Category Archives: Injury Prevention

Video: Improve your balance, reduce injuries

Balance, coordination, body control and flexibility are integral to the successful athlete. Often times too much emphasis is put on how much weight an athlete can lift, or how high they can jump. However, it is the little things such as balance that can make the greatest impact on their performance.

At Champion’s QUEST, our athletes work on their balance and coordination in their dynamic warm-ups, strength, speed, and power clinics. It is important that an athlete is well-rounded and doesn’t have any weaknesses because any imbalance that an athlete has can also put them at a higher risk for injury.

This video below goes over some simple balance and coordination exercises that your athlete can be doing on their own to reduce their injures.

For more information on injury prevention or to schedule an athletic evaluation, contact Coach Kyle Ertel via email at Kyle@ChampionsQUEST.com or by phone: 562-598-2600.

Kyle Ertel Champions Quest

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Video: Foam Rolling for Youth Athletes

Foam rolling, or self-myofascial release, is a technique used by athletes help break up adhesions and scar tissue to speed up the healing and recovery process after a training session. By rolling out theses knots, blood-flow is increased and muscles can return to their normal function.

At Champion’s QUEST, our athletes foam rolling or use other self-myofascial release techniques both before the start of a workout and also at the conclusion as part of a cool-down to begin the healing process.

About the Author:CQ headshot

Coach Kyle Ertel, Soccer Performance Coach, CSCS USA-W USSF

Kyle@ChampionsQUEST.com       562-598-2600

Increase Ankle Mobility, Reduce Injuries

The foundation for almost every athletic movement begins with the feet and ankles. Limitations in ankle mobility can lead to functional and athletic limitations and can also put an athlete at a high risk for lower body injuries. Even though the ankle joint is integral for effective movement, it remains one of the most overlooked facets of athletic performance.

At Champion’s QUEST, our athletes work on increasing their range of motion and ankle mobility in our flexibility clinics. Athletes also develop single leg strength, balance, and stability during our Strength clinics to reduce the likelihood of injuries. For more information on injury prevention or to schedule an athletic evaluation, contact Coach Kyle.

About the Author:CQ headshot

Coach Kyle Ertel, Soccer Performance Coach, CSCS USA-W USSF

Kyle@ChampionsQUEST.com       562-598-2600

 

Reduce Injuries by Improving Ankle Mobility

Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries that athletes, especially soccer players, suffer from. Soccer athletes are at a high risk for ankle injuries due to the nature of their sport. They need to make quick cuts, stop on a dime, and change direction constantly when performing out on the field. ChampionsQuestSoccer (3)

From the ground up, the body alternates stable and mobile joints from the ankle, stacking all the way up the body. The ankle joint needs to be mobile, followed by stable knee joints, mobile hips, a stable lower back, and so on. If an athlete has limited ankle mobility, it will directly affect how the other joints in the body function throughout the kinetic chain. The body will find a way to compensate but this can be a big problem for athletes.

Emi SchramAt Champion’s QUEST, our athletes work on ankle mobility in our flexibility clinics along with developing single leg stability in our speed and strength clinics. Extra mobility in the ankle joint can help prevent an athlete going past their range of motion when changing direction, especially when performing a cut that wasn’t planned. If an athlete wants to reduce their risk of injury, then their focus should start at the ankles.

 

About the Author:CQ headshot

Coach Kyle Ertel, Soccer Performance Coach, CSCS USA-W USSF

Kyle@ChampionsQUEST.com       562-598-2600

 

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Why is “Core” So Important? Part 2

Where we last left off, I introduced the topic of Core training, and why it is so important for rotational based athletes. The idea is that we use the body as a “giant whip” from the ground up to propel ourselves or an object with maximal force. The legs can be considered the big “V8 engine” that is responsible for starting the acceleration process. This emphasizes that a large amount of force is being pushed through the ground. From there, the core is next to engage and represents the connection point between the lower and upper extremities. Without a strong connection point, the energy will sub-maximally be transferred, and thus the athlete will not maximize their potential power.

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At 5’10” 170 lbs, Jamie Sadlowski is a prime example of how a powerful core can propel an athlete. He has won two World Long Drive Titles, despite being “under-sized” for the sport. 

Before we touch on the specifics of proper rotational strength training, however, we have to understand how we approach this from a functional standpoint. The “Joint-By-Joint Approach” is something I explicitly follow when it comes to training athletes to be functionally stronger. This approach explains how each joint from the ground up must alternate between mobility and stability. For instance, the ankles must be mobile, the knees stable, the hips mobile, etc. When an imbalance occurs in this chain and a joint inappropriately either loses or gains mobility, the other joints in the chain will inappropriately have to compensate for the imbalance. This, undoubtedly, can lead to injuries. With this in mind, as we work up the chain, this approach demands that the Lumbar Spine must remain stable, while the Thoracic Spine must exhibit mobility.

