Friday, September 05, 2008
Too often we see good athletes with poor flexibility. This cohort of would be athletic monsters are truly capable, and yet limited in their expressions of physical capacity.
Poor mobility narrows ideal movement options and closes peak force production windows.
What do we mean? Decreased flexibility means decreased functional tolerance.
Let's use the seated press in the photo above as an example.
To properly perform this seated pressing movement (adored by Coach Bergener) the athlete must be able to safely stabilize their lumbar spines in a lordotic or slightly curved position. Under very few circumstances is it OK to generate force with a rounded low back.
To be able to perform the seated press with legs stretched out in front of the athlete in a long sitting position requires very good hamstring flexibility. The photo above is a good example of this.
Now take the athlete in the photo below. Note his excellent neutral back position and good overhead position. Note that he is only able to attain this correct positioning with his hamstrings in a crosslegged and unloaded position.
While there may be no real advantage to what your legs are doing when performing a low weight seated press, the metaphor should be clear. The athlete in the first photo has the capacity to press from either leg position, while the athlete below cannot long sit and press without compromise.
Now tighten the metaphor up and think about the effects of short hamstrings on lumbar positioning during a heavy clean. Tight hamstrings means compromised leg positioning in order to maintain a safe spine. Or, tight hamstrings means that the athlete is going to have less functional wiggle room to get the movement right, and make it forceful.
Note in the photo below, one male athlete in five is in the long sitting position.
Get on it.
at 8:45 PM