Mike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains, there are methods for lowering the risk and reducing the number of sport-related concussions across America.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) – which is used interchangeably with the term concussion – as a complex pathophysiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head. A concussion or MTBI can be caused by a blow or a jolt to the head or body that disrupts the function of the brain.
There are methods for lowering the risk and reducing the number of sport-related concussions across America. Some of the factors are return to play, rules changes, the number of exposures, skill development, protective equipment and strength training to lower subconcussive forces. All of these considerations play a part in abatement of concussion. Exclusion of any one item affects the safety of the student-athlete. Each factor must be reviewed by the professional who, by using assiduity and diligence, can and will have a positive impact on risk.
Preventative sports medicine is the hallmark of any strength and conditioning program. The first goal of a professional is to develop effective and practical ways to reduce the number of sports-related injuries.
In the 1970s, collegiate programs began introducing strength training into their athletic programs to enhance performance as well as reduce injuries. There was very little research on the subject of weight training and athletics and many misnomers about strength training in general. At the time, the majority felt strongly that the use of barbells and strength training devices would inhibit athleticism by bulking and stiffening the athlete. Women, in general, had a strong fear of becoming too muscular. Educators worked to dispel those fears and strength and conditioning programs are now commonplace throughout athletics. Though some wrongly conceived beliefs still linger today when it comes to training the musculature associated with the cervical spine.
The benefits of muscular development are far greater than initially purported since the inception of strength training into intercollegiate athletics. One of the important functions of strength training has become the development of the muscle and tendon as a unit. The muscle-tendon unit attenuates and dissipates force. Developing a strong musculoskeletal system is what is needed to protect joints and reduce injuries. This attenuation and dissipation of force is not exclusive to particular joints in the anatomical system.
Dawn Comstock, associate professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, collected data on 6,704 student-athletes in six sports: boys' and girls' soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Her results indicated that for every pound of improved neck strength, an individual reduces his or her concussion risk.
Dr. Comstock from her years of injury surveillance points out the primary mechanism for concussion injury is athlete-to-athlete contact. The researcher then asked, "Did the athlete see the blow coming?" And she found that for the athletes who saw the blow coming – those who had a chance to activate their neck muscles – experienced less severe concussion.
The attenuation and dissipation of force and bracing before impact by activating neck muscles can lower subconcussive trauma. This is a great reason for training the musculature that moves the neck and supports the head.
There are many more reasons for an athlete to train this region of the anatomy. ‘Where the head goes the body will follow’ is an athletic axiom that coaches teach. Stand straight, place your fingers lightly on the nape of your neck. Without moving your head quickly move your eyes left and right. You will feel the musculature in your neck begin to contract. The eyes are not connected to the neck muscles but the brain is preparing the body for movement. Like our limbs it is important to move the head quickly. Training the head and neck will enhance performance.
The respiratory system’s process of inspiration and expiration involves much more than the diaphragm and the internal and external intercostal muscles. The scalene muscles in the neck are involved in almost every breath we take. The platysma and sternocleidomastoid are involved in heavy breathing. Injure or develop neck muscles and your body’s athleticism will be affected.
Conventional wisdom suggests that strength training increases body mass index (BMI) in a positive way, but does it? BMI is a simplistic measure of body fat. It is calculated by dividing one’s weight in kilograms by the square of one’s height in meters. The derived results can then be compared to a chart of normative data provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). BMI is useful for the overweight and obese, yet it does have limitations. BMI may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have muscular builds. The problem is this simple tool does not differentiate between fat mass and lean body mass. It has long been argued that heavily muscled, weight-trained athletes are healthy despite their BMI classification.
At issue is the athlete that increases muscle mass and vascularity significantly in all areas of the body but the neck region alters peripheral vascular resistance in an acute way. Peripheral resistance is a function of the internal vessel diameter, vessel length and blood viscosity. Having a large body and an undeveloped neck changes the force of the delivery system’s blood flow to the head.
