Roux Strength Training Interview from 2009

A few years ago my friend, Dustin Roux, asked me to be a part of a strength round table for his site.  Since then, he has opened up his own athlete performance gym in Pittsburgh, and I am one third of the way through PT school.  Needless to say, we both have learned a lot since then, and developed new theories and methodologies.  However, with a few exceptions, there are some good points from the interview, so I thought I would share.  At that time in my career I didnt fully understand the importance of mobility, especially in regards to hockey players and poor hip mobility.  Likewise, I am now much more of a proponent of single leg strength and stability, and the reciprocal  neurological reflexs that our body is born with (think cross-extensor) . With that said, here is my portion of the interview.  If you are in the Pittsburgh and serious about training, check out his gym, Roux Strength (rouxstrength.com).  You can also view the entire interview at inlinehockeyperformance.com.

Roux: Guys, it’s great to have everyone on board for this. I think these roundtables will be a great resource for all the players and coaches reading our site. For our first question, I would like to know what you would do with your athletes if you could only use 5 exercises. Which 5 would you use, and why?

DeLorenzo: As far as my top 5 exercises (and I am speaking in regards to Ice/ Roller Hockey and in no particular order)

1) Front Squat- research shows that front squats place less compressive forces to the lumbar spine and knees when compared to back squats. I am by no means saying that I would never have anyone back squat, but I am partial to the front squat.

2) Deadlift Variations- I think it has been well documented how important posterior chain development is for athletics, so this doesn’t need much of an explanation. Likewise, since hockey is a quad-dominant sport, the addition of hip dominant exercises is of utmost importance when taking into consideration that the athlete needs to be balanced. Think asymmetries.

3) Horizontal Pull variations (Rows) – Even though I strongly believe the pull up and chin up are the pinnacle for upper body strength development, we are talking about what hockey players need. Therefore, rows not only help with the thickness of the back’s musculature, it has also been proven to improve posture and shoulder function (decreasing rotator cuff and impingement problems). These reasons, in my eyes, are important in a sport where you are already in a “hunched” position.

4) Core Stabilization Exercises (more details later in interview).

5) Unilateral (Single) Leg Exercises- If I had to pick just one I would go with the walking lunge, but all unilateral leg exercises can be beneficial. Unilateral movements are great for mobility of the hip, stability of the knee and single leg strength (among other things), which are obviously important in hockey.

deadlift...a total body exercise

Roux: Since I got about 10 emails regarding our Abs training guide…Your top 3 ab exercises, name ‘em..

DeLorenzo: Well, when it comes to abdominal training in athletics the first thing that comes to mind is the word “stability.” In functional anatomy, it is important to know that each muscle has two functions…

1. Movement

2. Stabilization or “Anti-Movement”.

Therefore, two of my next three exercises are geared towards anti-movements. Assuming the program includes Squats and Deadlifts (which are great anti-flexion movements), I would include an anti-extension movement, an anti-lateral flexion movement and an anti-rotation movement into my program. Some great anti-extension movements are plank variations, including the roll-out, the body saw, and the basic plank (and its variations). When it comes to anti-rotation movements I think the pallof press is near the top of the list, as well as cable chop and lift variations. Lastly, I am going to go with the reverse crunch or hanging leg raises. This is an ab exercise that reverses some of the effects of the continuous “rib cage to pelvis” movement that so many of us get when doing endless crunches (which once again does not help when we are already in a sport with a “hunched” posture, and a lot of shoulder injuries!).

neutral...stable

pallof press...anti-rotation at its best

 

Roux: Now, lastly.. I thought it would be a great way to wrap up all this awesome information with a “your choice” question. As a strength coach, imagine you have an athlete who has the perfect strength program on paper.  What else would you emphasize to them?