This is such an important concept when it comes to rotational strength development. It is all too easy to put an athlete in a position where they are putting rotational stress through the Lumbar Spine. A prime example of this is a “Russian Twist.” How can the athlete possibly complete this drill without mobilizing the Lumbar Spine? The emphasis of tapping each side of the body forces the athlete to reach, round the shoulders, and inherently round their spine. The stress and “work” of the movement works its way down the rounded spine and falls directly on the Lumbar section. Even worse, the athlete is usually encouraged to use a medicine ball, which creates an added load and adds to the stress of the Lumbar Spine. So, while the athlete is gaining strength in the appropriate rotational based core muscles, they are promoting an imbalance in their mobility.0

This leads us to the absolute truth, that rotational based core training must promote rotational specific strength, AND promote the combination of lumbar stability and thoracic spine mobility. Strength without range of motion is useless! In fact, strength without range of motion, is an injury just waiting to happen. Next time, we will continue to dive into the specifics of this very particular type of training. Every athletic movement pattern can be classified by both the strength of the movement, and the speed of the movement. Stay tuned as we go over progressions, and how to effectively program for power gains.

Coach Kyle Richter, CSCS, USAW, TPI

USC Baseball Alumni- BA Human Performance

Increase Hip Mobility to Generate Power

The Hip

It is the most important joint that we have to generate power throughout our body. The Hip or the hip girdle area is a very anatomically complex with over  that are associated with the area. All of these muscles work together to gain mobility and transfer power from the hip to the extremities. The more elastic or mobility you can create within the hip, the greater force production you can generate as you produce power. The power in your hips could be easily restricted if there were a group or one of those muscles did not have the elasticity needed in order to take the hip into a complete range of motion to generate maximum amount of force.

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Pre-Loading

Being able to pre-load the hips is crucial if you want to be explosive as an athlete in all planes of motion. In my years of training youth athletes, I have seen so many athletes demonstrate the inability to hinge at the hip correctly which leads to other areas to produce power or, in some cases, it will not be created at all. Being able to gain the hip mobility in order to hinge is important to all athletes that need to generate power. Also, having enough strength to aid in joint stability, especially in the lumbar area of back will help lead to the ability to display that force quickly through the body. The hip hinge is a movement that all athletes need to learn and master. There are drills that will help increase the mobility of the hip and there are other drills that will help teach you to hinge properly at the hip. If you need to help with taking strength and applying it quickly to generate power you can add these exercises and drills in your training regimen: Olympic lifts, Romanian DeadLift, Good Mornings, medicine ball ball throws, sprinting, jumping, hitting and throwing.

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Hip Mobility

Mobility = tissue length + neural muscular control/stability + joint structure. One big goal as a youth Athlete Performance Coach is to not only teach my athletes about their bodies but also to help them improve their mobility in all areas of the body to prevent injury. Having increased mobility is an aid to gaining the strength needed to generate power and assist with their recovery. Many athletes lack the flexibility in their gluteus and hamstrings in order for them to correctly squat, lunge and hinge at the hip. With the lack of mobility their stress will transfer into other areas such as the lumbar spine. This could be one of the reasons why we have youth athletes that suffer from lower back pain and injuries, not limited to the hip or lumbar spine areas.

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If you were asking yourself, when should I add in flexibility training in my workout, practices and competition. It’s simple: everyday and all day. In order to gain mobility you need to train your muscles to be mobile as much as possible because of the amounts of stress that you are applying to them on a daily basis. Do not limit the different types of mobility drills that you can apply to your flexibility training everyday. Unlike strength training, you are not going to over train your body by doing simple mobility drills throughout the day.

Pre-activity – focus on having an acute-corrective strategy to your flexibility training. That means to focus on the areas that may be limited in range of motion or may be compensated due to an injury. Also focus on more stretches that are more dynamic or ballistic in nature and stay away from a static stretch or limit your static stretches to under 8-10 seconds each. What you want to promote pre-activity is optimal length/tension relationships and develop active flexibility.

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Post-activity – your focus is more centered on recovery and tissue regeneration. Adding in myofascial tissue release into your cool down will help aid in tissue regeneration and recovery. Once you have completed your myofascial tissue release set then the ability to statically stretch your muscles will be more affective in gaining the necessary range of motion to aid in developing power and help decrease recovery time. One routine that you can add into your day is to have a static stretching protocol just before you get in bed. This not only will this help you unwind and relax, but it also helps you maintain any flexibility gains that you have worked on throughout the day.

Article by: Coach Derrick Campbell, USATF-L1