Get Faster, Stronger and Jump Higher

How you move is going to dictate how your perform.  If you move like crap, you’ll perform like crap.  For this reason, whenever an athlete comes to me for training, every program starts with a movement screen.  I always tell my clients that their health is like a house.  It doesn’t matter how nice the house is, if the foundation sucks, the house will fall apart.  Same goes with your body.  If the foundation of your movement sucks, your body will fall apart, especially during sport.

Alignment through the ankles to the hips is crucial for power development and injury prevention.  One of the most dangerous and power draining issues I see is a Valgus knee.  This is when the knees cave in towards each other under load.

Now upon landing and jumping back up, the knees should be tracking over the toes.

 

     See the difference?  If this is your pattern you’ve most likely been doing it for the majority of your life and don’t even know it.  It’s like turning on the light switch in your bedroom.  You’ve done it so many times that you don’t actually have to consciously think about it for it to happen.  This also doesn’t just affect jumping.  it will effect any movement that requires developing any power with your legs.  Walking, sprinting, lunging, side shuffling, going up stairs, skating etc.

Now if this happens in a controlled scenario like the jump test above, what do you think happens in a game or practice where things are high speed and you’re not focusing on your legs but on the game instead.  Your poor built in patterns take over and the risk for injury goes through the roof and your power development drops through the floor.

So how do we fix this issue?

First things first.  If you haven’t been assessed properly or your team doesn’t have a strength and conditioning coach or someone else qualified to do this.  Find someone, or get your coach to find someone who is qualified and has a good reputation.  This is your best option. If this option isn’t available to you then here are some tips to help correct Valgus knee.

  1. Correct any mobility issues.  Often tightness in the hips quads, hamstrings and calves will force the body to move incorrectly do to limited range of motion.  Without proper range of motion, you will very limited in power production, so address this first.  

  2. Once you’ve addressed tightness in the joints and muscles performing corrctive exercises in a controlled deliberate manner will help start to develop new brain patterns to override the old ones.  Again if you have no idea what to do here, find a qualified trainer and do it right. It makes no sense to continue damaging your body and performing poorly because of a few bucks.  How much did your shoes cost?

  3. Once patterns are corrected start adding speed and/or weight to your exercises to further test the patterns.  Issues you may not have seen before always show up when the exercises become more difficult.

Rob Nayyar