DeLorenzo: This last question is very difficult because there are so many ways to answer. As much as I think soft-tissue work (to improve tissue quality) is important, I am going to go with nutrition. While at PennState, we had the opportunity to consult Dr. Kristine Clark. Dr. Clark is a top-notch sports nutritionist. She once told me that “what you do in the kitchen is as, if not more, important than what you do in the weight room.” This includes everyday nutrition, game day nutrition, pre/post workout nutrition, etc.

Roux: Thanks for your contribution, Luke.

DeLorenzo: My pleasure. Thanks.

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Arthrokinematics: An Important Biomechanical Concept

Today I am going to cover a topic that I did not learn until PT school.  I feel as though the topic of arthrokinematics is important for health and fitness professionals to know because it explains why and how to mobilize basically any synovial joint in the human body.  It is obvious that a manual therapist or orthopedic specialist would find it necessary to obtain this knowledge, but I can also make the case that a fundamental background would benefit the fitness professional as well.  Arthrokinematics is defined as the study of the motions that occur within joint spaces during bone movements.   Most of the joints that we as PT’s or fitness professionals are interested in fall under the category of synovial joints.  Some examples of synovial joints are the knee, ankle, hip, wrist, elbow, shoulder, joints of the foot and hand, and all of the facet joints of the spine.  By definition, synovial joints, differ from other joints because of they are enclosed by a joint capsule which is filled with synovial fluid (basically a lubricating fluid that is necessary for movement).  Please see image at right for visual.

In general, joints in the body are in a convex/concave relationship, which allows for greater surface area for the bones to contact each other; increasing joint stability, dissipating compression forces, and providing more guidance for movement.  These convex/concave relationships govern the rules for arthrokinematics.  Before we get to the “convex/concave” rule for synovial joint movement, we need to know the accessory movements that are available.

The three accessory movements include: Roll, Glide, and Spin

An example of roll would be during a soccer kick or a lateral raise.  Both the tibia and the humerus roll superiorly during the kick and concentric portion of the exercise respectively.  An example of spin is at the humeroradial joint during pronation and supination.  Here, the radius spins about a fixed humerus.  There is negligible roll or glide during spin.  An example of glide would be at the facet joints of the vertebral column. During a toe touch stretch, for example, the superior vertebra glides superiorly on the fixed inferior.  The opposite is true during extension of the spine.  Please see picture for visual of glide.  The facet joints in the picture are underneath the black arrows.  Note how the articular surfaces of the vertebrae are approximated during extension.

If the two articulating surfaces are convex/concave, the rule can apply.  The convex/concave rule for arthrokinematics has two parts.

1. If a convex surface moves upon a fixed concave surface, the roll and glide are in opposite directions. (ex. femur rolling and gliding upon a fixed tibia during a squat or deadlift)

2. If a concave surface moves upon a fixed convex surface, the roll and glide are in the same direction. (ex. tibia rolling and gliding on a fixed femur during a leg extension)

Lets take a look at a few more examples.  Elbow during bicep curl=ulna rolling and gliding in same direction upon a fixed humerus.  Hip abduction= femur rolling superiorly and gliding inferiorly upon a fixed acetabulum (hip bone).  Close kinetic chain ankle dorsiflexion/ plantarflexion as in a squat=tibia/fibula rolling and gliding in the same direction upon a fixed talus.

Starting to get the idea?

With a little anatomy knowledge (or by taking a quick look in any atlas), we can easily conclude the shape of the articulating surfaces, and thereby understand which way to mobilize.  Furthermore, it is important to understand when to use this principle.  Arthrokinematics should only be used with joint mobilization in mind.   It is not necessary to increase muscular extensibility, but performing both together can save time.  Joint mobilization is used to increase the ROM of the inert or non-contractile structures surrounding the joint, namely the joint capsule and ligaments.

I think it is easy to understand how increasing joint play is important and how this can be used in rehabilitation of injuries.  Specifically injuries that have left patients with decreased range of motion due to immobilization.  But how does this apply to healthy athletes or clients looking to increase their range of motion?  Below are a few examples of how using an exercise band can increase range of motion using the principle of arthrokinematics.  I am by no means suggesting that static stretching should be eliminated.  Remember, joint mobilization does not facilitate muscle lengthening.  But, there are times when both can be used simultaneously.   These examples are some of the more relevant because lack of hip extension and ankle dorsiflexion ROM is quite common.

