So today we get to delve into MSF just a little bit more. When we talk about increasing an athlete’s force production, there are two ways it can be approached. We can either improve quality of movement (which improves the efficiency of your force production) or we can improve strength. A solid speed protocol should address both fronts simultaneously, at least to some extent. Today we will explore the improved movement end. We will discuss strength in part 3.
From a quality of movement perspective, our goals are really just to re-center the ball-and-socket joints (mainly the shoulder and hip) and try to reestablish correct mobility and stability relationships, particularly along the hips and spine. A well-centered hip allows free movement at the joint and optimizes force production by enabling the smaller stabilizers to focus on anchoring in that solid pivot point so the big movers (GLUTES!) can do their job.
As for reestablishing mobility and stability relationships, the mobility portion is pretty intuitive: every muscle has an antagonist (a muscle that creates movement in the opposite direction), if a muscle’s antagonist is overly tight then the muscle’s maximal force becomes limited. For example, if the internal rotators (the groin) are too tight, they can either limit or prevent full external rotation of the hips (one of the jobs of the GLUTES), which is not only one of the primary culprits in poor centering of the femur, the GLUTES also play a large role in the force production of running.
To understand the stability portion of the equation Gray Cooke uses an excellent metaphor when he compares explosive hips with an unstable core to trying to shoot a canon off of a canoe. At a certain point, a more powerful canon is far less valuable than a more stable boat. As you see in the video it is often quite hard to separate mobility and stability. They are two sides of the same coin.
By using primitive style movements in our movement prep, we are able to create daily improvements in our athletes’ quality of movement before they start their strength work. In the above video, we walk you through how one movement allows us to work on mobility and stability by focusing on centering the joints. In general, we aim to address all three in every warmup exercise we do.
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