The cervical spine’s associated musculature is regarded as an important proprioceptive organ for postural processes. The muscles are small with a high spindle density. You can think of this region as the hotbed of proprioception. Disturbances of gait can occur by interfering with, damaging, weakening or fatiguing the muscles of the head and neck. Training this region augments static as well as dynamic posture – our ability to balance.
The head and neck muscular system is a complex anatomical structure and has apparent muscle redundancy; that is, more head and neck muscle than degrees of freedom. It is been postulated that individuals exhibit a large variation of neck muscle activation strategies for accomplishing the same task intra individually, as well as between subjects. The health practitioner’s return-to-play protocol after a concussion, whiplash, nerve or muscle trauma must contain a measurable strength component to restore each muscle to normalcy, redressing this tendency to substitute by the injured athlete.
Head and neck muscles can be thought of as two distinct muscular units, the musculature that moves the head and the muscles that move the cervical spine. Each unit must be trained to maximize development and ongoing strength values collected. This aids in overall muscular fitness and post injury assessment in returning a student-athlete to their appropriate functional movement.
Injuries to the mouth, face and jaw are part of sport. Having a strong jaw helps in bracing, clenching against a mouth guard, and resisting the pull of the chin strap in helmets. Injured masseter muscles, strained temporalis, pterygoids, digastrics all must be rehabilitated and strengthened when damaged.
To help lower subconcussive forces, protect the student-athlete returning to play, maximize performance and fitness, strength training of the head, neck and jaw must be inclusive when designing exercise programs.
We are looking for current or former collegiate strength coaches that want to transition into the business world – but still coach. Hardpressed in Chicago was set up with the strength coach in mind. We are looking for coaches who want to strength train individuals, whether they are an athlete, former athlete or someone who never ever participated in sport.
The client experience here is as great as the one experienced by elite athletes. Our employees are well compensated at Hardpressed, as we offer earning potential close to six figures annually.
If you are a strength coach and enjoy coaching people hard and added job security appeals to you, we are accepting resumes. Starting compensation is commiserate with experience.
If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We understand the athletic seasons may dictate the timing of career moves. If you are interested, either now or in the future do not hesitate to send a resume.
Pendulum 3-Way Row
Pendulum Hip Press
Pendulum Seated Squat
Pendulum Lat Combo Pulldown
Pendulum Squat Pro
Pendulum Leg Curl
The Pendulum 3-Way Row is a multifaceted exercise device that allows an athlete to train in diverse manners. When using the 'vertical handles' the latissimus dorsi muscles, the broadest muscles of the back become the prime movers. Using the 3- Way's 45 degree 'v handles' the rowing motion becomes excellent for the lower traps and switching to an overhand parallel grip the posterior shoulder is trained.
An athlete can exercise one arm at a time or use the S.E.T. System to shorten or lengthen ranges of motion and without touching a plate easily do 'drop sets'. Without question the Pendulum 3-Way Row is the single best strength training rowing machine ever built.... Get it and Get Strong.
Under Armour Performance Center Powered by FX Studios at UA Global Headquarters is focused on increasing performance. Located on 1020 Hull Street in Baltimore, Maryland the Performance Center is a great place to Get Strong.
• Group Training sessions offered throughout each day
• State of the art sports, athletic and fitness training equipment
• Initial fitness, postural, and nutritional consultation using the latest technology
• Customized exercise program with measurable components to track your progress
• Focused attention from our trainers in a motivating, high energy environment
• Fitness and nutritional challenges
• Bring all or some of your current team
• Work with Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists who build customized programs
Pendulum 3-Way Row
Pendulum Hip Press
Train Overlooking the Waterfront
The Pendulum MX4 Modular Training System is a remarkable training tool that can be adjusted for athletes with many types of training limitations.
The people at Rogers Athletic strongly believe that quality exercise devices should not be limited to any particular group. Tyler Hobson along with engineer Ken Staton and the Rogers Group developed an extensible strength training system with the exact strength curves and the same smooth feel as the free standing equipment in their Pendulum line. They also included a motorized pulley system so an athlete in a seated position can adjust the range of motion with the push of a button.
