By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, CSCS, NASM, PES, FMS)
This article is about correcting a mechanical issue with mobility/stability drills. It is NOT meant to replace adjustments in timing in the delivery by a coach. We always try to coach the athlete into better positions to help feel and move more efficiently on his own before going back to the drawing board / assessment.
An example of this could be finding a stride length that allows for efficient timing of the hips to rotate and help set up a good lead leg/foot angle at foot plant. This will help not only help create a more stable knee but a better decel / blocking pattern as well. But I remember a great quote by Frans Bosch…
“The body cares very little about what the coach has to say
So, once we have exhausted all options to work with current movement abilities of the athlete on the mound, we must dive back into the body.
A poor post-up can be caused by several things. Today we’ll discuss hip lumbar/pelvic stability, hamstring length and core control. The other is a tight posterior chain, particularly when it comes to the hamstrings. Sometimes this lack of mobility in the hips and tightness in the hamstrings can be improved by improving stability somewhere else for example the pelvis/lower lumbar and core.
So first, let’s look at two possible issues that could be causing this problem. Then we’ll address a few ways to work on it.
- Is the lower lumbar/pelvis doing its job laying down stability to help the hips maintain a better position to move from?
- Is the neuro-muscular system firing the core efficiently to help keep the muscles around the lower lumbar engaged?
Let’s look at these one at a time.
1. Pelvis: Lower Lumbar Stability / Reciprocal Inhibition – Our first two points kind of go hand-in-hand. We need to improve feedback to allow the neuro-muscular system to regain trust in the stable segment, (in this case the pelvis/lower lumbar:
(Band Ass. Leg Lowering)
Lowering one leg into extension while holding the other in flexion causes reciprocal inhibition in the hips and helps to maintain the pelvis and lumbar spine in a more “neutral” position. This allows the body to feel that pelvic positioning being maintained and in turn cuing positive feedback from the neuro-muscular system to “trust the process” and allow ROM to be increased in the posterior chain/hamstrings by pulling the working leg a bit further into flexion every three reps.
2. Core Strength / Firing – Creating tension and compression through the upper body and core by releasing and re-engaging the band before every rep helps train the core to fire and in turn help turn on or engage the muscles around the lower lumbar. This allows the athlete to “trust “ the stability being laid down by the lower lumbar/pelvis to give the over-used and tight hamstrings a much-needed break.
(Core-Engaged Leg Raise)
Note: Re-engaging the core before every rep will start to trigger a pattern of firing the core upon movement.
Once again, these are not meant to replace movement adjustments on the mound. But if the coach is continuing to try to pound a square peg into a round hole, we have to go to plan B.
Improving feedback to allow the CNS to regain trust in this new-found stability will trigger the hamstrings which up to this point have been working overtime as lumbar stabilizers, to relax thus increasing the ability to extend or “post-up” at foot strike.
See ya’ in the gym…