The Knee Joint – Injury Prevention

The Knee Joint – Injury Prevention

By: Todd Riedel

Speaking as a forever-active individual and 17-year football veteran, I can tell you you’re as old as your knees. For me, it wasn’t the usual suspects of running, football, basketball or weightlifting that added unwanted years to my knees. Aches, pains, and four knee surgeries later, I finally learned these injuries were a result of improper coaching as a youngster.

TRKneesAs an athlete you need to be careful not to overuse or abuse your knees by putting unneeded torque and stress on the joint. Poor squatting form, increased shin angles and lifting too much weight too fast can be stressful on the tissue within or around the hinged joint.

Any exercise with rigorous knee bending, cutting, or change in direction can quickly lead to problems. Your body also needs time to recover, so if you or your knees feel overworked then they probably are. If that is the case then simply back off.  I’m not saying you need to be “SOFT” or weak minded, and I’m not saying you need to reduce effort in your training.  I am saying listen to your body and if you are experiencing swelling in that joint then reduce the training volume a bit.

In my opinion weight training is great, but only if it is prescribed by a true professional.  One thing most people fail to understand is that the body must be trained with balance. Imbalances can stress the body in many different ways; for example, too many chest presses could lead to bad posture, too many squats can lead to knee problems, and too many serves on the tennis court can cause elbow problems. Training without balance could be detrimental to your health and may possibly lead to having surgery.

As a 34-year-old with four knee surgeries on my right knee, I feel that my injuries are directly connected to bad coaching.  I am not saying my coaches were completely bad because they were great on the field, but those coaches were not educated in strength training and were obviously not certified strength and conditioning coaches.  They were all in a low budget situations and forced to play the role of strength coaches.

However, don’t get the idea that knee problems are inevitable. Cross-training, stretching, strengthening, exercising, and recovery can all help your knees stay healthy and pain free. While knee pain should always be checked with an athletic trainer or doctor, early arthritis or minor injuries or other serious conditions can usually be fixed with ice, rest, and controlled exercises that promote healing.

When it comes to untrained athletes or most female athletes with pre-exposed hip angles, valgus knee could be a problem that can lead to injuries.  Valgus knee may be genetic, but it is often caused when athletes have weak glutes, hip abductors, hip adductors, and general neuromuscular control issues in that region, which causes your knees to collapse inward during squats, deceleration, landing, jumping, or cutting.

Although I don’t have all the answers when it comes to knee injury prevention, I feel, due to all my surgeries and post operational rehab, I understand that joint a little better than most.  I understand that most major knee injuries accrue with torque during flexion and extension due to weak muscles or an imbalance that has been accumulated over time.

Listed below are a few movements we use to prevent or eliminate knee injuries:

Over Head Bulgarian Split SquatsTR.comBulgarianSpSQ

Grasp barbell promoted grip using an overhand open grip, slightly wider than shoulder width. Position barbell chest high with back arched. Place bar in front of shoulders with elbows placed forward and as high as possible. Fingers should be under bar to each side with heels hip width apart or slightly wider.  The position of the feet should be at a 45° angle with toes slightly pointed outward.

Descend until knees and hips are fully bent or until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Knees travel outward in direction of toes. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.

NOTE: Remember to have good chest back posture. Sit back on your heels and never have your knees over your toes.

Front SquatsTR.comFrontSquat

Grasp barbell promoted grip using an overhand open grip, slightly wider than shoulder width. Position barbell chest high with back arched. Place bar in front of shoulders with elbows placed forward and as high as possible. Fingers should be under bar to each side with heels hip width apart or slightly wider.  The position of the feet should be at a 45° angle with toes slightly pointed outward.

Descend until knees and hips are fully bent or until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Knees travel outward in direction of toes. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.

NOTE: Remember to have good chest back posture. Sit back on your heels and never have your knees over your toes.

Walking LungesTR.comWalkingLunge

Walking lunges are just like normal lunges, except you move forward rather than perform the exercise stationary position. You move forward as if you were walking, but maintain correct technique during the entire movement.

Note: Use good upright chest and back posture keeping the weight on your heels, never allowing your knees over your toes.

Single Leg RDLTR.com1LegRDL

Balance on one leg and hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand at hip or out to the side for balance. With the balancing leg slightly bent and back flat, bend forward at waist until dumbbell is just above floor.  Flex glute to extend hip and return to starting position; repeat for specified reps training both legs.

NOTE: Keep your back flat and neck in a natural position while maintaining a good posture in your torso.

