Fitness and Performance
Sports performance, physiotherapy & the importance of tracking progress.
Every successful athlete arms their sports performance journey with a clear goal, concrete objectives and a commitment to tracking progress every step of the way. Whatever your chosen sport and whatever level you’re at, if you want to improve, getting to know your body and evaluating your sports performance objectively is one of the most important actions you can take. Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, Ashwini Jadhav explains why…
“Before you start your sports performance journey, you’ll need to map out your route to success. That starts by understanding how your body is performing now.” Says Ashwini.
At Bodyset, we undertake a head-to-toe BodyCheck to identify key individual strengths and weaknesses, catch underlying problems early, and create a personalised performance programme to keep your body performing at its very best.
How can a BodyCheck help my sports performance?
During a BodyCheck assessment we perform a series of objective tests to evaluate mobility, strength and endurance. These tests include the following:
1. Mobility of the spine including neck, thoracic and lumbar spine.
This part of the assessment covers your neck, upper back, mid back and lower back. A lack of mobility in the spine is often detrimental to a number of sports. While a lack of thoracic mobility can restrict overhead movements in sports such as weightlifting, swimming and climbing, prohibited movement in the lumbar spine can hinder cyclists and yogis alike.
During the BodyCheck assessment we’ll asses 18 planes of movement in order to highlight any restrictions or asymmetries in your mobility, and advise on what could help you improve your mobility and enhance your sports performance, bespoke to your chosen sport.
2. Flexibility of the posterior muscle chain (glutes, calves, hamstrings, and erector spinae).
While the posterior chain runs from your neck down to your ankles, we focus here on hamstrings and calf muscles. Testing calf and hamstring muscle flexibility is valuable for people performing running sports such as sprinting, long-distance running and team sports like football, netball, hockey, and rugby.
During the BodyCheck assessment we’ll perform a series of flexibility tests that will help us identify any imbalances along your posterior chain, record your results and advise on the best exercises to improve this, with your sports performance goals in mind.
3. Endurance torso stabiliser muscles (front, back and lateral muscle groups).
The muscles in the trunk provide both stability and mobility. The stronger your torso endurance the more powerful your movements can be. An example of this can be found in Olympic British ski racer, Charlie Raposo, who was hindered by a lack of endurance in his torso stabiliser muscles, eventually leading to pain and injury. Only after focusing on strength and conditioning exercises for enhanced torso endurance was he able to recover from injury and improve his overall skiing performance.
During the BodyCheck we perform a series of time-based tests involving static and isometric contraction of the trunk extensor muscles that stabilise the spine. This allows us to note down any imbalances and advise on what could help you improve endurance bespoke to your sports performance goals.
4. Gluteal and lower limb endurance (glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves).
Strength in this area helps reduce lower back pain, improves posture, and boosts athletic performance. Many sports lend itself to having a strong anterior chain (all the muscles on the front side of the body – your chest, core, quads, etc). But inequality between the anterior and posterior chain is what often leads to reduced performance. Strength in the leg muscles is essential for lower limb joint health. E.g. Avoiding Runner’s Knee. Weightlifters with a strong and balanced posterior chain are able to lift more powerfully, and runners are able to propel forward faster.
“If you’re a runner, you want to make sure your posterior chain is working as effectively as possible to keep your ankle, knee, and hip joints healthy and keep injury at bay,” says Ashwini. “In fact, many runners are completely unaware of gluteal or calf weaknesses. Small changes to your overall muscle balance can make such a powerful difference to your sports performance!”
During the BodyCheck assessment we’ll perform a series of tests to identify and strengths, weaknesses and imbalances, record your outcomes and advise on how to make performance-enhancing changes.
Why is it important to track sports performance?
Tracking your performance keeps you goal-focused, motivated and provides performance insights that can help you improve your sports performance even further. Plus, it gives you something to celebrate! Every body is different and understanding how your body functions can provide invaluable and performance-enhancing information. During a BodyCheck assessment, we’ll provide you with bespoke insights about your body, and use these results to help you set measurable goals, outline a performance plan, track progress, and achieve your 2022 performance goals.