Making the perfect fit
Train on the MX4 to Get Strong.
8th Annual Strength & Conditioning/Athletic Development Conference
CEUs will be 1.2 NSCA, 9.0 BOC, CSCCa 6.75 and 12 NSPA
Performance Training Center powered by UNDER ARMOUR (FX Studios - Hunt Valley)
11270 Pepper Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland
Itinerary for Friday, July 18, 2014
5:15-6:00 pm Registration / Check-In
5:50-6:00 pm Opening Remarks - Adam O'Brien, Director of FX Performance Training Center
6:00-6:55 pm ”The Meats And Potatoes”
Robert Taylor, Jr., Founder and Owner of SMARTER Team Training
7:00-7:55 pm "TBD"
Dr. Jan Dommerholt, President and Owner of Bethesda Physiocare
8:00-8:55 pm ”Think Fast. Be Fast. Perform Fast.”
Mike Wehrell, CEO of Vertimax
9:00-9:30 pm “Meet and Greet” – Non-alcoholic beverages will be provided in Sponsor/Vendor Area
itinerary for Saturday, July 19, 2014
7:00-8:15 am Registration / Check-In – Drinks and bagels will be provided in Sponsor/Vendor Area
7:50-8:00 am Welcome and the “Kick Off”
8:00-8:55 am “O-Lifts From Beginners To The Big Time”
Drew Wilson, Director of S&C at the University of Maryland
9:00-9:55 am “Strength Training: Practical and Purposeful Applications”
Matt Brzycki, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Fitness at Princeton University
10:00-10:55 am "Are Your Prepared For Combine Prep?"
Justin Kavanaugh, Head Coach at The Sport & Speed Institute
11:00-11:55 am “Strength Training: Did You Know?"
Mike Gittleson, Former Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Michigan
12:00 -1:00 pm Lunch Break – Subs Provided in Sponsor/Vendor Area
12:10-12:55 pm “Round Table” for Questions and Discussion – This section of the event will allow for questions, provide advice, suggestions, and guidance where applicable.
1:00-1:55 pm ”Movement Screen And More”
Dr. Justin Funk, Founder and President of Lax Factory
2:00-2:55 pm ”Developing Your Training Template”
Doug Scott, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for The Pingry School
3:00-3:55 pm “Acceleration. Not Speed Training Or Conditioning. We Are Talking Acceleration!”
Dave Brixius, owner of Explosive Sports Performance
4:00 pm Closing comments
A Little Physiology
A free nerve ending brings information from the body's periphery along the spinal column to the brain. Free nerve endings can detect temperature, mechanical stimuli such as touch, pressure, stretch and can also sense pain. A nociceptor is one such free nerve ending essentially used by our tissue to warn us of a potentially damaging stimulus that imposes the risk of injury. Nociceptors have a certain pain threshold; that is, a minimum level of stimuli is required before they trigger a signal.
In this May's Journal of Clinical Biomechanics, researchers found that increased range of motion when static stretching is not due to changes in muscle and tendon structures. After a six-week static stretching training program researchers examined the musle-tendon unit junction which allowed them to determine length changes in the muscle as well as the tendon. They calculated muscle stiffnes, tendon stiffness, looked at maximum voluntary contraction, pennation angle, fascicle length, muscle-tendon junction displacement, and passive resistive torque.
What they determined was that increased range of motion due to static stretching could not be explained by the structural changes in the muscle-tendon unit. This means that static stretching does little to the muscle or tendon. The researchers concluded that an increase in flexibility is largely due to increased stretch tolerance possibly due to adaptations of nociceptive nerve endings.
Training on the Pendulum 3 Way Row to Get Strong
Tyler Hobson,designer of Pendulum for Rogers Athletic, checks out the Pendulum Equipment at the Mississippi State University weight training facility.
The Pendulum Rack System with two clip on Pit sharks will Get you and keep you Strong.