Yesterday, Helen E. began her journey yesterday towards becoming a more powerful rower by becoming a Personal Training client here at Steelworks Strength Systems.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be dissecting her movement patterns and mobility to help improve her performance on the water.
After a body composition analysis and some breathing technique work, we dove right in to the squat. If you can squat really well, chances are you’ve got great mobility and strength in the core and lower body. Oddly enough, those are two crucial factors for rowers.
In the video above, you’ll see a couple of the tests we use to analyze squat mechanics. I asked Helen to squat as she normally does. As you can see in the first part of the video she pushes her hips way back; the torso is almost parallel to the floor. We looked at hamstring length in each leg, pelvic tilt, and internal and external rotation in her hips. Hamstrings had good range of motion, she could control the angle of her pelvis well, and had more internal than external rotation in her hips.
The second part of the video sees new positioning reflecting some of these anatomy issues. A slight improvement, but still not what we were looking for.
We then looked at counterbalancing her squat. By raising the heels we are able to reduce any limitations in ankle dorsiflexion and shift more of the weight in the body forward. This allows the hips to lower down and not fall back.
The second piece to the counterbalance of the squat is to squat with a weight in front. By having to squeeze the weight, the deep core muscles activate better, convince the brain that the movement is safe, and then allow greater range of motion.
After this initial exam, Helen will need to teach her core how to better organize and activate to express deeper ranges of motion. We’ll be working on good breathing, mobility, and activation over the next few weeks.
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