IMPACT Corner Questions July 2013

1. I am a coach for a youth football team of 8 and 9 year olds. We are always looking for new drills and ways to keep it fun for the kids. We’ve been looking at tire pulling with a harness for our running backs and possibly tire flips used mainly as an obstacle course drill. My question is if this is too early for these kids or is it ok? We do a lot of different drills, but we’re always trying to get the best out of them. Any suggestions would be appreciated. — Dennis Drew.

Dennis, I love the question. I also coach my son’s (10 & 8) teams and am always looking to create ways to keep it fun and interesting also, yet still focus on the fundamentals.

What I realize is that so many kids at these ages lack balance, coordination, and strength. I believe it’s important that we focus on some of the basic fundamental locomotor patterns like running, jumping, skipping, hopping, and throwing before adding a ton of added-resisted exercises.  Heck, most of these kids still have a tough-enough time doing pushups, bodyweight squats, and planks.

Therefore, my recommendation is bodyweight exercises and movements first. Once they get proficient at the “basics”, then progress them to more resistance-type exercises like sled pushes or tire pulls.

Hey, keep having fun, challenging the kids, and honing in on their strength, coordination, and movement. But let’s also be smart in not developing any bad movement patterns for them either. Lastly, stay in their heads and keep giving them hope, belief, and confidence that they can be anything they set out to be.  #IMPACT

2. Is there a specific body work I can do to release my hips? Any other tips would be greatly appreciated. — John Abernathy

As far as bodywork, Rolfing & A.R.T. are 2 types of soft-tissue work that can release the hips. Specifically speaking, a skilled practitioner can release the psoas and hip rotators, which significantly affect the posture and performance of the body. Seek out an experienced massage therapist/bodyworker, A.R.T. practitioner, chiropractor, or physical therapist in your area for the actual work.

3. I had a question that I wondered if you could help me with: I have been trying for years to correct my shoulders from rolling forward but have not been having much success. I have been doing a lot of pulling exercises and stretching my chest but still it seems there are not much results. The only way I can correct it is if I conscientiously think about it and when I forget it rolls forward. Wondered if you can help?– Quentin Skinner 

Thanks for the question. This is common in an “upper-crossed syndrome,” which often occurs with repetitive motion activities, like swimming or with static overuse (ie. holding a position on a bike).

People with “upper crossed-syndrome” typically have tight anterior and weak posterior musculature. This creates imbalances, poor posture, discomfort, and possibly injury. An example that would lead to “upper crossed syndrome” in the gym is someone who focuses more on front side (mirror muscles) and doesn’t emphasize the backside (posterior deltoid, rhomboids, lats, and even serratus anterior).

As far as your question is concerned, I would say that you need to continually stretch your frontside, and strengthen you back-side. You should be strengthening your upper back and back muscles in a 2:1 fashion back/front. In other words, for every bench press set you do, perform 2 rowing or pulling sets. Additionally, if it has taken you several years to develop this condition, it may take you half as long to get rid of it.

So emphasize flexibility of your hip flexors, chest, shoulders, and the entire musculature surrounding the shoulder joint. This can help you improve posture and get your shoulders back.

Lastly, don’t forget about ergonomics. If you are hen-pecking away at a keyboard or doing some repetitive motion at work, this can easily exacerbate the condition as well. Take stretch breaks, improve ergonomics, and make sure you are implementing “corrective” work at the gym to improve and imbalances/weaknesses.


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