By: Kika Mela MATCS, BPS Medical Team
MUSCLE ACTIVATION TECHNIQUES ™
If you aien’t playin, they aien’t payin
For most of the professional athletes that train here at Bommarito Performance Systems (BPS), their financial and professional success depends upon what they can do physically.
Are they fast enough? Strong enough? Are they injury prone? Will they rehab in time to play?
At any level, the best player will be sitting at home if he can’t perform on the field. For the pros, the ability to play the sport that they love and their financial future depends on the health of their body. Playing at a high level and hopefully pain free drives many players to seek alternative ways to keep their body right. One of the options we offer our athletes is Greg Roskopf’s Muscle Activation Techniques™.
One of the most common ailments of people of all ages (athletes or the general
population) is low back pain. It is so common and causes so many issues that there
is an entire specialty (Chiropractic) that is dedicated to this condition. The reasons
is because of the severity of what could happen if low back pain continues without
treatment – pinched nerves, degenerative discs, arthritis, ruptured discs, etc.
Many of the most common treatments are – spinal adjustments, modalities,
increasing flexibility/mobility of the hips, strengthening, etc. Some of these can be
very expensive – in addition to the degree of uncertainty that may arise when trying
to choose a specialist that fits your situation.
In terms of treatment, some of the most basic and effective forms of correcting
dysfunction are ISOMETRIC STRENGTHENING. This goes well above and beyond
traditional strengthening of the trunk/spine (like crunches or planks). This can be a
very systematic approach to providing great stability across the various spinal levels
by ensuring that the muscles that attach to these levels are contracting properly.
In the pictures below, 4 key exercises will be demonstrated that strengthen the
muscles that are involved in the 4 key motions of the spine: FLEXION, EXTENSION,
LATERAL FLEXION, and ROTATION.
Usually low back pain and the onset of any type of condition in the trunk/spine
arises because the spine is inefficient at contracting muscles that are involved in one
or more of these motions. If one side is inefficient, the spine becomes unstable at
that level and many problems could arise. To combat this, it’s always a good idea to
train the motions from an isometric standpoint in every motion:
- STABIILTY. The most efficient way to ensure the knee is stable, and the structure of the joint is supported properly by the muscles that cross it, is to perform isometrics. Isometrics involves contracting a muscle at a specific range without moving; as opposed to moving the joint like traditional exercise. Looking at the muscles of the thigh the cross the knee joint (and/or are involved in function of the knee), there is the 4 primary groups: muscles in the front (quads and hip flexors); in the back (hamstrings); on the inside (adductors); and outside (abductors). Progressions can begin at 3 seconds and progress up to 30 seconds for advanced adults.
- Advanced tip: Having a fitness professional assess any asymmetries (an imbalance) in the ranges of motion at the knee joint can help make the stability isometric program even more specific to your body.
BASE OF STREGNTH FOR THE TRUNK AND SPINE REGION
Pete Bommarito, MS, CSCS, USAW, MATCS, MAT Jumpstart
This is obviously a highly controversial and well-discussed topic in the Medical and Sports Performance industry. Many people refer to it as “core training” or “abdominal training.” It is probably more appropriate to refer to strengthening muscles in the trunk simply as “trunk strengthening.” With the trunk simply being defined the region between the pelvis and the rib cage; which can encompass some of the muscles that attach to the pelvis, rib cage and/or spinal columns in that region. Now there are exceptions – obviously muscles that attach higher than the rib cage that will cause motion in this defined “trunk” region. For simplicity purposes, this aforementioned definition of trunk can be used as a standard. There are so many variations of what “core” can actually mean, that many times it’s not as specific as strengthening the motions in the trunk. For example, many muscles will attach to the pelvis, but not the rib cage or spine. These play an important role in stabilizing the pelvis during trunk motion; but not be active trunk movers. Those muscles could be considered into what is commonly referred to as core training. So for definition purposes, core training is more global, while trunk development is more specific to strengthening the motions of the specific region. The motions of the trunk can be simply categorized as flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral flexion (or side bending).
By Pete Bommarito, MS, CSCS, USAW, MATCS, MAT Jumpstart
For years, the “Bench Press” has been the gold standard for athletes and fitness enthusiasts for total upper body strength. In today’s era of Sports Performance, various strength components of all forms of upper body pressing remains a highly controversial subject. There are some that feel that Bench Press strength (and strength endurance) it is still the gold standard for measurements of overall strength of the upper body. There are some that feel that it is overrated, and prefer to train upper body pressing around what they consider to be more “functional” forms of upper body pressing. Through all of the online controversy, one important truth remains to be constant – upper body pressing strength, in ALL its forms, is absolutely essential to all sports and levels of athletes. This article will break down all forms of pressing strength; discuss the various components of how to maximize each form; and discuss all of the arguments in terms of level of importance and sport specificity.
UPPER BODY STRENGTH BASED PREPARATION/WARMUPS
Pete Bommarito, MS, CSCS, USAW, MATS, MAT JS
For any upper-body strengthening program to truly be efficient, there must be proper joint preparation. This is beyond just a standard “warm-up”. This is really focusing on preparing the joints for the motions that will be encompassed within the session. It’s also important to remember this type of preparation of the joints is a training system over time – not just to prepare for the succeeding workout. As with any warm-up / preparation, the stimulus can be overloaded over time, as the various systems of strength are increased and overloaded throughout the overall program.
SPEED BOX SQUAT – VARIABLE LOADING
Pete Bommarito, Owner/President, Bommarito Performance Systems
There four primary variables of strength: absolute strength, speed strength, reversal strength, and dynamic eccentric. Speed Box Squat, especially with variable loading, will have heavy emphasis on 3 of the 4 primary variables. This is why this exercise is a staple of the BPS strength program – there is so much that can be accomplished in a single exercise.
