This is the first installment in this series about how to make your knees “bulletproof” for sports.
Bulletproof in this arena means really, really injury resistant.
Here, Cam Dineen (Arizona Coyotes 2017 3rd Round pick) is doing an exercise that gets performed really poorly all too often.
Band-resisted Shuffles are a great way to activate the Glute Medius, Glute Minimus and other external hip rotators and key knee stabilizers.
At the same time, they help to create core stability, recruitment and power as well as improve frontal plane agility and change of direction strength and capability.
The problem is, most athletes perform them so poorly they have little or no real impact on any transferrable athletic skill.
Watch Cam perform them here.
Here are 5 things to look for that tell you this exercise is being performed correctly and well.
1. Level shoulders and hips. This means that lower body power is driving this movement, not a swinging, momentum-driven combo of hip to shoulder leverage.
2. Relatively straight lead foot. Cam’s doing a great job of not “pulling” with the lead foot. Very often, we see athletes reach with an externally rotated lead foot to try and gain a positional advantage. While an externally rotated lead foot allows them to cover more ground, it also almost guarantees high levels of hip flexor and adductor activity. Neither of these muscle groups is in a position to generate sufficient force to drive this movement. We want the big movers – Glutes, Quads and, to a lesser degree, Hamstrings should be driving this movement.
3. A “Pillar Step” return step. The lead leg in the return phase is moving through a range of motion (ROM) that is moderated in range. That is, Cam is not overextending the more weight-bearing leg to gain a mechanical advantage and let his big movers off the hook. This is exactly what I want from him in this movement. Let the inside, or return lead leg, bear the load of decelerating his return steps.
4. Solid frontal plane hip mobility. Cam’s hip mobility is more than adequate for this activity. If it weren’t, we would see more hip flexion in the athletic stance, as well as more knee flexion/extension driven movement as a result of increased need for mobility lower in the kinetic chain.
5. Control. Cam is able to control the speed of the movement, even nearing the end point of the bands resistance. He’s able to maintain force production at adequate levels all the way through the movement range. He’s equally able to control the reduction of force during the return, or deceleration, phase.
These are a great activity for improving frontal plane force reduction and production, increasing speed and agility, improving core strength and “leveling up” knee stabilization strength for athletes.
If they’re done correctly and well.
Done poorly, all your athletes are doing is reinforcing poor movement patterns and creating more injury potential patterns.
Do this one right. Get your athletes “bulletproof.”
Need bands? Get them right here, from my friend, Dave “the Band Man” Schmitz:
Bands are a great tool for so many strength, fitness and performance activities. I use them for a number of exercises and activities to bulletproof the knees.
More to come in this series soon!