One of the most important roles of a strength coach is keeping players healthy. Most people want to ask, “How much do you *insert lift here*” when people should really be asking 3 questions:
1. How do you physically prepare for a season?
2. How do you stay healthy throughout a season?
3. How do you get your body to perform at a high level even as you mature?
If an athlete has an 800 pound squat, but chronic back pain that limits their effectiveness on the field, keeps them out of practice, or worse yet, out of a game, then how useful is the 800 pound squat to the athlete? By no means should someone undervalue strength, but unless a competitive power lifter, there is more to strength training than the big three movements.
This is where a weak link program plays an important role. Programming with these weak links of the body in mind, basically the areas or muscle groups of the body that are most likely to get injured during practice or competition, can help the athletes stay healthy and be on the field, court, or in the pool. These would be areas like the rotator cuff, VMO, external rotators of the hip, ankle mobility, head neck and upper back, abdominals and low back, etc. Setting aside five to ten minutes each lift to address these ‘weak links’ of the body can go a long way throughout the course of a season.
One of the common injuries in our field is shin splints, particularly at the start of the season. Watch how Ted Rath of the Miami Dolphins trains the tibialis anterior on the video below.
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