Double leg squat versus single leg squat
One important aspect to understand is the concept of the double leg squat. Single leg versus the double leg squat could honestly be one of the most controversial subjects in the industry today. When reviewing both sides of this “argument”, keep in mind one thing: all of the properties of the muscle contraction. The dynamic eccentric load of a muscle is a trainable effect and extremely important factor to potentiate power. The reversal strength (deceleration mechanics) against the external load, plus gravity (plus the body in some regards) is a trainable effect and extremely important factor to potentiate power. Isometric strengthening under load at high thresholds after a dynamic eccentric load and reversal deceleration is a trainable effect and extremely important factor to potentiate power. Concentric power off of an isometric pause under load (with the added potentiation of the dynamic eccentric and reversal) is a trainable effect and extremely important factor in overall speed strength and power.
By: Adam Boily, MS, USAW, MAT Jumpstart, BPS Level 1
The Back Squat
At Bommarito Performance Systems (BPS), the squat is one of our most
utilized exercises. It recruits almost every muscle in the body and may be the “best”
lower body exercise. There are many variations of the squat exercise depending on
the intention and goal of the athlete. For example, BPS commonly prescribes a box
squat by using a standard Olympic lifting bar, cambered bar, safety squat bar and/or
a belt squat. Traditionally and most frequently at BPS, the Olympic lifting bar is
used when an athlete does a squatting exercise. The cambered bar is a good
alternative for throwing athletes because this bar may be used with less shoulder
extension/external rotation. Thus, reducing the stress placed on throwing athletes’
shoulders during offseason training. Furthermore, this same concept may be
applied to the advantages of using a safety squat bar. Perhaps an athlete has a trunk
and spine issue and placing an external load on athletes’ shoulders is not desirable.
In this scenario, the belt squat may be the best option. Typically, the intention or
GOTE (Goal Of The Exercise) of the squat exercise, no matter the variation, is to
increase lower body hypertophy, strength, and/or concentric power (and in some
cases – high speed eccentric loading).
Keith Shimon MATcs
Row Dissection: Progressions and Tools
Part 1: Restraint and Effects On Force Output
“What is the best way to row?” “What is the best row machine?” “Are machines evil
or bad, and should I only use barbells, dumbbells, bands, or body weight?”
As professionals you hear a gamut of questions and exercise mythology. Is there
really a “best row?” Maybe a “best row” exercise for a specific individual. It all
comes back to the question of “who is it for,” and “what is the goal of this exercise”
(Purvis, 2013, Exercise mechanics lecture). Through the years we have all been introduced
to the standard ideology of what a rowing motion looks like. I imagine that we also
have a framework in our head of the basic rules we were told in order to get the
most out of any rowing motion, and the specific muscles that the exercise may
challenge. In addition, we have favored machines, dumbbells, kettle bells, cables,
bands, or body weight because we were told that it was the best way to row.
Deceleration Bounding Series
A vast amount of literature exists for bounding plyometric drills when it comes to forward sprinting. Acceleration bounds with a piston action (alternating leg and single leg) can be used to enhance first step, acceleration, and continuation through the drive phase. It can also be used to enhance any re-acceleration out of any deceleration or change of direction. Absolute speed bounding with a cyclical action (alternating leg only) can be used to enhance the “transition” of gravity dictates the body becomes upright, and continuation onto absolute speed and absolute speed maintenance.
Plyometrics implemented to enhance deceleration mechanics is extremely efficient, but often under-utilized in many programs. Any change of direction can be considered a form of deceleration. In addition, any change of speed, even in a linear direction, can also be considered a form of deceleration. The BPS Acceleration-Deceleration Zone series on the University exemplifies a great basic form of overall deceleration and re-acceleration. As previously noted, this can be an excellent training system to enhance any change-of-direction, any change of speed in a linear motion, and any change of speed into a change-of-direction. All of which will occur in any sport at any position at various speeds and angles.
PETE BOMMARITO MS, CSCS, USAW, MATCS
When planning out a preparation for the movement/speed/conditioning session for the day, it’s always a good idea to include a good amount of exercises that is as specific to the patterns that will actually be performed. In the Preparation section of Bommarito University, there are 4 primary sections for Preparation to be performed at the beginning of all sessions. And the overall Preparation can be best described as CNS Activation and Muscle/Joint Preparation Systems (CAMPS):
- Support System Preparation – primarily the “impact” joints of the toes, feet, and ankle
- Trunk/Spine Preparation
- Suspension / Support / Trunk (SST) Systems Preparation – focusing on the “link” between the Support and Trunk/Spine which is the suspension system through the hips, knees, and pelvis
- Unloaded Speed/Movement Preparation
When focusing specifically on the SST Systems Preparation, notice there is an extremely large volume of exercise choices in the database for all 4 sections. The 4 sections of the SST are:
Pete Bommarito, MS, CSCS, USAW, MATCS, MAT Jumpstart
When thinking about multi-directional movements, many coaches think only in terms of changing directions. While that is certainly important, there are many additional aspects to consider with regards to movement and speed patterns in “multiple directions”, even before a direction change occurs off of the pattern. For instance, an analysis of what is occurring during a highly dynamic “lateral” motion, which is a pattern that is commonly placed into speed/movement-training programs could lead to three primary options:
- LATERAL RUN (LR)
- BACK LATERAL RUN (BLR)
- BACK ANGLE LATERAL RUN (BALR)
There are numerous other primary options for movement in a multi-directional sense – such as lateral shuffle, backpedal/anglepedal, and forward multi-directional – but they are more controlled motions. Looking at a faster, more dynamic motion, including when it needs to be executed at full speed, the three primary aforementioned motions apply.