Please click the link below to view :

Talocrural Joint Mobilization with Tibial Glide

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM0uBIN8iWo

Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch with Femoral Glide

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOH3GbRUFFo

Rectus Femoris Emphasis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1dN8VA_RCE

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Postural Assessment

My first post is about a topic that has been well covered, and for good reason.  Both static and dynamic posture is of utmost importance in regards to maximum performance no matter what your performance measure.  Optimal postural alignment is a well sought after goal by fitness professionals, personal trainers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and the like. Instead of discussing specific postural topics such as the implications of spinal coupling mechanism on scoliosis or rear foot valgus (perhaps topics for a later date), I will give a quick and cost efficient way to objectify postural mal-alignments.  This technique is very simple, yet it takes a keen eye to identify the origin of the mal-alignment.  In addition, it is by far more difficult to identify the cause.

The are many ways to assess posture, but this technique uses a plumb line (a fishing sinker and yarn), which gets a little help from gravity, and subsequently hangs perpendicular to the ground.  One of the benefits of this technique is that within a few easy snapshots, the assessor can display his/her work, and allow the client to view their progress.  The plumb line makes it easier for the untrained eye  (i.e. the client) to view postural faults.  I believe that in most instances, allowing the client or patient to view themselves will help build rapport and hopefully help the client feel that their money is being well spent.  The basis for the entire technique is that the plumb line is to dissect or pass within a certain proximity to a predetermined set of ‘reference points’–bony landmarks that differ based on the position of the subject.  The patient or client is placed in three different positions, and assessed in a standing.  Below is a list of these reference points, cephalad to caudal, in each of the three positions.

Anterior (Frontal) View                           Sagittal (Lateral) View          

  1. Through Center of Nose                          1.  Through Ext. Auditory Meatus
  2. Though Xiphoid Process                         2.  Through Acromion
  3. Umbilicus                                                      3.  Through Greater Trochanter
  4. Between Knees                                            4.  Between Knee Axis and Patella
  5. Midway between Ankles                         5.  Just Anterior to Lateral Malleoli
 Posterior (Back) View                    
1.  Center of Occiput
2.  Through Spinous Process of Vertebrae
3.  Through Intergluteal Cleft
4.  Between Knees
5.  Between Medial Malleoli
         

To the left is an example of “good” and “poor” postures in a sagittal (Lateral) View.  The dotted line in the middle view represents the plumb line, and it can be easily seen that one or more landmarks are out of alignment in the “poor” posture views.  With that said, and somewhat stated in the image, abnormal postures can contribute to weak or inhibited musculature in some places, and overactive soft tissue in others.  To aid in the understanding of this concept, I will go into a little further detail regarding forward head posture, a common postural fault in our society.  To be quite honest, you are most likely donning this position while reading this.  Some athletes that suffer from it are cyclists, baseball pitchers, and hockey players.  In short, forward head posture is a flexed lower cervical and hyper-extended upper cervical spine.  As seen in the picture to the right, hyper-tonicity 
on one side of the body (ex. upper trap, levator, suboccipitals), usually leads itself to hypo-tonicity on the opposite (ex. deep neck flexors).  The therapeutic goal is to restore some kind of balance by returning these tones to ‘neutral’.
As stated before, there are many ways to assess posture.  It can be done statically, dynamically, in a structured manner, or just by assessing someone during exercise.  With that said, this technique is not meant to be an ultimate or an all-inclusive, but merely a tool in one’s professional toolbox.  If nothing else, my hope is that it can give someone a reference to understand how the body should align.  Even without taking the time to set up the entire technique, one could, for example, note that a client’s ear is not centered over the acromion, and therefore hypothesize forward head posture.

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