A Little Research Review...
My most recent Strength and Conditioning Journal (vol 31, num 6, December 2009) and Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (vol 23, num 9, December 2009) arrived and I actually spent a small amount of time looking through them and wanted to highlight a couple of things...
In the S&C Journal:
an article on using the Body Weight Forward Lunge as a screen - Holy Re-inventing the Wheel and leaving a lot out!
The FMS has 7 Screens for a reason - finding an issue in an integrated pattern like a lunge might have nothing to do with the lunge. FMS progresses from integrated to simple patterns for a reason - an Active Straight Leg Raise issue might fix what looks like back hyperextension in a lunge, fixing a Trunk Stability Push-up issue might fix what looks like a core stability problem in the lunge.
One movement doesn't tell the whole story.
An article on stretching the Posterior Shoulder - but no mention of normalizing Thoracic Spine mobility. (must not have seen Secrets of the Shoulder)
Not that the stretches are "wrong" per se (other than the sleeper stretch - just don't like that one) but that the shoulder can only work correctly if the t-spine is not restricted and the scapula can stabilize effectively. So just stretching something that is "tight" might not be the answer - what if it is tight because something else isn't doing it's job and that muscle or structure HAD to become tight as a compensation?
We have to look beyond the sight of pain or tightness.
(there were a couple of others but you get the idea from the S&C Journal)
From the Journal of S&C Research:
An article on using Dynamic Field tests used in an NFL Combine "Setting" to identify Lower Extremity Functional Asymmetries - basically took 6 people (not a large study group) and ran them through three PERFORMANCE tests. Yet again a group that doesn't get the idea that movement quality must PRECEDE performance. NOT that performance testing isn't valid - it's just that movement lays the foundation for performance. Testing performance matters after movement quality is checked otherwise you might just be testing compensation.
I actually like the performance tests that were used but movement comes first.
A comparison of the Free Weight squat and Smith Machine Squat found that the Free Weight squat has 43% higher muscle activation. Well thank goodness that finally been proven!!??
A machine squat (especially a smith machine) can never approximate a actual Barbell Back Squat - period. But it was impressive to see the large difference between the two and it seemed that the researchers were actually looking to prove that the Smith Machine squat was as good as or better than the free weight squat. So Cudos (sp?) to them for simply reporting the data.
A Kinematic analysis of the powerlifting Squat and conventional deadlift in competition looking for crossover effect between the lifts caught my eye...
And actually had some good stuff in it - final findings indicate that the squat is a synergistic movement where the deadlift is a sequential lift. This makes sense to me.
They were looking at the sticking points in the lifts and comparing the two to find similarities or cross over but it appears that the difference in joint angles at the sticking points makes cross over difficult at best.
This also makes sense although I will have to say that #1 - it depends on your individual area of weakness, #2 - these were competition lifts (which is good and bad and they had a good section in the article re: the difference in competition lifts).
Now where they really "brought it home" in style - their data showed that as expected the sticking point in the deadlift was at the knees but what they found was that bar speed began to decrease BEFORE the bar reached the knees. So the popular method for working the sticking point of the knees in the deadlift is to perform "lockouts" with the bar starting at the knees but this misses the fact that bar speed has already gone down before this point and is working on the wrong "weak link".
They recommend starting the bar 6 cm below the knees to hit the entire range from deceleration to the knees.
Also they site the idea that people typically recommend removing the deadlift and just working on the squat - an idea which they refute and simply state that "...deadlift should be properly and strategically placed in a periodized training...."
"In conclusion, .....the best way to improve the deadlift is to deadlift."
Now where have I heard that before??????
Overall - nice study that was actually looking for some interesting stuff.