Sports Science is the Study of Human Performance, Mechanics, and Physics
Sports Science gives Strength Coaches and Performance Specialists the data they need to build strength & conditioning programs that enhance speed, power, strength and reduce the risk of injury.

Onset of Hip Dysfunction in Throwers, Catchers, Position Players, Baseball Athletes

Good morning Team,

Coach JJ here, today i want to discuss an overwhelmingly consistent dysfunction we’ve found amongst our baseball and softball population, extremely prominent in Pitchers.

Before continuing, I’d like to point out that our ability to consistently find and eradicate bio-mechanical breakdown in our athletes like this one, is due almost solely to our use of the Max Effort method that exists within the Conjugate System. This is because when taking maximal load on “complex” barbell movements like the classical lifts and special variations of those lifts, we’re able to figure out where the athletes system is failing… [emaillocker id=”14403″]

Once we’ve found the point of breakdown we’re able to shut down the athlete, record the best achieved “maximum” production of strength in that specific range of motion, and then move directly into single joint work and specialized exercises to begin eradicating the weakest joint’s and joint angles of the athlete.

As most of you know by now, we bust our asses to bridge the gap between what happens at the clinical level and what you’re actually experiencing under the bar, and most importantly on the field, but for those of you who don’t know myself, my staff or the culture at S8 – education is as big a part of what we do, as the programming and development itself.

That said, we’re going to get rather deep here with regards to human function and performance so as always if you are confused, just leave a comment or message us on Instagram or shoot us an email and we will be happy to try and break things down a bit more.

Here is a video of a thrower in our Velocity Research Program that has a MASSIVELY dysfunctional lead hip and we were originally alerted to it’s presence by the onset of locked hamstrings, pelvic tilt and occasional sciatic like symptoms. We saw this display itself during max effort attempts, and during specific jump variations and decided to investigate a bit more.

Though it looks like a simple issue that would have displayed itself immediately, it has been a much more involved process and the video simply documents how much range of motion the athlete is missing. At a later point I’ll post an update to this article and include a video of the Same movement showcasing the athletes increased articular abilities. He’s a very promising student and has already added 5+ MPH to his throwing velocity, and after finally reaching this “light-bulb” moment we now are able to attack a breakdown in the kinetic chain.

Below we’ve compiled the results of a study on 15 athletes presenting from our baseball population with a similar hip Dysfunction:

 

THE PROBLEM

 

Over the course of the last six months during intensive work with over 100 baseball players we’ve seen an array of commonalities in biomechanical dysfunction arise. Of these one of the more Common dysfunctions exists in the lead hip of throwers and hitters, and presents in both hips of catchers.

 

THE SYMPTOMS

 

Symptoms include low back pain, lack of mobility and articular abilities in the hip, and thigh, anterior pelvic tilt, tight hamstrings locked in an elongated position, and overall lack of power transfer in the throw and swing. Other subtle biomechanical symptoms surface when taking a squat as the foot on the lead leg/hip side of the body tends to be from 1-3 inches behind the back side foot regardless of load, walkout and bar position on the squatters back.

 

CONCLUSION & DIAGNOSIS

 

We have concluded that this is a combination of multiple dysfunctions: a hip impingement causing very minimal articular abilities, suspected to arise from the jamming that happens in the front femur-pelvis connection when the athlete launches his lead leg out in-front of him and creates the braking mechanism towards the bottom of the mound to transfer power up and over the back through the arm down the mound.

 

COLLATERAL DEFICIENCIES

 

In addition to this ailment, the IT band and Glute system seem to over compensate for an inner thigh weakness, and a major iliopsoas over dominance on the lead side of the thrower / hitter, which is believed to be pulling down on the pelvis, and lumbar spine, creating anterior pelvic tilt, lumbar vertebral jamming and neuropathy. This same case presents with tightness in the piriformis and by our estimation is causing pressure to be placed on the sciatic nerve, which explains why the pain isn’t acute but rather localized and traveling throughout an entire lower limb / low back segment of the body.

