Last week I was down in Florida working with one of our newest MLB partners in preparation for Spring Training 2019. While most of our conversations were about the new Balance and Plank findings and return to performance considerations, we also discussed training implications for healthy athletes. As much as we talk about recommending “X” when we see a certain scan or sequencing pattern, sometimes it’s more about what you take out of program than what you add.
Like medicine, as much as there is a good prescription for a particular diagnosis, we also have to understand that there is “bad” medicine as well. Continuing to train the specific qualities that an individual excels at is just as dangerous as not training at all, and we have shown this through our research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning.
“Our gene expression, our hormones, our immune system, our gut flora, our brain chemistry, our muscle mass, our metabolism and more are all changed with every single bite of food.” – Mark Hyman, M.D.
Just as the food we eat impacts our bodies at the deepest cellular level (known as nutrigenomics), so does every dose of physical activity, good or bad. Training is not just loads and intensities in the weight room – our neuromuscular system is impacted by every decision we make. Riding the bike after training for cardio, doing extra “core” training, and extra sauna sessions can all impact the way our body functions, sequences, and adapts from both a physical and hormonal standpoint.
Baseball is familiar with the term “Extra Work.” In fact, some organizations have set groups both pre and post skill work where an athlete will spend extra time on their swing and/or pitching. The problem is that even though this is normal in most sport settings, we still fail to recognize the impact of that extra volume. Throwing, or hitting “until it’s right” is a recipe for disaster. I’ll save my thoughts on “fat camp” for my next novel.
When utilizing the Sparta Scan, it becomes easier to monitor how all the extra work and training is impacting that specific individual. While in Florida, I emphasized how important it can be to tweak volumes based off the information they were seeing in the software. Sometimes, using the information available to “pull back” is the difference between breaking camp with the team, or staying back in the tub. I’ve been the tub guy. Don’t be him.
At the end of the day, our athletes have personal lives outside of training. Riding their bike, pick up basketball games, and late night runs to Sonic happen to be part of it at times. Using a neuromuscular snapshot to identify when they are running optimally – or not, or not is crucial in the success of both the athlete and the practitioner.