Sports and movement mechanics is a big topic to break in. The best way for you to get an idea of how they are related to injury prevention and the performance improvement, is through example.
We get used to the lack of challenge in our daily activities…
As we discussed in the bio-mechanics article, the entire human body function as one kinematic chain to execute most of the activities we do. Most of our daily activities are not challenging enough to force us to use the entire body as a whole to perform, therefore we get used to using just parts of our body to perform many physical activities.
Then it is not quite enough…
This is perfectly fine until your body is called to perform under more demanding conditions, such as dealing with high repetition, high intensity, and if coordination and precision are required as well. This is true with most athletic activities, during which we challenge ourselves more than what daily life requires.
When our body is demanded to perform at higher levels, it becomes necessary that we coordinate our entire body as a whole, instead of over-stressing a few muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
What can we learn from jumping…
For example, jumping off the ground is frequently called for playing basketball and volleyball. Everyone knows how to jump off the ground, however, most frequently we over utilize our calves to do the job, but better jumpers use their quad muscles more.
However, the best jumpers who jump high with more staying time and the power in mid-air, know how to maneuver their core and gluteal muscles to lead the quads and calves.
With precisely timed activation sequence starting from core and gluteal muscles, these jumpers save way more energy, and minimize overuse injury of calf, Achilles tendon, ankle and knee.
Core strength alone is not enough…
However, despite our new awareness of the importance of core in fitness arena, most core exercises involve isolated activation of a few muscles out of context of the specific demands imposed by individual sports.
Therefore, we have encountered athletes with superb isolated core strength, yet unable to translate into their sports. The missing link is that core strength alone does not by itself translate into appropriate activation at the right timing – just like your car, no matter how good it is, it will not drive itself.
You need the missing link…
What we do in our clinic, in helping athletes achieving better performance and reducing their injury potential, is to put that missing link back where it belongs – the best way to prevent injury is to make a better athlete with high efficiency and better techniques, which allow them to use their full body potential to meet the demands of their sports.
Jumping is one of many examples where appropriate sports mechanics is key to injury prevention and better performance. Every sport has its own key signature moves that need to be appropriately engineered for maximum efficiencies, and to be taught to athletes according to their programming. It has been our passion and mission to help every athlete, elite or hobbyist, to overcome injuries, to achieve their maximum potentials with high efficiencies, and to enjoy what they love with continuous progress!
Please feel free to give us a call at 858-481-1438 to find out how we can tailor sports specific mechanics to help you enjoy your sports more!