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Training Athletes

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
One of the great things about my job, is that, like ski instructors, I can work and play at the same time. I've been researching my fall conditioning program, and as I find articles of interest, it's been fun to throw out the concepts to an intelligent, informed group like you guys, and hear your feedback.

I came across this article by Vern Gambetta, a major player in the Core Stability/ Athletic Training movement. Although he specializes in Track and Field and team sports, at least some of it may be applicable to skiing. http://gambetta.com/index.html

What gave me food for thought was the concept of "force reduction" for deceleration. Also, the idea of "training movements not muscles". Fitness trainers can tend to be a little bit "muscle obsessed", and can often fail to see the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish with those muscles.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence

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[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited July 28, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 15
LM, my dad has been to a bunch of Gambetta's workshops, and some of the stuff from Perform Better. You should go sometime, if you havent already been.
post #3 of 15

I read some of the short articles and there are some interesting thoughts (I am not sure how much of this is new). I guess one would have to buy the books to understand all the concepts Gambetta is talking about.

But he said something that is essentially incorrect. There is no such thing as "training muscles". It is always about training movements. It just happens that many of the movements used in training isolate one or more muscles and therefore the emphasis in on the muscle(s). For example bicep curls are targetting the biceps, but you are effectively doing a movement. The key is the mental emphasis on that movement.

For a bodybuilder it is about slow, deliberate control (through the positive and negative phases) with maximum weights. Clearly a bodybuilder might as well think that he/she is training a muscle.

For a sprinter, the biceps curl is about explosive movements where speed/movement is the focus. In such a case, the deceleration aspect (at the peak of the movement) becomes important as well, and it has to be controlled. A sprinter will not benefit from thinking that he is training the biceps muscle. It is better to emphasize the movement of the arm (which in sprints is a key part of the overall speed).

That is my $.02.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
I agree that this is probably not new. What is new is the way fitness trainers are being taught to look at athletic performance.

What is interesting is that it is only quite recently that more people in health clubs have shown an interest in sport participation. That has required those of us who work in the gyms to take another look at what we are doing.

This means, that instead of looking at what we percieve to be the MUSCLES involved in the sport, the movement patterns of these muscles, that are intrinsic to that sport, recieve a greater emphasis.

Example: A skier or a skater needs to strengthen her adductor muscles.
Which of these exercises would be the MOST FUNCTIONAL?:

A. Sitting at her desk and squeezing a THIGH MASTER

B. Side lying adduction exercise

C.Working our on a Slide Board or a machine such as The FITTER1 or SKIERS EDGE


Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #5 of 15
Uh DuH! The slide or the skiers edge. Interesting about force reduction. Considering that skiing is about weighting and unweighting. Ever see these neanderthal types that never let go of the downhill ski?
post #6 of 15
Great topic, Lisamarie! The top ski instructors know that using an integrated instructional approach is infinitely more effcient than isolating movements.
post #7 of 15
>>There is no such thing as "training muscles". It is always about training movements.<<

Okay, now I'm no fitness guru, so I may be wrong here, but what about isometric (I think that's what they're called) exercises, where muscles are trained by means of resistance without motion. As a skiing example, to a 2 minute tuck.... do a 10 minute tuck! This exercise trains muscles without movement, doesn't it?

...just being an instigator
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yuk, Yuk! But perceptive. The word should probably be "Actions" instead of movements, since a two minute tuck resembles an action pattern of skiing, as opposed to a leg extension machine. The machine would be ski adjunctive training, since it strengthens the muscles involved, the isometric tuck would be ski specific training.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #9 of 15
okay. but just in case, I thought of one I was taught to do while in PT for my knee... The wall sit. UGH!
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Oh no. I'm going to get into BIG trouble for saying this, because I'm not supposed to criticize what a PT says.....BUT..

There is an instructor a Whistler who can tell if the Wall Sit is someone's ONLY method of conditioning. Their skiing becomes static. The wall slide is much more ski specific, especially with a stability ball at your mid back. It is more dynamic.

Of course, for someone like yourself, you are knowledgeable enough to distinguish between an exercise and a skiing technique.

Some people are not.

Oh, and didn't I recall you saying that you thought your PT was pretty clueless?
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
I better soften that. Sometimes, if a person is severely injured, the muscle has to be strengthened before engaging in any significant motor patterning.

The problem is in the follow through. After the muscle is strengthened to the point of being functional, many therapy programs do not try to incorporate that strength into sport specific movements.
post #12 of 15

They did a lot of static exercises for just that reason. The first exercise they have you do is 1" leg lifts, hold for 30 seconds, repeat until you are ready to die. The reason is, for ACL recon's, is that the VMO is totally gone, even after only 1-2 weeks of non use.
post #13 of 15
>>There is no such thing as "training muscles". It is always about training movements.<<

JohnH, I think you got me there . Unless of course we start thinking of static positions as a subset of some movement. Hmm, I think I better shut up now.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just thought of an example. When I bought my first pair of skis, for some reason I had trouble keeping my balance while carrying them. This was odd, since I do a great deal of training on the overhead press machine. Recently it occured to me that although I have a considerable amount of upper body strength, my shoulder work was done sitting down with my back supported, using both arms. Hardly the way you would carry skis!

So although I was strenghtening the MUSCLES involved in carrying a pair of skis, the movement was not reallly specific to the activity. A better choice is to perform them from a standing position, unilaterally as opposed to bilaterally.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #15 of 15
Correct me if I'm wrong, but when you speak of training athletes, you are speaking of conditioning,
not of rehabiitaion.

That being the case, the method of which you are speaking, training neuro motor patterns as opposed to instructing isolated muscular contraction, would indeed be the ideal.

Perhaps if more athletes were trained to utilize their strength, flexibilty and stability in a manner that is similar to their sport, there would eventually be less need for rehab.
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