consideration.

If you compete, I would periodize your training so that you focus on increasing strength in the early phase of your off season and then switch to higher metabolic-type training and endurance training as you get closer to the season.

Tabata front squats would be a good activity for working the metabolic demands, and pushing your anaerobic threshold. To increase your leg power for cycling, try cycling. You can do interval type training to work on increasing your cadence. Also you can crank up the resistance on the stationary bikes to expose your muscles to higher resistance than you normally get riding your regular bike.

Maybe Eric can chime in as well since I know he would be able to give you more specific info as he has been working with collegiate level athletes from numerous sports.

If you have any questions plase let me know.

Ryan[/quote]

Thanks Doc. I do mostly off road cross country stuff. My goals are to maintain a consistant rate of power through this one section of trail I always ride(about 1/4 mile), and to just have more general strength and endurance in my legs. I posted somthing in your thread a few days ago but you must have missed it.

The real issue I am having is very bad burn in the quad muscle to the inside of my knee cap, the head just burns after about 15mins of moderate riding, somthing I have never felt in the past of 5+ years of riding. I don’t know if it’s an injury(it doesn’t hurt, just burn when I ride) or just a lagging muslce. I have started to train more(on the stationary, but so far the results are not what I’m looking for, hey maybe the Carbolin 19 will help!)

But thanks for the info, I just am kinda clueless as to what the problem is here. Thanks again.

It’s pretty logical, if you think about it for a second. The glutes are typically much more fast twitch dominant than the quads, which tend to be more of a mixed make-up. Get those hammies going, too, and your power should go through the roof.

Hi Eric,

I’d like your opinion on training lower back. I train using the Westside principles and typically, I train lower back on ME and DE leg days. I don’t have access to a GHR or a Reverse Hyper machine so I pretty much use the regular gym equipment.

My question is how do you to recommend training the lower back in terms of intensity. Do you recommend one day of training with heavy weights (for eg: ME legs) and one day of high reps (DE legs)?

Also, what would be beneficial in terms of developing strength and maintaining lower-back health (preventing injury in the long run). A mix of high-rep and low-rep days?

Currently, on ME days, I end up doing heavy 45-degree back extensions. On DE days, I do high-rep back extensions or pull-throughs.

I realize that back gets trained doing the main ME exercise and the supplementary exercises as well (eg: GMs, RDLs etc.) but how should I cycle the exercise that I devote exclusively for lower-back. Currently, I cycle between pull-throughs, back extensions etc. for lower-back.

Thanks for your help.

Gary

[quote]chints wrote:
Hi Eric,

I’d like your opinion on training lower back. I train using the Westside principles and typically, I train lower back on ME and DE leg days. I don’t have access to a GHR or a Reverse Hyper machine so I pretty much use the regular gym equipment.

My question is how do you to recommend training the lower back in terms of intensity. Do you recommend one day of training with heavy weights (for eg: ME legs) and one day of high reps (DE legs)?

Also, what would be beneficial in terms of developing strength and maintaining lower-back health (preventing injury in the long run). A mix of high-rep and low-rep days?

Currently, on ME days, I end up doing heavy 45-degree back extensions. On DE days, I do high-rep back extensions or pull-throughs.

I realize that back gets trained doing the main ME exercise and the supplementary exercises as well (eg: GMs, RDLs etc.) but how should I cycle the exercise that I devote exclusively for lower-back. Currently, I cycle between pull-throughs, back extensions etc. for lower-back.

Thanks for your help.

Gary [/quote]

Truthfully, Gary, I don’t typically recommend a lot of lower back specific movements for the reason you noted plus a few others. First, lower back disorders can result from overuse, disuse, or misuse. In my experience, overuse is the most common simply because people don’t know how to activate their glutes, so they wind up hyperextending the lumbar spine to compensate for the hip extension and posterior pelvic tilt that the glutes aren’t providing. Disuse isn’t an issue in the active population, and misuse is more an issue of form breakdown. With that said, you need to ask yourself if you really feel that your lower back is the limiting factor in your performance? Give my “Deadlift Diagnosis” article a read to see if you’re missing in the spots that correspond to lower back weakness.

Additionally, the lower back work has a much more beneficial effect for lifters with long torsos and short limbs, in my experience; these are the individuals with great squats and benches, but deadlifts that warrant improvement.

Ec, I tryed to message you but for some reason the thing won’t work. I’d really like to get in touch with you

I see what you are getting at but isn’t the problem of misuse/overuse/disuse true for any bodypart.

I do realize that following a templace like the WS one, I’m working my lower back well with the ME exercises. However, as I cycle the exercises, sometimes the lower-back is worked extra and sometimes less.

So, from the point of view of injury prevention, what do you recommend? I’d definitely avoid overuse but then how do you define overuse?

Lastly, does my thinking of incorporating low-rep (high weight) and high-rep (bodyweight) have any merit?

Thanks again.

Gary

[quote]Eric Cressey wrote:

Truthfully, Gary, I don’t typically recommend a lot of lower back specific movements for the reason you noted plus a few others. First, lower back disorders can result from overuse, disuse, or misuse. In my experience, overuse is the most common simply because people don’t know how to activate their glutes, so they wind up hyperextending the lumbar spine to compensate for the hip extension and posterior pelvic tilt that the glutes aren’t providing. Disuse isn’t an issue in the active population, and misuse is more an issue of form breakdown. With that said, you need to ask yourself if you really feel that your lower back is the limiting factor in your performance? Give my “Deadlift Diagnosis” article a read to see if you’re missing in the spots that correspond to lower back weakness.

Additionally, the lower back work has a much more beneficial effect for lifters with long torsos and short limbs, in my experience; these are the individuals with great squats and benches, but deadlifts that warrant improvement.[/quote]

EC, how about blocking in football, and the pulling of an offensive linemen. I would assume the latter would be much like any type of running but I just wanted your thoughts.