The posterior chain is so important, because it plays a vital role in not only jumping, but most athletic activities. Many athletes are under developed in the posterior chain. This is usually a side effect of the over emphasis on bodybuilding type training methods, that focus on looks and not enough on athletic training that helps to improve performance. The posterior chain is simply the backside of your body and its primary muscles include the lower back, gluteus maximus, hamstrings and calves. This area is often neglected and or untrained. When the glutes become inhibited the posterior chain will not function properly. The lower back and hamstrings then have to take on the work of the glutes, and along with these muscles being overworked the IT Band and the Piriformis also take on an additional load, leading to a variety of issues that can cause problems for the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. The muscles of the posterior chain are important to jumping for several reasons. The first is that due to their size, they generally have the ability to generate a lot of power for you to jump. The second reason that they are so important is that the glutes have one of the highest ratios of fast twitch muscle fibers in the whole body. In terms of the actual jumping motion itself, the posterior chain acts as follows. As you bend your knees and descend down into the eccentric phase, the hamstrings contract. The stronger that your hamstrings are, the more force you will generate when you drop down. The quicker you can drop down, the higher you will be able to jump. On the upward phase of the jump, your leg muscles along with the muscles of your lower back work together to produce powerful contractions that extend the hips, knees and calves( this is also known as triple extension) and propels your body upward. The more power that these muscle produce, the more explosive your triple extension will be, which will allow you to have a higher vertical jump. A few good exercises to […]
Shoulder Injuries In The Throwing Athlete Overhead throwing places a high level of stress on the shoulder. In throwing athletes these stresses are repeated many times and can lead to numerous overuse injuries. Although throwing injuries are a common occurrence in baseball pitchers, they can occur in any athlete who participates in sports that require a repetitive overhead motion such as; tennis, volleyball and some track and field throwing events. When an athlete throws repeatedly at a high rate of speed, there is a large amount of stress that is placed on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold the shoulder in place. In the case of pitchers who perform the cocking motion that prepares the shoulder for the throw and the follow through motion which helps to decelerate the arm after the ball is released, after performing these actions hundreds of times during the course of a season, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the shoulder joint can become weakened. Once the muscles and ligaments of the shoulder joint have weakened, the risk of injury to the rotator cuff and labrum increases. Shoulder Injuries That Could Occur: · Bicep tendonitis: An inflammation or irritation of the upper bicep tendon · Rotator cuff tendonitis or tear: The rotator cuff becomes inflamed. Pain that occurs from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm. · Internal Impingement: Can be caused by some looseness in the front of the joint and tightness in the back of the joint. This can result in a partial tearing of the rotator cuff tendon. · Instability: Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the humerus slips out of the socket. Instability occurs gradually over a period of time from the repetitive throwing motion that stretches the muscles and ligaments and creates a looseness of the joint. Treatment May Include: · Reduction in activity · Ice the problem area · Physical therapy · Change of technique and or position · Cortisone shots In recent years there has been a lot of focus placed on shoulder injuries of the throwing athlete. […]
The Importance of Hydration in Young Athletes As the summer months approach and more young athletes are involved in some type of athletic programming, it is very important that they are properly hydrated. Drinking water or sports drinks before, during and after their competition can help to reduce their chances of acquiring some type of heat illness. One of the most important functions of water in the body is to keep it cool. As young athletes become more active their bodies generate more heat, which raises the body temperature and causes the body to sweat which also helps to keep the body cool. If they do not replace the fluids that where lost through sweating, by consuming more water and or sports drinks, the body will overheat. Dehydration is very serious and can be potentially life threatening. Parents, coaches and trainers all need to be proactive and able to identify the signs of dehydration: Body temperature rises Dry lips and tongue Infrequent urination Bright or dark colored urine Lack of energy Sudden decline in strength, energy and coordination A few ways that dehydration can be avoided in young athletes are as follows: Parents, coaches and trainers can start by stressing the importance of proper hydration to their athletes. Athletes should be given enough time during their practices or competition to consume some water or some type of sports drink. Athletes should be encouraged to consume a good amount of fluids prior to their athletic competition beginning. Adding electrolytes to your young athlete’s water or sports drink is also a good idea. Added electrolytes will help to replace any electrolytes that may hay been lost during competition and it will also help them to retain fluids. Electrolytes also help to stimulate thirst, which would cause the athlete to drink more. Parents, coaches and trainers who are involved with these young athletes should educate them on dehydration and what some of the warning signs are. During the course of a competition, other players and teammates may be able to identify if an athlete is experiencing some type of heat related symptom quicker […]
Knee valgus occurs when you have hip abduction along with hip internal rotation. It can be observed when an individual is in the squat or landing position when jumping and the knee caves inward. Knee valgus can lead to knee pain, ACL tears and iliotibial band tears. IBS is an overuse injury that can cause pain on the outer part of the knee and thigh when running.