Limiting your Liabilities

Several issues could be interfering with your athletic performance, but some are quite common and easy to fix.  The first is mobility, which limits the range of motion necessary for a specific movement.  The second is the inability to deliver the necessary substrates necessary to carry out an activity. Last is a lack of training for specific weak areas along a chain of movement. 

Mobility

Defined as the quality or state of being mobile, mobility requires a good foundation of movement and is the most important factor for an athlete. Examples include reaching overhead, touching your hands behind your back, touching your toes, squatting, lunging and so forth.  If you’re unable to squat properly with body weight alone, then you are likely limiting how strong you can become by squatting with weight - and at worst, setting yourself up for injury. In fact, barbell back squats is a top cause of training injuries. The athlete development team at CHI St. Luke’s Health - The Woodlands Hospital Performance Medicine offers a movement screen for athletes to identify areas that need work, and then design a program that will improve performance and decrease risk for injury.

Inability

The second most common limitation in athletes is the inability to get the body what it needs to perform a particular sport.  Elite athletes have the ability to perform well throughout an entire competition, which is accomplished through specialized preparation.  Muhammad Ali was famous for saying “a fight is won or lost far away from witnesses”.  You’ll also hear elite athletes say their easiest day is their competition day.  In order to get your body what it needs, you have to:

  1. Have what it needs available (intake)
  2. Improve pathways to get it there (delivery) and,
  3. Improve removal of waste products (clearance)

Any problems in these areas limit your ability to perform, especially late in the competition. 

Weak Links

The third limitation seen in athletes is the presence of weak links in a chain and a lack of training for them.  We have a tendency to take the path of least resistance, which typically means going to our strong side and avoiding use of a weak area.  We can only be as strong as our weakest link and for athletes trying to get the most out of their bodies it is even truer. For example, a weak rotator cuff will only allow the arm to be accelerated as fast as what makes it slow down - or even worse, it will rely on posterior capsule, leading to injury.  One of the biggest mistakes athletes make in their training programs is failing to identify and focus on weak areas.  Advances in the way we evaluate athletes have made it easier to identify and train these weak links, but it is up to you to seek a program that can help. 

At Performance Medicine, we use the latest technology and techniques to provide athletes with what they need to reach their highest potential. Our sports medicine team of physicians, physical therapists and strength training professionals provide a comprehensive approach to training athletes. Call 936-266-3130 to get started today!