Due to the on-going debilitating injury concerns present in high intensity competitive sports, it is the purpose of this commentary to postulate as to one of the possible causes, especially as it relates to the continuing instances of the so-called "innocuous" ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) rupture in the human knee.
As we all know, the human body exists in a three dimensional world. Consequently, for it to perform at peak efficiency, it, and indeed the key joint structures in the body responsible for getting from point A to point B must be appropriately adapted to move within this environment using three functional planes of motion.
a) The Sagittal plane, where the body/joint structures move forward or back. As seen in stepping forward and backward, and through flexion and extension.
b) The Frontal plane, where the body/joint structures move from side to side. As in stepping to the left and right, and through abduction and adduction.
c) The Transverse plane, where the body/joint structures move through rotation. Seen when the trunk twists left or right, and through internal or external rotation/pronation or supination of the legs/feet.
In principle, the ability of the body to move through tri-planar directions is reflected in the individual joint structures, where this same inherent freedom exists. However, as these multi-directional joint movements are not all prone to full ranges of motion, this natural mobility can be viewed as a means for the body to absorb incidentally occurring functional impacts/forces to better protect the individual joints against structural damage. An example of this principle is seen in the knee, a structure which is best equipped to full ranges of motion only in the sagittal plane, up to, but NOT including hyperextension. While within exacting restrictions it is able to move laterally and medially in the frontal plane, it is able to function this way so it may better absorb impacts/forces produced through walking or running, when there is need to pivot, and/or when expected/spontaneous changes in direction need to be accommodated. True frontal plane adduction and abduction in the legs originates only at the hips, while the knee is not functionally structured to allow loaded movement in the transverse plane.
The aptitude the joint structures of the body have to accept impacts/forces using a tri-planar "damping" system can be likened to the rationale behind the crumple zone built into modern vehicles. They are similarly designed to mitigate impacts, initially as a preventative mechanism, but failing this, to at least minimise damage to key components. Subsequently an approach lending itself perfectly to the goals of Bodii training, which set out to strengthen the engagement and activation principles of the vital inclusions, and to specifically enhance the integrity of the joint structures in biomechanical, physiological and proprioceptive senses.
Within the physiology of movement, the human body has an innate awareness of its muscles and tendons, their positions, and the space into which it is about to move and occupy. A feature to human movement that is relative to many considerations, but is principally the reason why we are able to move about without having to constantly look at our arms or legs to make sure they are doing what we want them to be doing. An instinct/sense known as proprioception, and for these express objectives, Bodii training has the capacity to introduce forces to enhance lateral and medial proprioceptive responses. Responses not available in the one-dimensional straight ahead, straight back and supported traditional methods.
It is possible, with application of specific Bodii concepts and techniques, to impose lateral and medial frontal plane forces upon individual structures while they are engaged in sagittal/transverse plane movements, and conversely, during frontal/transverse plane movements, to produce anterior and posterior sagittal plane forces. A training formula allowing participants to expand proprioceptive diversity, not only enhancing the body's adaptation to daily functional activities, but in particular context to this program, to better direct these proprioceptive enhancements towards the greatly more intense and unpredictable nature of competitive sports.
In light of the above background argument, it remains unclear to this commentator why sports scientists, sports physiotherapists and sports trainers continue to apply methods designed to prevent/limit injuries to crucial structures, when this process interrupts the inherent shock/impact absorption system in the "mitigation sequence" of these structures. While, for example, strapped ankles may protect this susceptible region, the laws of energy predict that the force/impact must proceed and be dealt with at the next available and unprotected structure in this volatile progression, namely the knees. Structures where even an innocuous force originating from a remote structural location may have drastic long-term injury consequences. Unfortunately, the practice of strapping key structures may in principle have it’s benefits, the real question is at what possible cost? Is it preferable to risk impacting the tendons/ligaments of the ankles, an estimated six to eight week convalescence, or blow the ACL, an extensive and frustrating rehab of twelve months? Frustrating, in that the apparent innocuousness, is rarely, if ever, explained.
Many of the topics covered on this site are often directly or indirectly targeted at the greatly underrated issue of hip & pelvis stability, and the numerous negative consequences any instability in this pivotal area can produce. Specifically, this is explained as adaptations that develop and maintain the balance in the muscles that enable the various movements through the legs. An ingredient key to Bodii principles that both ensures athletes are better equipped to tackle chosen sports, and also a factor in helping to limit the incidence and severity of soft tissue injuries, and is therefore a very important, although largely ignored and misunderstood area in traditional strength and fitness training regimens. A carefully constructed view by this analyst and CEC Program presenter that has resulted from a recent unhealthy trend in strength training circles to place undue emphasis on the traditionally accepted powerlifting exercises of bench press, the squat and deadlifts, with the misconstrued purpose being to create more "power-centric" athletes. It is everywhere, … and presently doing the rounds as the "new" training Holy Grail! All modern gyms have an area devoted to these three lifts, as the focus to attaining maximum gains in strength and power. However,there are serious unexplored repercussions, with the main problems inherent to this trend being:
1. Advancement is based solely on applied resistances.
2. Attention to posture and core inclusions are cursory.
3. Functional/stabilising abductor/adductor alignment principles in the thighs are not recognised.
4. Has little regard for all factors that determine true muscular power,
ie. power= (force x distance)/time.
The specific concepts and techniques to be outlined relate entirely to the balance between the four major and two lesser movement ranges of the thigh, and examines those which contribute to hip & pelvis stability, and those which hinder/detract. There is a distinct need for strength and fitness training to be built on sound functional reasoning, and for it to not compromise equality in contractile strength, range and endurance in flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation and external rotation characteristics. It should not simply follow the herd. Because individuals predominantly move forward, and perform tasks through anterior/sagittal aspects, everyday movement, and most current strength and fitness enhancing scenarios make it impossible for this to occur naturally. Due to the predictable limitations brought about by the one-dimensional movement patterns of Joe Citizen, and even a great many athletes, a careful forensic assessment reveals that greatest emphasis and frequency as it relates to movement of the thighs is in flexion, with literally no deliberate time/training allotted to the capacity for thighs to also extend, abduct and adduct. Furthermore, this overstimulation of thighs in flexion, is being exacerbated by the dominance of a loaded Gluteus maximus when engaged in its rotational role. Therefore, and because of the relative mass of Gluteus maximus to the smaller muscles of abduction and adduction, the legs are forced to incidentally rotate externally to varying degrees along their entire length (Made even worse when loads are applied to deliberately externally rotated thighs). As a consequence, creating awkward, unstable, non-functional angles through the principal structures of ankles, knees and the hips/pelvis complex.
In Australian rules football, physical strength and endurance has become an ever increasing essential if the footballer-athlete wants to achieve any level of success. This is largely sought/achieved through training and practice of gross movement, often at the expense and neglect of those muscles that promote delivery of greater control and finesse, and is especially evident in the movement ranges of the thighs. Hence, if kicking for goal is to improve, a more thorough approach must be applied to create adaptations to provide greater stability and functional alignment in the structures that ultimately determine the line and trajectory of the ball. Once this has been accomplished, coaches and players can focus on ball drop and routine issues.