Building The Efficient Athlete

Interdisciplinary learning is a hot topic in the human performance industry right now. Many strength and conditioning coaches will argue that we don’t need to study physical therapy or athletic training. Others swear by it.

Frankly, I find it hard to imagine doing my job without knowing a bit about physical therapy and athletic training. I understand it’s not my job to diagnose injuries or do initial rehab. I also understand that athletes with persistent pain need to get it looked at by the appropriate professional.

With that said, I rarely see a completely pain-free athlete without injury complications. Take a look at one of the elite level hockey training groups we had last Summer at Endeavor:

  • Posterior shoulder dislocation
  • Chronic groin pain
  • Thumb surgery and knee “giving way” at angles >90°
  • Sports hernia
  • 2 players with shoulder labral repair

6 high level players; 5 significant problems. Unfortunately, groups like this are becoming the norm. With the increased emphasis on year-round hockey, it’s becoming almost inevitable for older players to have some sort of hip dysfunction. With the horrible rounded over posture that most hockey players carry themselves with, it’s becoming almost inevitable for older players to have some sort of shoulder dysfunction.

Not every strength coach or “trainer” needs to be a licensed PT or AT, but we should have, at a minimum, a profound understanding of functional anatomy. There are dozens of great resources out there, but many are pretty hard to digest.

The one resource that I couldn’t live without (and reference on a pretty regular basis) is Building the Efficient Athlete with Mike Robertson and Eric Cressey.

Building the Efficient Athlete

This DVD set is truely timeless. I liken it to taking a functional anatomy course in college, with one major exception. I paid over $3,000 out-of-pocket to take a 4-credit functional anatomy class as part of a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at a reputable university. I can honestly say I learned less implementable information from that course than I did from watching and re-watching Building the Efficient Athlete (and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper!).

Recognizing dysfunction and abnormal movement patterns can prevent injuries, but you can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Step 1: Watch Building the Efficient Athlete

Step 2: Repeat Step 1

Step 3: Recognize dysfunction in your athletes and help them prevent future injuries

-Kevin Neeld

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