Tag: philosophy

Injury Prevention Through Movement Strategies

As a trainer working with athletes of all ages, injury prevention is a huge focus. We teach proper movement patterns to avoid noncontact injuries, we practice safe movements within the gym, we attempt to correct muscle imbalances, and try to give athletes the strength in their muscles to stand up to the rigors of their sport.

Each of these injury prevention modalities has its own unique strategies so for this post we will focus on teaching proper movement patterns. A well rounded training program has to have a focus on movement. Acceleration and jumping are sexy, but deceleration and landing are just as important. When I teach a male proper deceleration or landing it is because it is more sport useful and efficient. The incidence of non contact injuries in males is much much lower than that of females, due to the way their bodies are put together (ie Q angle). With female athletes teaching proper movement is focused more on injury prevention, because a non contact injury is much more likely to occur.

So how does this knowledge manifest itself in a training program? A few different ways. First, evaluation. People think of evaluation as something you do on the first day and then just hold onto, but in reality it is a dynamic and fluid. You watch athletes warm up and move on a daily basis and see if things are moving properly. For me that begins from the ground up with proper ankle mobility. I agree with Gray Cook’s “Joint by Joint” Approach where the ankle requires mobility and the knee requires stability. When the ankle loses mobility that mobility flows up the chain to the knee. That’s bad though…we don’t want mobile knees. We want the knee to stay where it is. That’s why we have athletes go through a dynamic speed ladder (often barefoot) on a daily basis. When we see an athlete with poor ankle mobility it is something we address immediately because these things flow upwards and cause problems (I’m more concerned with bad ankles than bad hips because these things are more likely to flow up than down).

Second we teach proper movement a few different ways. Closed chain movements like the squat, clean or deadlift require dynamic movements. Observing how the knees move on these simple (compared to something as open and complicated as stopping after sprinting) movements will give us insight into how they will react on more complicated movements. Assessing and teaching movement in the sprints is handled a few different ways as well. First, there’s the deceleration that occurs when athletes change direction. We address this through change of direction drills. We also do some sprints that do not require stopping afterwards and some that do. Requiring an athlete to stop after a certain distance post sprint encourages proper movement. Proper movement must be progressed from simple to complex. That is teaching something like a squat or lunge, then progressing to sprints and stops, then progressing to actual sports.

This is much more difficult than it might appear. By asking an athlete to focus on these proper movements you can usually get proper movements. However, eliciting proper movement in the gym doesn’t guarantee proper movement in the sport. Learning movements goes through the following stages: conscious incompetence, conscious competence, then unconscious competence. Initially athletes can be asked to perform proper movement and fail. They’re trying and are aware of what to do, but fail anyway. This is conscious incompetence. With some work they can do it properly when they’re thinking about it. This is conscious competence. This is how we typically see them in the gym. The athlete is aware they’re being observed and knows what they’re working on so they demonstrate it.

If I could freeze time and ask what one of your athletes is thinking about in the middle of a play it is very unlikely they would say “Why, I’m thinking about the proper movement patterns I learned at Core Blend!”. They’re focused on a thousand other things. The key then is to get to unconscious competence, movements that are perfect and drilled in without the athlete needing to think about them. This takes a great deal of time and a variety of different tricks to get done. This is one of many reasons that when parents ask when their kid should start exercising my answer is always sooner than they did. Proper movement takes time to learn and it’s easier when there are fewer bad reps to undo.

Core Blend Is More Than Our Name

Core Blend is an elite training philosophy I designed long before we had a physical location. Buckle up, fitness geekery ahead.

Core Blend is a bridge between traditional strength movements and the movements needed on a field.  All elite strength training specialists agree that the core is a key area needed to improve sports performance.  It provides a stable platform for strength, increases control for sports movements, decreases injury risk, and helps transfer energy between the upper and lower body.  Despite this, other training systems don’t train the core for sports movements and performance. Where other training systems fall short, Core Blend performs.

Core Blend Training uses an improved version of the Russian Conjugate Method of training.  The strength of the Russian Conjugate Method over the traditional Linear Periodization workouts is the way that it trains athletes to peak and improve in multiple measures of strength and explosion simultaneously.  The Core Blend Training method creates maximum strength in the body’s prime movers so that the body has a maximum ability to perform.  It simultaneously trains the body’s core to utilize that new strength.  Using advanced techniques, the Core Blend movements create usable muscular chains throughout the body leading to increased strength in sports movements.  The exercise selection, application, and order lead to superior sports performance.

Athletes that develop this usable strength through Core Blend Training use groups of muscles in a synchronized fashion in order to get maximum power, speed, and explosion. Most training programs teach the muscles of the “Posterior Chain” to work together, but make no effort to do that in the rest of the body. An athlete that uses Core Blend Training throws and hits harder, runs faster, and jumps higher than other athletes because their gym movements have been designed to carry over into their competitions. In throwing sports, such as the javelin, shot put, discus, baseball or football, Core Blend Training creates and trains the motor patterns needed to perform. In chaotic sports like football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, basketball and others it gives the athlete the strength and balance to make quick changes of direction and be strong from any position. Most importantly Core Blend Training gets elite results.

History, With Core Blend

6th Century BC wrestler, Milo of Croton, is thought to be the inventor of progressive overload. He did so by carrying a bull up a hill everyday, from the time it was a calf until it was fully grown.

Core Blend Training is a powerlifting, athlete training, Olympic weightlifting Gym. Voted Best Gym and Best Weightloss Program in Athens in 2013.