 

TREATMENT & REGENERATIVE PROTOCOL

 

There are a host of exercises and systems of mitigation that have proven effective in the short term and long term both for performance and the elimination of biomechanical dysfunction, and pain; These are:

 

  1. The Reverse Hyper, provides decompression for the Lumbar Spine, rotates the sacrum and allows spinal fluid to flow more freely as well as restoring the space between vertebrae eliminating pinched nerves
  2. Isometric strengthening of the Adductor and Abductor systems for lateral control and balance of the thigh
  3. The above combine with CARs or Controlled Articulated Rotation exercises allows the athlete to express full joint capacity and function, which provides the athlete with the ability to incrementally develop not only range of motion but active control in the newly acquired ranges of motion.
  4. Working in the belt squat with multiple walks and steps in varying directions and angles builds incredible hip tracking, and controlled ranges (this can also be combine with CARs exercises with light loads around the hips for traction)
  5. Developing Strength in the Hamstring through closed and open chain movements like the Inverse Curl and Seated Band Curls allows the biceps-femoris the ability to function properly as an extensor of the hips and can enter into a state of balance with the iliopsoas and quads
  6. External Progressive angular Isometricaly Loaded exercises in where the athlete will open the femur out to an extended range and meet an immovable load causing a maximal isometric contraction at the end range. This causes neural response to motor units that are basically dormant in the range of motion that the athlete can no longer achieve and very quickly gives the athlete what is known as ACTIVE range or functionality in the newly achieved level of mobility.

 

Now if you don’t understand the above and you think you have hip dysfunction thats limiting your performance on the diamond, give us a call or fill out a form somewhere on this site or drop us an email… I’d all but guarantee we can get you throwing gas or dropping tanks in no-time.

In Strength,

JJ Morris
Director of Performance
S8, LLC

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Why Speed is a Product of Strength

Speed is affected by multiple factors and Running mechanics can be a monster. Most athletes have no clue how you’re supposed to run, and what’s more, coaches constantly tell kids you’re born fast or slow.

While it’s true athletes are born with varying percentages and proportions of fast twice fiber and slow twitch, ANY athlete CAN get drastically faster then they are naturally with correct development in the weight room and on the turf or track

If they couldn’t why would Olympic sprinters like Usain bolt have the best strength and speed coaches in the world at their disposals?

Case in point this kid Kyle Kramer has taken over 4 Tenths off his 60 yard and continues to gain weight while getting incrementally faster because we focus on two primary factors: stride length (strength) and Stride Frequency (CNS Development)

In addition – honing of mechanics and the development of stabilizers, joint integrity and elasticity of the major muscle groups are imperative to producing the correct angles and posture allowing the athlete to be capable of optimal speed and acceleration. But the real ground is gained (no pun intended) because of the increase in strength that Kyle is Experiencing.

We have a very direct approach when attacking an athletes speed, and that approach boils down to this simple equation:

Body Weight to Dead Lift Ratio.

Now most parents and uneducated coaches are instantly in an uproar over this term “dead-lift” because they have heard from a  friend or colleague or they themselves, experienced an absolutely terribly executed “dead lift” while having zero development in the posterior chain or understanding of biomechanics and injured themselves or someone else.

That is for another article though. The fact is, as the ratio between bodyweight and deadlift strength increases, speed & power output and overall athletic ability increases dramatically.

This is because the primary mechanics of the dead lift and the affected muscle groupings involved in the dead-lift are the SAME EXACT muscles called upon by the body when requiring an explosive jump in any direction, a powerful first step and even in decelerating and changing directions from high speeds in a split second.

to put this in layman terms, Movement by our body in any direction is resisted by the earth gravitational hold on us. Basically a rate of one times our body weight. So a 225 pound athlete, must be able to produce more than 225 pounds of force to move in a given direction.

