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January 30, 2013
How to Reduce Fatigue
It is my least favorite time of the year. I start to get sad as our pro baseball players prepare to leave for spring training. I will miss these friends, but this time of year is also difficult because they are cranky, anxious, and just tired from a challenging off-season. Other than the occasional verbal argument, we can clearly see their fatigue and negative temperament from their force plate testing as well (see Sparta Point ). While it is easy for experienced coaches to observe, it always helps to have objective numbers to identify fatigue, and a subsequent plan on how to reduce it.

The Definition of Fatigue and How to Reduce

Fatigue is the inability to maintain the same level of mechanical output, more specifically, a reduced capacity to produce force. So fatigue really sets in immediately during exercise, as your ability to produce ground reaction force (GRF) is incapable of being replicated at the same, initially high level. So our goal should not be to eliminate fatigue, an impossible feat, but rather reduce it. We have previously discussed the 3 major avenues to reduce fatigue in your sport (see Sparta Point )
  • Practice your sport, the more efficient your skills become, the less energy used
  • Rest more, as motivation and desire are the chief components of endurance, not physicality
  • Train explosively with less rest, density training (see Sparta Point )
As we plan in-season training programs for our players, as well as the athletes within the Colorado Rockies organization, we cannot just reduce fatigue without the negative consequences of density training (i.e. soreness) so must seek an alternative.

Restore the Movement Pattern to Reduce Fatigue

The best way to restore functioning, whether through fatigue or injury, is movement (see Sparta Point). Because the benefit of movement is not just structure, the growth of muscles and connective tissue, but more importantly it is sequencing, or your movement signatureTM. Your ability to coordinate your movements can be drastically affected due to fatigue. A 2013 January study out of the University of Lisbon examined the effects of fatigue from vertical jumping because of its universal application from reliance on the stretch shortening cycle (see Sparta Point). During fatigue, the authors found that the ankle and knee reduced their contribution, while the hip moments increased its participation. This study agrees with our observations, and those of our partners that are using the force plate technology. For example, Kansas Basketball, has found LOAD to be reduced during periods of heavy training or competition. These observations occur because the LOAD of force is predominantly achieved by the ankle and knee joints.

How to Restore Fatigue

As mentioned above, restoring your the movement signatureTM is the best way to Reduce Fatigue. We suggest using the 1 leg squat and push press to help restore the movement signatureTM from fatigue, because of its primary effect on LOAD. Remember it is not the movement or exercise name, but the precision of execution. Shown below is a squat, the one on the left uses the ankles and knees which will help restore LOAD, but the squat on the right, while heavier, will do little to help LOAD because of the excessive reliance of the hips, shown by the lack of shin angle from pushing the knees forward past the toes.
So restore your the movement signatureTM to Reduce Fatigue, but also avoid aspects that make it worse such as flush runs, or any prolonged exercise.
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January 30, 2013
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9 thoughts on “How to Reduce Fatigue”

  1. i totally buy into this, thank you. in the ‘good’ pic the knees are well past the feet, a lot of people argue that that is bad, high risk for injury, but i have always done it that way. how to respond to that knee comment??? thanks RJ

  2. Regarding the two examples of individuals squatting, is it the depth of squat you are referring to or the ankle/knee dominance vs hip dominance squatting patterns that is often attributed to different squatting patterns. Surely the man on the right would have the same (relative to body proportions and hip mobility) shin angle as the girl on the left if he continued to descend in the squat?

  3. Ankle/knee dominance vs hip, which we emphasize mostly through center of pressure of the foot; ball of the foot versus heel respectively.

    Yes, you are right, always hard to use shin angle as a hard line between joint emphasis due to differing body proportions so we emphasize depth while maintaining lumbar extension.

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