Category Archives: Rotational Training

Low Back Myth’s with Stuart McGill

Here is a great video from Stuart McGill.  Those of you that have read the blog over the last two years will note that I’m a huge Stuart McGill advocate and believe in his spine principles wholeheartedly.  In this video he goes over some of the common myths associated with the back and training. 

Myth #2 may be my favorite.  This is one of the worst problems I see in sports.  When an athlete has a tight back, or possibly injures his back the first thing many physical therapist, or athletic trainers want to prescribe is “we need to stretch it.”  There’s always an underlying cause to why an injury occurs.  Generally in the low back its the hips that are giving us the real trouble.  The lumbar spine will always compensate for movement limitations, and/or activation issues  about the hips and thoracic spine.  I cringe when I hear people advocating stretches for the back and spine when their is an injury.

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Throwing to Warmup

A problem I see often is athletes who dismiss the importance of a proper warm-up and none other come to mind more than pitchers.  All too often pitchers throw to warmup instead of warmup to throw.  This is still a huge problem in my eyes at all levels of play. 

Too often I see young athletes do no warmup prior to competition and begin their throwing program to warmup for their bullpen work that will precede their game. 

For years with the Angels as well as at the collegiate level I watched starting pitchers do maybe 5 min of static stretching and a couple of jogs back and forth and then start throwing a baseball at 60 feet.   What was even more annoying was on days they didn’t start they warmed up with the rest of the team which usually included a thorough dynamic warmup.   It has never made any sense to me that on the days they didn’t play the were more warmed up than the days they actually performed their sport. 

I’ve even seen pitchers warm up more for their running program on their “off days” at the professional level.  When I would bring this point up to coaches they would always answer with “They’re on their own.  They know what they need.  It’s whatever they usually do.”   The problem becomes that many of these kids come from not really having a structured program at the high school level.  So they just do what they did prior to games in H.S. 

Our starting pitchers at TCU have a specific warmup prior to their start centered around their movements and needs as an athlete.   It begins with a general body warmup but progresses to increasing movement and mobility throughout the hips, thoracic spine, and shoulder as these areas become highly important in the throwing athlete. 

We start out around the hips creating movement on the front side to the back side.  From there we will move into our thoracic spine progression.  Towards the end of our warmup we move up the kinetic chain to the glenohumeral joint and create warmth and mobility here.  Our kids are sweating heavily by the time our 12 minute session is completed. 

When I first began implementing this warmup with our staff it wasn’t uncommon to see our starting pitchers velocity up by 2-4 mph. 

The problem was that they previously weren’t preparing their body for movement, and explosive movement at that.   Even though they had thrown for 20 minutes their bodies weren’t really that prepared.

Year in Review

It’s been over a year since I started this site.  Since then I’ve met a lot of people and had a lot of good things come from it.  There’s been over 85,000 views, I’ve posted several articles, and even had an article published in Training and Conditioning magazine on the annual training of the TCU pitchers.  

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This site has also seen a lot of big things happen for TCU athletics and the teams I work with.  The baseball program made it to their 1st ever College World Series, the football team made it to their 1st ever BCS game with the Fiesta Bowl, then won the Rose Bowl this past January.

I’ve posted over 150 times and in the last year and one thing I’ve been wanting to do was to review some of the most popular posts in the past year.  These posts have been in the top few as far as traffic goes. 

Feel like a million bucks today!

Soccer and Energy Systems 

Internal Impingement of the Shoulder – Part IV

The Pushup, Interns, and Friday

Lower Crossed Syndrome II

Pallof Press

Quickly becoming one of my new favorite movements is the Cable Pallof Press.  We have used these with bands for years prior to having cable machines in our weight room, so there are other options for those of you who are without cables. 

The movement trains anti-rotation of the the trunk.  Creating strength through anti-rotational exercises also produces strength in rotational exercises, so we use them interchangeably.  Not only do our athletes feel this in their trunk but this is one of the best exercises for activating the adductors in the hips as well.  The movement incorporates everything from the chest to the knees. 

Those who have been reading this blog for a while understand this follows in my opinions on training the core as an entire unit.  I preach strength and stability of the torso/core all the time.  We don’t do situps, crunches, russian twists, leg raises, etc…..  This is one of our main rotational strength exercises for the current 3 week block of training our in-season baseball athletes.

December 2010 – January 2011

It’s been an interesting few months here at TCU.  I’ve been super busy lately and have to apologize to for not posting recently.  I do appreciate the emails that I’ve received about the blog as well as other things recently. 

This past month or so has been a little bit of a whirlwind.   At the end of Thanksgiving I moved down the road into a new house and as many of you probably noted my posting ceased.   During that time the semester was coming to an end I was occupied with finishing up the Fall internship program, finalizing our Spring semester interns, Baseball’s testing, and Football’s preparation for the Rose Bowl.   All the while I was finshing up an article that you can find below, and also got called to present at this year’s CSCCa Conference. 

I wanted to share with everyone the article that I wrote for the December issue of  Training and Conditioning magazine.  It was a piece on the annual training plan for pitchers at TCU.  If you haven’t seen it yet the link is below.  I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on the article and appreciate those who have taken the time to give it a read. 

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Not only all that in December but I also spent about 10 days back home in Kansas, most of which was cutting firewood and working around the farm.  It was much-needed R & R. 

I spent this past weekend at the 2011 NSCA Sport Specific Conference in Addison, TX.  I’ll have a future post on the conference and some of the interesting things I saw as well as some of the presentations.

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s been another busy busy week and posts have been few and far between so I apologize for that.  I’m in the process of moving, which I hate possibly more than anything else.  Earlier in the week I had a post to get out but my internet was down so it hasn’t come to fruition yet. 

Our baseball off-season is quickly coming to an end.  We have essentially 2 weeks left in our training.  We will take a partial deload coming back from the Thanksgiving holiday and finish the final week with a little bit of testing / training.   I’ll have some thoughts on testing on in the next day or two but until then I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving.

EliteFTS Article

I had another article posted on EliteFTS.com this past week.  If you haven’t seen it you can check it out here. 

Training Rotational Movement Patterns

It concerns training rotational movement patterns in the weight room with beginnner / intermediate athletes.  I wrote the article because of all the questions I get on our rotational training movements when you don’t have bands, cables, or medballs. 

These are some of the options available, but they are simply a patterning sequence  for our athletes before we move on to more advanced movements incorporating transverse loaded patterns, as well as speed, and power movements.