Optimizing Human Performance

Assess, Don't Guess

pike stretchWe at Central Athlete have a lot of faith in borrowing from gymnastics as bodyweight physical assessment tools for individuals looking for a balanced approach to fitness. We have also noticed a decreased risk of injury, faster long-term progressions and more movement options when these criteria have been met. From a gymnastic perspective, the seated pike and the t-spine bridge are essential foundational positions that gymnasts need to maintain in order to have success in their sport. These movements patterns require a great deal of mobility, strength, stability and muscular endurance which is often a theme with general function clients; people who want to be more capable in their daily lives. We posit that maintaining these capabilities during your training progression will lend itself towards a “functioning” client. Clients who move away from being able to perform these feats will move closer towards "dysfunction". Some, if not all, of these assessment pieces could apply to many clients. Not meeting the criteria, could mean that there are some weak links, from a functional perspective and a possible risk for injury. Additionally, our standards employ a high degree of time under tension, which aims for the resiliency of connective tissue. People who progress too quickly through bodyweight progressions, might risk joint related injuries. For example, a client that comes in with the ability to do 20 strict pull-ups and can hold their chin above the bar for over one minute and possesses an 8-rep max of an external rotation that is above 10% of their close grip bench press max at tempo might be able to rip off 100+ kipping pull-ups in a training session with no issues. Clients who are able to progress to balanced feats of strength ands ability like this, often times have spent time progressing in a safe and progressive manner, where the muscles and the structures of the joints have had the proper time to repair and regenerate to handle progressively more challenging tasks. In another example, 100+ kipping pull-ups for an individual who has never done more than 25 kipping pull-ups in a training session could be such an intense stimulus that while they were muscularly strong and enduring enough to complete the task they were not structurally ready. The person that hopped into a workout with too many pull-ups too soon, now has a shoulder that does not pass a simple impingement test and has irritated some of the surrounding muscle of the scapula or the connective tissue. At the end of the day, if we are injured, snatching 300lbs is no longer fun. Our point is that some, if not all, of these assessment tools can be used at various of times in various situations to provide insight on our clients bodyweight strength balance. Single Arm Pull 20-second single arm chin over bar hold per side Single Arm Push 1-minute wall-facing handstand shoulder taps Pull Pronated chin over bar hold x 1 minute; x 3 sets Push T-spine bridge x 1 minute Core 1-minute hollow hold (maintaining posterior pelvic tilt) Bend Seated pike (nose to knee) x 1 minute Single leg 1 barefoot single leg squat off tall box per side @ 5511 Double leg 5-minute barefoot squat hold


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