Splash - May/June 2013 - (Page 14)

STARTINg BlOCKS sTRENgTH & CoNDTioNiNg YoU DoN’T KNoW sQUAT UNDERSTANDINg THE OVERHEAD SqUAT ASSESSMENT by Mike Mejia CSCS i n the ever-evolving field of human performance training, coaches and trainers alike are always seeking out the best ways to assess an athlete’s physical ability. Having an accurate gauge of how much he or she can lift, how fast they are, or how long they can endure before succumbing to fatigue, can be extremely helpful in programming effective fitness strategies. As valuable as this type of information is, it’s not the be-all, endall many make it out to be. In fact, it can be argued that the most important physical assessment of all is one that yields little in terms of performance-related measures of fitness. But it can tell you a whole lot about an athlete’s current physical state. I’m talking about the overhead squat, one of the simplest and most effective physical assessments in existence. By using nothing more than your own body weight, you can test your dynamic flexibility, balance, core strength and coordination. What’s more, you’ll be able to quickly and easily identify potential weak links along the kinetic chain that if left unaddressed, could impede your performance at best, and at worst, cause you to become injured. Not bad for a test that can be administered in just a couple of minutes with the help of training partner, or coach. Proper Execution: Begin by standing with your feet shoulderswidth apart and toes pointed straight ahead (it’s recommended the test be performed without shoes to get a better view of what’s going on in the feet and ankles). Next, raise your arms up overhead, with your elbows straight. Once in position, begin by squatting down to the height of a chair (usually just short of the thighs being parallel to the ground) and then pause for a second before returning to the start position. Repeat the drill until you’ve completed 5 full repetitions and note any changes in form from a couple of different angles. You can either have your coach or partner do this for you, or have them film you doing the drill and make the notations yourself upon playing it back. When viewing the test from the front, you ideally want your feet to remain pointing straight ahead, with your knees lined up directly above them. From a profile view, you want to maintain a normal arch in your lower back and avoid allowing your arms to fall forward, or lean the torso forward excessively. You’re basically looking for your torso and shins to be parallel to each other at the bottom of the movement. Form Deviations: There are several things that can go wrong from a bio-mechanical standpoint when performing this test – each of which can serve as a predictor of future injury, especially if nothing is done in terms of stretching and strengthening to correct the problem(s). The chart below will show where your imbalances lie. If you find that you’re unable to do the test with proper form, it’s important that you devote the necessary time and effort to fixing what’s wrong. If you don’t and continue to train hard on top of a faulty foundation both in and out of the pool, you could be in for trouble down the road. Be sure to check out the accompanying video at usaswimming.org, which will address these corrective strategies in more detail. view cHecKpOint DeviatiOn OveRactive/ tiGHt UnDeR active/ weaK Anterior (Front) Feet Flatten and/or turn out Lateral aspects of calves and hamstrings Medial aspects of calves and hamstrings, Gracilis Knees Pinch Inwards Adductors (Inner Thighs) Hip Flexors Gluteus medius, maximus Pelvis/ Hips Excessive Arch Hip Flexors, Lats and Spinal Erectors Glutes, Hamstrings and deep core muscles Forward Lean Calves, Hip Flexors and Abdominals Glutes, spinal erectors and anterior tibialis Arms Fall Forward Lats, Pectorals Middle/ lower trapezius, rhomboids, rotator cuff Lateral (Side) Shoulders 14 SPLASH • May/June 2013 http://www.usaswimming.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Splash - May/June 2013

Splash - May/June 2013
Table of Contents
Mike Gustafson
Swim Briefs/Justin Case
Top Ten Tweets/Point-Counterpoint
Strength and Conditioning: You don’t know Squat!
Nutrition: What to Eat Before, During and After a Workout
Mental Training: Quick Tips for Addressing Your Mental Concerns
Training With
Athletic Foodie
Your Photo
Lessons from the Masters
Nathan Adrian
Tyler Clary
Missy Franklin
Matt Grevers
Katie Ledecky
Ryan Lochte
Allison Schmitt
Rebecca Soni
Dana Vollmer
Best Race Ever
Swim Nut Zeke
Five Songs
Getting To Know
America’s Swim Team Athletes

Splash - May/June 2013