Written on August 10, 2010 at 12:01 am, by Eric Cressey
A while back, several industry notables launched a webinar series called Muscle Imbalances Revealed. To be honest, I had been approached about contributing on the project, but just didn’t have the time to give the project the attention it deserved. Luckily for all of us, though, Rick Kaselj went through with pulling this together, and an excellent resource was born.
The product consists of seven webinars all aimed at identifying and correcting muscular imbalances in the lower body. Contributing to the project were Kaselj, Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman, Dean Somerset, Kevin Yates, and Eric Beard. Rather than go into a ton of detail on each presentation (and I did take quite a few notes on each), I’ll highlight the components from the set as a whole that stood out for me.
1. Rick Kaselj had some excellent information on the incidence of knee injuries and surgeries across various populations; they are definitely statistics to which I’ll be referring for future blogs and presentations. His presentation on ACL return-to-function would be a tremendously valuable resource to any trainer or strength and conditioning coach who has never gotten a post-ACL athlete right after discharge from therapy. I remember when I saw my first post-ACL case; I literally went home and did 4-5 hours of research that night just to make sure that I was up to speed on where that female athlete should be, and what her restrictions were. Scarily, we knew a lot less back then than we do now – and that’s what makes Rick’s presentation so valuable: it’s all the latest info all in one place. My only small criticism is that it could have used some more videos within the presentation, but that’s nothing to write home about in light of the content he provides.
2. Bill Hartman dropped some serious knowledge bombs, as only Bill can. I found that I took the most notes during Bill’s presentation. A few things that stood out:
a. Don’t just think of it as thoracic mobility; think of it as rib mobility, too.
b. A lot of people overlook how much exhaling during a thoracic extension drill can improve the efficacy of the exercise. Try it!
c. Bill went to great lengths to discuss the differences between mobility (“the ability to achieve the desired posture or movement”) and regular ol’ flexibility.
d. He worked in a bit of Postural Restoration Institute flavor, and it was nice to see which specific exercises he was using the most in a group training setting, as we do quite a bit of it ourselves.
e. Bill demonstrated the quadruped extension-rotation with the arm maximally internally rotated behind the back; it’s one I really like, and we’ll be using it selectively with a few of our clients. T-spine mobility is so essential to glenohumeral internal rotation range-of-motion, and it seems like internal rotation is more quickly impacted than external rotation – so it makes sense to mobilize in this position.
f. While emphasizing ankle mobility, we can’t overlook the importance of strengthening the anterior compartment of the lower leg.
3. Mike Robertson was excellent as well, although I didn’t take quite as many notes as I did with Bill simply because I see and speak with Mike more often. I’ve written quite a bit about how the subtalar joint is a “torque converter” where pronation drives tibial/femoral internal rotation and adduction, plus anterior pelvic tilt.
In this presentation, Mike does a great job of taking it a step further and talking about how dysfunction at the pelvis can drive pronation from the top down; poor hip strength and mobility can definitely wreak havoc on the lower extremity. He also presents a great anteversion example, in case you haven’t seen one.
4. Kevin Yates spoke to things in a much more general sense, and while I honestly didn’t take a lot from his presentations myself, some of the up-and-comers in the industry certainly would. A few points he made that I did really like were:
a. As much has technology has improved our world, it’s really screwed our bodies!
b. Injuries almost always occur while we are moving, not while we’re stationary – so make sure that the bulk of your mobility work comes in a standing, dynamic context, not just from static stretching.
5. Eric Beard did a great overview of the shoulder girdle and the issues we face in this complex region. From reading this blog, you realize that I could talk about all shoulders, all the time – so it was impressive that Eric crammed as much quality content into an hour as he possibly could. I really liked his scapulohumeral rhythm images as well as his continued emphasis that shoulder injuries often take years to come to fruition; there are often just “incidents” that become the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
6. Dean Somerset was last, but certainly not least. Dean spoke at length about the role of fascia in governing movement. In the past, I’ve written at length about how we may have terrible x-rays, MRIs, or other diagnostic imaging – and be completely pain-free. Well, as Dean discusses, we can have a boatload of pain, but absolutely nothing abnormal on these images. In fact, 85% of lower back pain has no definitive diagnosis – so what gives? Well, this is where fascia comes in. We’re talking about the entire extracellular matrix of the body. It’s proprioceptively-rich and incredibly strong – yet it doesn’t really get any of the attention it deserves. Ever had annoying pain that went away with soft tissue work? Here’s a rationale for “why” it went away. For related reading, check out my recent blog post, The Fascial Knock on Distance Running for Pitchers.
All in all, Muscle Imbalances Revealed was an excellent resource that I’d highly recommend you view. And, I think it’s particularly valuable because you can conveniently watch it from the comfort of your own home or office without having to spend hundreds of dollars on travel and accommodations while taking time off from work. On an even cooler note, when I reached out to Rick and mentioned that I was writing this review, he went out of his way and provided a special discount offer for my readers. You can check it out at THIS PAGE.
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