Friday an elite hurdler will be flying from his training site to our therapist in Florida will be getting three days of intense soft tissue therapy. Regardless of the strength imbalances, motor control, and compensations corrective exercise gurus will insist on correcting, the soft tissue quality is not based on how well things respond with ART but the actual dynamics of the tissue, something the functional screen according to Gray Cook can’t help. I brought this up in a podcast and Gray Cook responded honestly the limits of visual screening. The power of touch is a true sense, as the hands don’t lie like often the eyes do. Athletes are great compensators and will visually look great in screens after corrective motor patterns are housed on top of poor tissue dynamics (quality of tissue is not just how well it respond to foam rolling). Corrective exercises done without real therapy rarely work with speed and power events in track and field, due to the ballistic velocities and specific motor demands of the sport context. Also, the athletic history and training styles of the coach are rarely addressed as many times athletes will have poor buffer zones and must be solved holistically. Rune Brix, a member here on elitetrack.com that uses the FMS made a good point. How does one screen running and other more functional exercises than knee dominant balance lunge with arms behind your back holding a dowel. A more functional option for the sprinter community would be low level hurdle step overs on a lane marker from an alternating hop. The flight mechanics of running require flexibility in the hips a specific phasic pulses so that the next foot strike is under the center of mass. Often on a high knee acceleration (run in place and build up speed – taken from our sprint guru in Toronto) will screen restrictions that lead into recruitment patterns. Those that look like they are bowlegged or walk like cowboys after a sprint session are recruiting too many adductor muscles create synergistic ratio disruptions.
Take home point is you must get great soft tissue therapy and then starting fixing things later. Movements are the software and the hardware (joints and muscles) will often limit the hardware and cause long term motor pattens that are tough to fix down the road. Shirley Sahrmann can have people move like old people all she wants in raw dumb down movement but a jacked up hamstring needs therapy first or the software will be housed on bad hardware.