“Know Thyself” – Ancient Greek Aphorism
An NBA player came to us complaining of persistent knee pain and feeling like he couldn’t drive off his right leg. His initial scan (lower left) showed he had a Sparta signature that we call a lateral athlete, shown when the t score for EXPLODE is the highest variable of the signature. Athletes with a lateral signature display great lateral chain stability and stiffness, transferring (maintaining) force really well and so they excel at axial plane movements. In other words, they are great going “up and down.” This is a perfect perfect movement signature for an NBA center — but this player is a point guard.
His t score for DRIVE was low, which accounted for his knee injury and complaint that he felt weak driving off his right leg. We found out this player had a training history of very “traditional” weightlifting movements which tend to over emphasize the upper body. Basically he was training like a body builder, not an athlete.
The first thing we prescribed for this athlete was split squats – lots of them. The movement is performed on one leg (increasing time under tension) and emphasizes posterior chain muscles that increase DRIVE, which would help his knee injury. Our loading schemes are based off percentages of body weight, and each time he reached a load milestone we dropped the rest period by 30 seconds, increasing the density of his training. The second thing we did was to remove upper body lifts that encouraged his use of tension, rather than initiating movements with his lower half. As we like to put it, no one was paying him to box out and rebound. The changes can be seen in his second scan (above right). DRIVE is dramatically improved and EXPLODE and DRIVE have been de-emphasized. He now has the Sparta signature of what we call a linear athlete. Athletes with a linear signature use momentum and length really well to create great timing and accuracy. The result is that his knee pain is gone, and he has become more of a pick-and-roll guard, improving his first step which lead to increased scoring and assists.