Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beyond conventional upper body work

There’s something to be said for doing upper body closed chain exercises. Beyond Pullups and pushups.

Football players, wrestlers and sports that involve your eyes listen up. The two sports where I see athletes getting the greatest gain from this are the previously mentioned sports but from an experiential standpoint walking on your hands, standing on your head, doing wheel barrels are invaluable to performance and under appreciated.

I’m not saying it needs to be a cornerstone of your programming but an athlete that can walk on his hands is going to have excellent shoulder stability, incredible core and upper body strength, as well as amazing overall proprioception an kinesthetic awareness and in the case I mean his/her awareness of and body control. It also has huge ability to increase hand eye coordination and reactive ability.

When I was a freshman in high school I dislocated my shoulder and cracked the growth plate. It was a bad deal. My scapular stabilizers were terribly weak, and I had horrible scapular winging. Eventually physical therapists made me crawl w/ my hands on a treadmill to work on this. Does this sound like a wheel barrow race?

Think about, what do we do before we walk? We crawl, there is a physiological reason for this. For one we don’t have the balance, strength and coordination to walk yet, but that is the point. Our bodies must learn to move and react in a complete different fashion than we are used to.

Now think of grappling and pumbling. Both are mainstays in wrestling and football (blocking). Both are affective for a reason, much like walking on your hands can be.

Try it out w/ your athletes. Pick one day and do it for 4 weeks, make a competition out of it. Let me know how it goes.

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