Tag Archives: sports therapy

Elite PT and Sports Performance Exercise of the Week – The Whip Snatch

I wrote this article for my SportsRehabExpert.com site a few weeks back, and figured it would be good to share here as well just to give you an idea of some of the more advanced strength and power methods we use here at Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.

 

I picked up this exercise from strength coach Paul Longo at Central Michigan University about 8 years ago (and now at Notre Dame). This was one of his favorites since it was so simple to teach and really hard to do incorrectly. I’ve used this exercise over the years with my more advanced athletes, and they’ve really like it so thought I would share.

Couple prerequisites here:

1) Deadlift is first and foremost. As you’ll see in the video, a great hip hinge is a requirement so the athlete must be technically sound in the deadlift.

2) Swings are a favorite of mine and I really just see them as deadlifts for speed and power. The athlete must demonstrate a perfect hip hinge, good power as they drive the hips into extension, and also must be able to stop the kettlebell on a dime and throw it back down. The last point here just shows me that the athlete has the ability to coordinate and stabilize through the entire body in an instant. This is important to me now that they will be going overhead with a bar.

3) Hard Style Overhead Presses are also important, not just for upper body strength, but also for that ability to learn how to stabilize the entire body while driving a weight overhead. It’s one thing to press a weight, and an entirely different thing to catch a weight overhead. I want to know my athletes are rock sold with their arms overhead.

Now on to the Whip Snatch:

Teaching Tips:

1) I don’t get real technical with measuring for grip on the bar for this lift. Have the athlete get their hands at just the right width that the bar sits at the level of their hip crease.

2) Push the hips back with the bar as far as possible. I will have them just do reps of this hip hinge initially.

3) Jump and shrug!

4) Catch overhead.

I find that if we have the start position correct and we’ve worked through the progressions, the rest of the lift usually falls in place. The only other cue I find I need at times is ‘elbows to the ceiling’ after the jump shrug to keep the bar close to the body.

The whip snatch is a great power move and one that falls in line with many of the other lifts we talk about here on the site. Definitely one to give a try!

Does Gaining Range of Motion Really Have to Hurt???

Not all physical therapists are created equal, nor does gaining range of motion have to be extremely painful!  I know there is this idea amongst the public that PT has to hurt to effective, but in most cases nothing could be further than the truth.  Sadly enough there are plenty of PT’s out there who also believe ‘No Pain, No Gain’ to be true.

Here is why it does not have to hurt:

–  When the brain starts feeling ‘stress’ it goes into protection mode.  Pain signals coming in to the brain result in signals back to muscles, fascia, and joint capsule to literally tighten down to protect the painful structure.  So the entire time your PT is cranking on your new Total Knee Replacement, or you are cranking on it at home per their instructions, your brain is busy fighting back.  The result is lots of pain and minimal progress.

– Pain fires up your sympathetic nervous system, the part of the system that handles ‘fight or flight’ situations.   My good friend and physical therapist/strength coach Charlie Weingroff has been consulting with Nike and their athletes on this very topic.  What they have found is that athletes who are in this sympathetic state even at rest exhibit increased stress hormone levels that result in poor sleep patterns and poor recovery from workouts and games.  This elevated level of stress over the long term can have some serious effects not only on athletes, but on the rest of us as well.

Balance is good!

The moral of the story here is that increased pain and stress levels can delay healing and recovery.  Some pain is going to be present when you’re dealing with an injury or surgery, but your therapy should not be making you consistently feel worse  Not what you want when trying to recover from an injury or surgery, and certainly not an ideal situation for someone trying to gain range of motion, strength, and returning to work or athletics.

At Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, we recognize that there are a number of soft tissue and joint mobilization/manipulation techniques that can improve range of motion and quality movement without creating excessive pain.  Some techniques may be a bit uncomfortable at the time of application, but what little pain there is should go away quickly with an obvious increase in joint motion and overall movement quality.

Graston Technique can be used to break up scar tissue and improve range of motion of the knee.

 

Graston Technique is also very effective for treatment of tendinopathies – in this case treating the posterior rotator cuff.

In most cases, there are better ways to gain range of motion and strength than trying to push through restrictions and pain.  If you’ve got any questions concerning our soft tissue and joint manual techniques, feel free to contact us.

C1-2 Thrust Manipulation – this one is money for headaches!

Trigger Point Dry Needling – Coming Soon!

 

The Best Mobility Drill Ever?

I’m into exercises that give you more bang for your buck since I know most athletes are pressed for time, and there are plenty of other training skills they would rather be working on.  The ‘Spiderman’ exercise happens to be one of those exercises that can address everything from hip mobility to thoracic spine mobility to shoulder stability. It is absolutely one of the best warm-up drills you can perform and it’s a staple in our programs.

Check out the video below for a short tutorial on how to perform the exercise, what you should be feeling, and what to watch out for as far as ‘cheating’ through the movement.

Previously posted on SportsRehabExpert.com (the video was originally shot for physical therapists and sports performance professionals so I apologize for all the medical lingo)

Elite Sports Performance

Sports performance training is one of the favorite parts of my job.  We definitely do some unique things here, and I happen to think we get some pretty good results too.

I put together a compilation video that you can check out below.  I doubt you’re going to see anything else like this in Northern Michigan!

 

Michael Phelps talks Graston Technique and Training

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.

http://on.details.com/PLYA8S

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)

Aaron Studt Cleans 400lbs

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the article.  I can’t wait to see how he does this summer.