It is well understood that muscular strength and functional abilities can be enhanced significantly without the use of barbells or machines by utilizing manual or partner training techniques. The inclusion and coaching of Manual Resistance training should be an integral part of all athletic programs.
The benefits of Manual Training are far reaching:
Manual training teaches an athlete how to get the most out of each repetition and how to reach and what it feels like to accomplish momentary muscular failure.
Manual training affords for a hands on evaluation, by a coach, of an athletes effort in performing each movement.
Manual resistance does not require equipment allowing athletes to perform resistive exercises that a facility may have limited equipment or tools for.
Athletes are able to strength train under varied circumstances; i.e., when there is no weight room available or a the satellite facility has inadequate resources.
Large numbers of athletes can be trained at one time.
Important Manual Resistance Considerations:
- When training manually all athletes must understand the rules of performing each repetition properly.
- The athlete should not only be capable of performing an exercise but have the ability to teach, as well as administer the exercise to others.
- Once an athlete understands how to execute manual resistance it demands the same effort and motivation as if trying to improve on a bench, squat, clean or any other strength training exercise.
- When training manually to progressively overload it requires a strength measurement to track progress. Taking a circumference, body composition and other physiological variables allows the coach and athlete to monitor results.
- Remember when training the head and neck manually athletes should have clean hands especially during flu season.
- The rules of Manual Resistance must be reviewed regularly!
Manual Resistance Rules
1). Each athlete must know and understand the rules.
2). The Lifter begins each exercise with the goal of 6-8 reps. This requires pacing, in other words, the first repetition is not an all out effort. The effort must be increasing for every subsequent repetition.
2a). The Spotter should allow the lifter to perform each repetition at the same pace or speed of movement. This will require different amounts of pressure by the spotter during the rep (because of leverage). The lifter will feel as though the resistance is similar at all joint angles (the resistance will feel smooth).
3). The lowering phase of every repetition should be slower than the raising phase. A guide in learning manual resistance is raise the involved limbs up in 1-2 seconds or at a 1-2 count and lower them in 4-5 seconds or at a 4 or 5 count.
3a). The Spotter must make sure that they feel more force by the lifter during the lowering phase of each repetition.
4). The Lifter should continually contract their target musculature during the raising phase and the lowering phase of every repetition.
4a). The Spotter must give feedback to the lifter to ensure there is always a constant contraction on every repetition performed. The spotter should identify any relaxation or loss of force by the lifter during the movement.
5). The Lifter should pause with pressure against the spotter's resistance at the top of every movement. Pausing with pressure and no relaxation is extremely difficult.
5a). The Spotter should insure the lifter is applying force at the top of the movement. The spotter must feel if the lifter is relaxing. The spotter must ease slowly into the lowering phase of the exercise. Slowly easing into the lowering phase or decent is extremely important.
6). The exercise is completed when the athlete reaches momentary muscular failure.
Training the Neck Manually
The absolute best tools for strength training the muscular that lowers subconcussive forces are the Pendulum 4-Way and 5-Way Head and Neck Machines. Manual resistance can be used to augment these exercises or when an athlete is away from the facility. The 4 and 5-Way Head and Neck Machines should be priorities in all athletic strength training rooms.
After a concussion or a head and neck injury you need strength values for return-to-play. The athletic trainer and physician use strength levels of the shoulder and knees for return-to-play but without a neck machine and previously recorded results one can only guess about the levels needed to resume activity safely.
Training on the Pendulum Head and Neck Machine.