This article was sent to me yesterday, and I found it not only very interesting, but also validating what I do at the same time.
Michael discusses the benefits of Graston Technique (GT) on relieving pain and freeing up his shoulders and back for swimming. This is only his subjective report but who is more in tune with how they are performing and functioning than an elite Olympic athlete? There is plenty of research being done on GT with great evidence based outcomes so I’m very confident that the benefits are real.
One more thing I do want to mention concerning the use of GT in the article, and Phelps’ comments on the pain and bruising that go along with treatment: the research indicates that GT is just as effective without the pain and bruising. Of course there will be some pain as you are trying to break up scar tissue, but there is no need to be ultra-aggressive and bruise. The majority of my patients will tell you they have some mild to moderate discomfort during the treatment, but are rarely all that sore afterward. The pain relief and improved motion following the treatment is well worth it.
On the subject of training, Michael talks about how his focus this time around has been on developing more power. He specifically mentions performing the Olympic lifts and pulling/pushing sleds, both of which are mainstays in our sports performance programs.
At first glance you may wonder why in the world a swimmer would need to do power cleans and run with a sled? Especially when he’s not even on his feet more than a split second to push off the platform. Many of the benefits of this type of training are for the nervous system and the speed at which muscles can contract. Training for power means moving a certain weight as quickly as possible. The faster you can move it, the more powerful you are. Strength is different in that time doesn’t matter, only how much weight can you move. Strength is very important, but in swimming and pretty much every other sport out there, its the speed at which you can generate that force that is most important!
Here is a great example of a power clean (one of the Olympic Lifts – this from my buddy Cal Dietz at the University of Minnesota)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the article. I can’t wait to see how he does this summer.