Where’s the switch?

Where is the switch to turn on those magic muscles in Shaq’s butt? The drivel and misinformation that is passed around continues to amaze me. “He has weakness in his gluteus muscles” according to Phoenix suns trainer Aaron Nelson. Wait it gets better: “The medical issues that forced the 7’1” O’Neal to miss sixteen games this season were not, they say precipitated by structural abnormalities, widespread tendinitis or lingering ramifications from surgeries to his right big toe (a bone spur removed in 2002) and left knee (a scope in 2006). Rather, the tight and weak muscles have prevented have prevented him from moving freely. “We can get those areas firing,” says Nelson.” Sports Illustrated, February 18, 2008 page 35. This is just another example of the reductionist approach that does not work. The athlete becomes dependent on the therapist to “activate and get those muscles firing”, they do not get a feel for their body and the movements necessary to stay healthy and efficient. It is amazing to me that they dismiss the toe surgery and left knee scope as unimportant. If you have anything wrong with your big toe it sets off a chain reaction up the kinetic chain that will cause a myriad of problems. Sure he is tight in his calves and hips, he has to be to be to make up for what is happening down the chain with his toe and knee. Folks this is not rocket science, think big picture and remember it is ultimately about the athlete. He must be motivated and compliant and want to get better and stay healthy. Stop looking for the switch to turn on those magic muscles and focus on movements and coordination of the body parts working together.


At 2/26/08, 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree with your post today! Especially that it does in fact all start with

"He must be motivated and compliant and want to get better and stay healthy"

At 2/26/08, 2:09 PM, Blogger Joe P. said...

Seems like we are in the minority Vern. In Shirley Sahrmann's "Diagnosis & Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes", she recommends dealing with a dormant butt by voluntarily contracting it when the foot hits the ground. Her background is rooted in neurology; and from that stand point I guess it makes sense. I imagine the NASM performance team aspires to this logic. However, from a chain reaction biomechanics point of view, it doesn't really add up. Those of you fortunate enough to hear Dr. Cipriani speak at GAIN this spring will leave with a whole new perspective. I hope it's contagious.

At 2/26/08, 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vern - My question would be if this is the finding "weak gluts",which I do not believe, then what does his off/in-season training/conditioning consist of.
Sounds like notta. I haven't read the article, but I'm guessing they didn't go into details on his training program.Would love to reveiw what the trainer or S&C coach has him doing.

Ron B

At 2/27/08, 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be in the very rare minority on here but I still feel that movement patterns can be victimized (maybe not the best word but I will use it anyway)resulting in weakness by malfunctioning proprioceptors. Joint proprioceptors can malfunction secondary to joint subluxations/fixations. You can do all of the best balance/training work in the world but until that joint is fixed proprioception will not be maximized. Anyone considered what happens to the muscles around the pelvis when there is a posterior or anterior rotated ilium? Does it not create different muscle tensions? I feel very confident saying this. Can some overcome it and perform well? Sure but are they at their maximum performance level? Probably not. I also believe that for long term success other work must be done to get everything working and I do not mean just turning on switches. With all that said I feel some of these techniques folks use to turn on the switches is hocus pocus. Neurology is still more complicated than we sometimes like to think. Coaching does not need to be!

Mark Day


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