However, as the rate of speed the athlete moves increases, the g-forces (gravitational pull) on the athlete increase – so – to accelerate, the athlete must now produce a force greater than the percentage of gravity resisting the athletes movement.

Because the deadlift is the most pure form of removing weight from the earths surface in an explosive factor, it translates into the athletes ability to separate him or herself from the ground in an athletic situation. Most simply, in a sprint.

Importance of Strength & Conditioning for Youth Athletes

Soccer Sports Performance & Soccer Training In General Requires more than Knowledge of the Game

Soccer is a sport filled with intricacies on and off the field. Training needs to be soccer specific improving technical and tactical skills to help better your performance.

Things like ball control, position based requirements, and the ability to develop the field come from practice and technical and tactical development; However, research is now showing the importance [emaillocker id=”14403″] of having a strong base in speed, agility, and strength is just as important as the technical and tactical skills the player uses within the game.

It makes sense, if you step back from the field and look at the big picture. The basis of any team-sport is dynamic, integrated movement: Changes in direction, velocity increases, deceleration, explosive bounding and lateral movement … the list goes on. It would make sense then, that to develop a player’s ability to execute these movements faster and with more precision, one would want to condition the machine, also known as the human body, powering the movements.

Knowledge of the physiological and biomechanical factors that determine performance in each of the 3 speed tests will allow specific training programs to be designed to address player weaknesses, improve speed capability of players in relation to their position on the field of play, and ultimately, improve match performance.

This is why we’ve developed our program around testing and analysis first. Because the basis for program design needs to be built around what the specific athlete, unit or team needs to develop as far as performance output. The Speed Analysis and Performance Testing we utilize at S8, gauges the athletes’ acceleration, maximum or top speed, and agility.

A study performed at Manchester Metropolitan University

This study ran athletes through three tests testing their acceleration, top speed and agility (Little & Williams, 2005). They then divided the athletes and put them through training programs. One group specifically focused on speed while the other group specifically focused on agility. When they retested the athletes, it was found that just speed training had minimal to little effect on agility and vice versa.

The reasoning being is different types of training focus on conditioning different leg muscles, building different body mass, and specific muscle fiber types (Little & Williams, 2005). The conclusion of this study was in order for a soccer player to become a more all around athlete on the field, they need to train all three.

Previously there has been a lot of reserve and controversy surrounding strength and conditioning training for younger athletes.

However a study performed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association has proven the opposite with a “…PROPERLY designed and supervised resistance training program (Faigenbaum Kraemer, Blimkie, Jeffries, Micheli, Nitka, & Rowland, 2009).”

Having the right strength and conditioning program in place, helps enhance the athlete’s soccer sports performance on the field. It allows the correct body mass, leg strength and muscle fiber tissue to be conditioned and built specific to each athlete’s strength and weaknesses. Proper and supervised strength and resistance programs are also shown to “…increase young athlete’s resistance to sports related injuries (Faigenbaum, et al., 2009).”

By testing and performing Video Analysis on the athletes, it allows us to design specific programs for the benefit of on the field skills. This training, in combination with technical and tactical training that the athletes receive during practices will help to make a stronger, faster, more accurate soccer player.

 

References:

Faigenbaum, A., Kraemer, W., Blimkie, C., Jeffries, I., Micheli, L., Nitka, M., & Rowland, T. (2009). Specificity of acceleration, maximum speed, and agility in professional soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(5), 60-79. Retrieved 2015, from http://www.fcboulder.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/NSCA-Position-Stand-Youth-Resistance-Training.pdf

Little, T., & Williams, A. (2005). Specificity of acceleration, maximum speed, and agility in professional soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(1), 76-78. Retrieved 2015, from http://www.e-space.mmu.ac.uk/e-space/bitstream/2173/3518/3/williams – specificity of acceleration.pdf?sequence=3

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