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How to prepare your biomechanics for sport and exercise
Biomechanics and sports injury prevention
Irrespective of the sports you perform, the type of training or exercise you do, or indeed at what level, preparation of your biomechanics is an important part of your training program and is essential to compliment your physiological and functional training and screening.
The practical application of biomechanical screening can be used as an integral part of a sports injury prevention and management program, a conditioning program for optimal performance and is the basis upon which a functional training program and a sports conditioning program can be delivered safely and most effectively.
Sports conditioning for functional training
Functional training prepares you for training functionally, but what prepares you for functional training? Functional training has its origins in rehabilitation and has been around for 40 years or more. In this time we have established that biomechanical screening is a critical precursor to functional screening and functional training, otherwise you simply continue to experience problems. As the functional concepts start to become more widely accepted in fitness, coaching and conditioning fields, it is important to recognize that the biomechanical screening has not yet followed into these arenas. Functional and biomechanical screening and training are very important aspects of an overall conditioning program for any sport or activity and are complimentary in every way. For example, there are many people who pass a functional screen, yet fail a biomechanical screen. They detect different factors, both of which are important to the trainer.
Sports injury prevention
There are many causes of injury ranging from poor technique, poor ‘core’ strength, poor preparation, insufficient range of movement in the relevant structures and many others. Your correct biomechanical function is also a critical factor, but is generally less understood. A biomechanical screen will highlight the flaws in your pelvic, shoulder and knee function, as well as check whether you have any low grade muscle spasm in key muscles, which may be restricting both movement and the correct functioning of a joint. In addition a biomechanical screen will check your nervous system and highlight any problems that may cause your body to compensate and break down. For example, a rotated pelvis causing a functional leg length discrepancy can result in a variety of different injuries depending upon how you compensate. It can cause lower back pain, knee pain, shin pain, hamstring injuries, even foot pain. By screening issues like pelvic function, the risk of many of these injuries can be significantly reduced.
The performance of an exercise is affected by many different factors. Your biomechanical function has a profound affect on how your movement patterns are controlled and compensated for during the performance of a movement or series of movements. It is often these compensations for biomechanical issues that lead to faulty movement patterns and ultimately compromised sports performance. For example, if a golfer had an overactive infraspinatus muscle (one of the rotator cuff) in the shoulder, it would significantly affect their ability to deliver a consistent high velocity swing. This is due to the shoulders inability to control the arm at high speeds before and after impact. The same principle applies to all arm related events, including javelin throwing and tennis.
Sports injury management
Sports therapists are becoming increasingly skilled at being able to diagnose and treat injury. One factor that is now recognized to compliment that process is the understanding of biomechanics. The kinetic chain and how structures relate to each other in biomechanical terms can have a profound affect on outcomes. For example, a player with ‘non-specific’ groin pain which had been failed to be diagnosed despite specialist consultation and MRI scanning was treated successfully by working on the biomechanical function of his opposite shoulder. The body is an integrated system and all of its component parts affect each other in ways that we hadn’t fully appreciated. So if you have a person with a sports injury that is failing to respond to treatment, chances are there is a biomechanical cause somewhere else in the body that is loading that susceptible area. Finding the biomechanical cause can be critical in getting that person back to sport and importantly minimizing the risk of recurrence.
Who are we?
In summary, Martin Haines qualified 25 years ago as a Remedial Gymnast and Recreational Therapist and then 2 years later as a Chartered Physiotherapist. This dual qualification and a special interest in Biomechanics has lead him to work in the professional medical and sports conditioning fields for over 20 years. In this time he has worked with 5 Olympic gold medalists, collecting 23 medals between them. In addition he has worked with premiership football and rugby teams, McLaren Formula One Racing Team, the PGA and more recently he has worked with UK Athletics. Martin is a very sought after presenter and has presented globally on the subjects of biomechanics, rehabilitation, conditioning and functional training.
Intelligent Training Courses™
Martin Haines and his team have performed a range of biomechanical tests on over 4,000 sports people. Martin firmly believes that studying and understanding our musculoskeletal system and how they impact on our body movements is key to improving; Injury Prevention, obtaining Optimal Performance and also fundamental exercise prescription. Martin has taken work from many of the world’s renowned researchers* and developed a series of one day practical biomechanics training courses.
* Professors Stuart McGill and Serge Gracovetsky from Canada, Professors Twomey & Taylor from Australia, Nick Barrow a Clinical Biomechanist from the UK and Professors Mike Stone and Jeff McBride from USA, amongst many others.
The series has been divided into 3 x 1-day practical biomechanics training courses:
Day 1 – Normalise phase
The first day is the Normalise Phase which is an introduction to a series of screening tests to identify any biomechanical weaknesses with the pelvis, spine and nervous system. This is then linked to a series of exercises, which are used to improve and correct any flaws.
1. Introduction to Biomechanical and Exercise Models.
2. Theory and Practical Screening tests looking at the pelvis, spine, muscle spasm and nerve function.
3. Prescription of exercises to help manage any of these biomechanical issues
4. Application of the results into a variety of scenarios in the medical, coaching, fitness and sporting fields
Day 2 – Stabilise phase
Once ‘normal’ biomechanics is achieved you progress to the second day which is the Stabilise Phase where you discover the latest biomechanics models of core stability training. Then you work through core stability screening & associated exercises to address any core imbalances and by the end of this day you will understand how to progress core stability training through over 400 exercises.
1. Biomechanical model of core stability
2. Relevant core stability screening tests
3. Theoretical and practical implementation of specific core conditioning programs
4. Functional core stability training
Day 3 – Functionalise phase
The final day is the Functionalise Phase, which looks at the biomechanics of the knee and shoulder. A full screening program for both is discovered with the relevant exercises to complete the process and the biomechanical preparation for sport and exercise.
1. Screening methods to establish suitability for functional training
2. Theory and practice of biomechanical testing of the knee
3. Theory and practice of biomechanical testing of the shoulder
4. Finalizing the preparation for functional training
The courses are recognized in the fitness arena by the Register of Exercise Professionals (8 REPs points per day), they are endorsed and recognized by UK Athletics (3 CPD points per day) and are accredited by the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA, 25 CPD points per day).
At Mobilis Performance™ we are committed to providing state of the art, evidence based training and education for all those involved in the prescription of exercises in fitness, conditioning, coaching and health care. We train healthcare professionals, personal trainers, sports coaches and strength & conditioning coaches. We have collated information from the worlds leading researchers together with work of our own, to create Intelligent Training™.
The courses are aimed at sports coaches, personal trainers, all therapists, fitness instructors, strength and conditioning coaches, P.E teachers and occupational health.
Martin Haines DipRGRT MCSP
Head of Mobilis Performance, The Intelligent Training™ Company, www.mobilisperformance.com