Technique and The Stimulus

Technique is of obvious importance. There is no reason to dive into the big picture of why technique is important and how it can influence the safety of your athletes. However, some of the more minuet differences in technique can play a much larger role than what people may think. It is possible, that such subtle differences can actually hinder the desired stimulus of the exercise.

Stimulus

Before any exercise should be prescribed, it should be thoroughly understood why it is being perform. More times than not, an exercise is done to induce a specific training stimulus. However, in order to get the most out of an exercise, this specific training stimulus should be the guiding factor when looking for breakdowns in technique.

Example:

If a coach assigns a hip bridge isometric hold, then the desired stimulus of the movement might be working on glute contraction/activation in the extended position. Because this is the desired stimulus, all athletes should be coached to make sure that not only are they contracting their glutes, but they are doing so in hip extension and not lumbar extension. Despite the two movements looking very similar, one is achieving your desired training stimulus and the other is not

Complex (Clean)

This issues tends to get tougher as the movements become more and more complex. This is best illustrated by looking at the clean. Most coaches might say the desired stimulus from performing a clean is to develop power through triple extension. If this is the case, the biggest concern a coach should have is triple extension and the rest should fall secondary.

When I say secondary, I do not mean to be ignored. This is why coaches might let athletes use straps when cleaning (grip is secondary) and why some coaches don’t even have athletes catch the weight (catch is secondary). 

Example of two cleans below

 

As you can see from the picture above, the ankle, knee and hip never get fully extended. The breakdown in technique will not allow the stimulus to be met. The athlete will not reach triple extension and the exercise failed to achieve its desired goal.

Alternatives

I am not against olympic movements by any means. I am only pointing out that sometimes a simpler movement can get the job done. If you as a coach can make sure your desired stimuli are being met through your choices of exercises, then there is no need to change. However, sometimes a less complex movement can target your desired stimulus better.

Trap Bar Jump

If power through triple extension is your goal, then why not jump? Jumping is arguably one of the purest forms of triple extension.  It is an innate movement pattern that requires much less direction. We have all been performing jumps as kids, either on the playground or during athletics.

(Physics and Jumping) We have all used these Just Jump mats before, but knowing how these work make using them a little easier. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• There are two common ways of measuring vertical jump height outside of a Vertec. There is measuring vertical jump height using flight time (bottom right formula) and exit velocity (bottom left). When measuring flight time, the mat will measure the entire flight time and then divide it in half to find jump height, which means if athletes are not landing in a consistent manner jumps heights will be skewed (this method is reliable, but overestimates). The other measure is vertical velocity. When done correctly this is the most accurate and reliable way, but you need to determine % of vertical and horizontal velocities, which may take a more expensive machine. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Knowing these methods, as a coach you can more accurately evaluate your methods. More times as a coach reliable is just as good as valid. Most importantly you want to compare changes •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Also knowing that this is just a simple formula, you can create your own devices. You could simply make an app that utilizes the camera light and times flight time based on disturbance of the light (that's a cheap plug for any coders out there. If interested message me for the details!) #weightlifting #powerlifting #conjugate #strengthtraining #strengthandconditioning #strength #strengthcoach #lift #weights #squat #science #learn #humanperformance #train #training #weightlifting #powerlifting #deadlift #deadlifts #strongman #squat #squats #jump #dunk #jumphigher #dunks #westside #dynamiceffort #maxeffort #fit #crossfit

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Jump Shrug

The jump shrug is an olympic variant that targets triple extension in a much less complex way. If triple extension is your goal, a jump shrug is literally that and nothing else. It is essentially a representation of your desired stimulus (triple extension) with all of the other movements stripped away.

#Repost @drtsuchomel #weightlifting pulling derivatives aren't easier to learn compared to a catching derivative! The intent to jump as high as possible makes the #jumpshrug one of the most ballistic weightlifting movements. Our research has shown that this derivative produces the highest velocities compared to other #olympiclifting variations and produces greater force, rate of force development, impulse, and power compared to the hang #powerclean performed at the same loads. This exercise also allows athletes to train load absorption characteristics because they have to land with a load. In fact, our research has shown that more #work is performed upon landing compared to the hang power clean. Summary: easier to learn, more #powerful movement, and trains landing effectively. Another exercise to add to the tool box for #strengthandconditioning practitioners! #oly #olympicweightlifting #athlete #training #volleyball #jumping #verticaljump

A post shared by Max Schmarzo (ATC/CSCS/MS) (@strong_by_science) on

 

Conclusion

Let your training stimulus guide you. Depending on the purpose of the exercise, as a coach you may want to make sure specific movements within the exercise are being accomplished. This does not mean ignore everything else involved in the movement. It simply means know your stimulus, make sure its being accomplished and make sure the way it is being accomplished doesn’t put your athletes in harms way.

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