Where do you sit as an athlete? - Part 2 Strength series

Where do you sit as an athlete? - Part 2 Strength series

Part 2 Understanding the assessment - Coach Alex

Previously we discussed training philosophy and the DMAIC process.

This post is all about figuring out where you are as an athlete and person.

Level 1 - The athlete

Are you able to move well through the appropriate ranges of motion? We have taken passive and active ranges of motion through each joint from physiotherapy standards. Different sports require different levels of movement ability but at this level (just concerned with the athlete as a human) we want to ensure that any athlete can express, what the physiotherapy community consider, normal joint ranges of motion both actively and passively.

Within these standards I’m also looking for any abnormal amounts of asymmetry. If there is not, is it something I can address whilst working towards the end goals, does it need time to address before sports performance becomes priority, or does it need handing off to a specialist.

Where are they in terms of Specific and General Strength Development?

Again, each sport has its own, and probably optimal (at least in terms of ROI), needs and standards for both specific and general strength. I have tables upon tables of strength standards with norms for sex and weight classes. I’d like to see all the athletes I work with, in any sport at least hit an average level of strength for their respective weight class in a push, pull, hinge, lunge, and hopefully a carry before we start thinking about sport specific strength development.

I’ll talk a little more about KPI’s (Key Performance Indicator), KPI+ (Key Performance Driver, something which improves performance) and KPI- (Key Performance Limiter, something that limits performance) a little later but depending upon the sport these can be hugely varied. For example, in something like pistol shooting I can imagine, although i haven’t looked into it, something as esoteric as perception of pressure could be a KPI- or KPI+.

Within the strength testing I have a matrix consisting of specific joint action dominant movements or types of grip strength (see below graphic for joint actions and movements). By testing each joint action we can develop a higher resolution picture than with global strength testing. On top of this, if there isn’t access to the equipment needed to isolate specific joint actions then, through deduction of contributing muscles over different compound movements, we can still build a relatively high resolution picture i.e. if someone has no access to a leg extension machine to test knee extensor strength but does have access to a bar to squat with. I’d prefer to take a front squat number and see where this sits within the normative data. Once normative front squat data is established, you can compare that with other joint actions that might contribute to the front squat. From there the deduction begins.

This same pattern follows for each joint action. You’ll notice that I’ve included types of grip strength over individual digi-flexion/extension requirements. It just made more sense to me when looking at grappling and grip dominant sports to skip out the middleman and go straight to demands.

This is a short sum up the “athlete”/person tier of the assessing process. Next time dive into where to go when talking performance for a specific sport or goal into account.