loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

Lumbo-Pelvic Control and Running Drills

I recently tweeted a video of Sally Pearson doing a “high knee” drill and suggested that this was a good model for team sports athletes to use as a general guide. Using Dan Pfaff’s term “bandwidth” I think there is a model that intermittent team sports should aim at. The tweet is below.

https://twitter.com/LorisBertolacci/status/1233255452307181569

SP1

The explosion of drills emphasizing front-side mechanics means we often see videos of athletes doing contrived “front-side” drills. I also mentioned the lumbo-pelvic area. From what I understand this controls the extremities in a 3 D fashion . We know the pelvis has to move 3D when running but again using the term bandwidth it also has to be an anchor for huge forces to be transmitted through.  I could write a book about running drills and another on the lumbo-pelvic area so will keep this article short as possible.

On You Tube we can find lots of nice drills now emphasizing front-side or just run drills. First one is complex and is done well in video. But I assume this requires lots of strength and also skill. Question is will doing it develop strength or will a beginner just do it by flipping the pelvis around?

Barbell Quickstep Drill

Barbell QuickStep

The second video is an excellent progression of drills and again seems well done by athletes in video ( ie: control pelvis). But we have all seen athletes lean way back as complexity increases to facilitate hip flexion.

Progression of Sprint Drills to enhance frontside mechanics

HIGHKNEES

How often have we seen high knees done like the video below in warm-ups. I remember a Volleyball Junior TID camp and they nearly all did this when I said high knees! I thought apart from raising body temperature what poor form for the in-close needs  of Volleyball.

 

High Knees ?

HIGHKNEES2

 

Where it can get really unspecific is when we move to a lot of the front-side drills that involve complex movements, boxes, bars and dumbells. Again pretty good in this video below but I would think this needs a pretty well conditioned athlete with good basic skills in run drills and movement in general. And if we go to an AFL club for example we will still find players who can do this but in reality just compensate again to allow the movements or facilitate hip flexion.

Single leg DB Snatch to Box with Knee Drive

HIGHKNEES23

The problem many coaches have in team sports is that they train large groups and do not have the luxury of individualizing. The issue is making the session interesting and the drills varied enough but also sticking to the basics or creating scenarios and constraints to help develop the basics. Dribbling over ankles and calves (modified high knees), mini hurdles, stairs whatever. Whilst speed ladder is not popular with many, some fast foot drills are of benefit with beginners if arms are coordinated and basic postures maintained. I think wall drills can be used with large groups but not for too many reps. This topic alone requires a lot of discussion.

When individualizing though it becomes critical to analyze how an athlete runs, then what their drills look like, how strong are they in general and what lumbo-pelvic issues and range of motion do they have. Also how do they look in a game and are they fit!

One  assessment that I believe is valuable is the double leg lowering test. Below are some  links. The test can also be done manually with a hand under the lower back and assessing when abs/back can no longer maintain pressure on hand and thus control pelvis.

VID: Double leg lowering abdominal test

Double leg lowering test: Article

https://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/abdominal-strength.htm

DLLTEND

 

The ability to control the pelvic or fancy word (lumbo-pelvic) can and should be assessed by many means. Sorensens test ( holding a back extension), side oblique holds, single leg hamstring holds and so on. The problem or weakness could be multifaceted. Stuart McGill has some excellent tests and data which in my opinion combined with the double leg lowering test will provide some ok indicators to drive what ‘core” work athletes need or to explain why things are breaking down in running drills relative to this article. But for runners I think wise to add the leg lowering test because the McGill tests do not seem to address the impact of leg levers on pelvic and lumbo_pelvic area.

McGills Torso Test

SORENESENS

liebenson_4_1_9419

Personally I have found an inability to perform well on this test usually co-incides with an inability to hold postures in areas like sprint drills. (just like an inability to do single leg swiss ball hamstring curls!).

There are regressions and progressions to this assessment galore. Below are some excellent links

https://thebarbellphysio.com/core-movement-every-fitness-athlete-needs-master-optimal-performance/

Dead Bug Progressions: Prehab Guys

https://theprehabguys.com/advanced-core-exercises/

So what do elite athletes do for lumbo pelvic stability. Hardcore S&C people will say squats and deadlifts and overhead lifts will stimulate the “core” and enough. Others do heaps of offset walks with dumbells and some pallof presses. Many elite athletics coaches keep it pretty basic and work all angles with all types of ab exercises, hanging knee raises, lower back work and medicine ball work. Here is Sally Pearson doing some good old fashioned med ball work.

Sally Pearson Medicine Ball Ab Training

But I am sure that if I tested her for double leg lowering strength she would get a good result. Experienced , successful and astute coaches know how to condition athletes in the lumbo pelvic area and intuitively know when the link from run to drill to conditioning is missing and how to fix issues. Many young “INSTAGRAM” coaches do random fancy shit.

But take home at individual level some assessments have to be done, and then tied in with what is seen on field in runs/drills/jumps etc and under fatigue.

This area is massive! The research on injury prevention in soft tissues (hamstrings) is exploding. We have moved from eccentric needs to now hearing the word running technique and “lumbo-pelvic” being spoken about. The moment you speak about anything in isolation though forget it.

Getting back to my video on twitter with Sally Pearson and running mechanics for team sports athletes. With big groups KISS method and stuff like short hills/hurdles/light sleds/walls etc can create constraints that develop OK technique and postures. ‘Core” routines for big groups should be aimed at the middle levels. “Do no harm” but get some stabilization going. At individual levels for coaches tease out what is the issue. But also do some assessments such as the double leg lowering test or sorensens tests and see what they can cope with.

Visually I use content such as in video below because it seems to reinforce good posture and basic skills.

Fast Leg or “dead leg” Run Drills

As I said this topic is one that needs a book or more research than has been done on the nordic exercise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 29, 2020 - Posted by | AFL, Development, General, Rehabilitation, Strength and Conditioning, Track and Field, Uncategorized

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