Lateral Band WalksTR.comLatBandWalk

This exercise requires a mini band or lateral resistance band.  The mini band is wrapped around the ankles and you are in an athletic position (knees slightly bent, straight back, core activated) throughout the exercise.  Take ten lateral steps to the left and then to the right.  Your upper body should be in control the entire time. The band should not be springing back to the point of no tension

NOTE: There should always be slight tension on the band and each step should be controlled and deliberate to get the most out of the exercise. Do not allow you heels to click or ever touch! Keep your feet wide.

 Med Ball BucksTR.comMedBallBuck

Lie down flat on your back and place the ball under your heels with your knees bend. Begin by extending the hips using your glutes and hamstrings, raising your hips upward as you bridge.Pause at the top of the motion squeezing your glutes and return to the starting position.

NOTE: Keep the med ball close to your rear-end and be under control at all times because this is not a fast moving exercise.

T.K.E – Standing Terminal Knee ExtensionTR.comTKE

You will need a light or average Jump Stretch Band. Other bands may work just as well. Choke it around a power rack post or any other stable object at knee height. Wrap the other end of the band around your knee. Walk backward so the band is pulling at the back of your knee. With your heel on the floor, bend and flex your knee.

When you flex, make sure to contract your quad as tight as you can for a second or two. You’ll want to do 15-20 reps for a couple sets on each leg. This is also a great warm-up if your knees tend to bother you.

NOTE: There should always be slight tension on the band and take your time with this movement.

 

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Winthrop – Todd Riedel

ROCK HILL, SC–Todd Riedel has been hired to the fill the vacant position of assistant  director of strength and conditioning in Winthrop Athletics.

Riedel comes to Winthrop following 3 years as Wofford’s director of strength and conditioning where he primarily worked with the football, men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball teams. Prior to takeing the Wofford position [More]

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Wofford’s nationally-ranked football team powered by Ayers and Riedel

By Chris Chaney Sun staff Spartanburg, South Carolina, home of Wofford College, is nearly 450 miles away from Clermont County, but two of the county’s own are the reason the Terriers’ football program is among the best in the nation [ Read More ]

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Running a Successful Low Budget Strength & Conditioning Program

Running a Successful Low Budget Strength & Conditioning Program

By: Todd Riedel

Congratulations you have dominated the interview process and received the position you’ve always wanted. It’s a position with the title of director of strength and conditioning at a respectable institution.  Your responsibilities are to train 18 teams 367 athletes and you have a total department operating budget of 40k a year including you and your assistant’s salary. So basically you have no budget.

If you are anything like me, you are going to do the best you can with this opportunity.  The first thing you do is commit your life to this position and put everything else second sacrificing your next few years to further your carrier. You most likely just received your masters, got your USAW & CSCS, completed your second internship, your second paid internship, your first full-time paid position moving your family all over America by the way and recently took this low budget director position. So you are in way too deep to back out now.

It’s your first day on the job and you walk into this amazing facility that you will call home for the next few years.  The first thing you notice is you have platforms, weights, and open space.  Now what are you going to do next?

From personal experience, in no particular order, here are a few tips to making your low budget situation work!

  1. Meetings – Make sure you have meetings with your supervisor and sport coaches as soon as you get in place.  These meeting should outline everything that is expected of you.  If your job is to train every team on campus, do it, if your job is to be a bus driver and drive the trainers to the football game, drive the bus, if you have to set up the sidelines and load and unload the equipment truck, do that as well. At times you may feel a little taken advantage of but it is what it is. It’s a low budget program.  Most importantly try to make a connection with all the staff members at your school.  Most likely it is a stepping stone position for them as well and maybe one day you can help them or they can help you get that dream job.
  2. Network and ask questions – You probably are not the only one in America who has been in a situation like this so network and ask questions. You will not learn unless you ask questions.  I have never found a bad networking experience and now that you hold the title of Director you will actually have people call you back and respond to your calls.  Maybe it’s because you’re not looking for a job and you can hold a meaningful conversation.
  3. Be Pro-active – You are certainly not the only under budgeted program in America and you are competing against schools with way more resources.  Don’t sit back and feel sorry for yourself.  Take charge of your situation and hit the floor running.  The first decision you must make is can you handle the work load or will you need help?  I have met coaches who want to be a one man show and others like myself who would rather take the team approach and get some help.  I feel having a staff is much more efficient.  Having a staff is great but you can come across some bad apples that can cause you some unwanted negative attention.  So, please be very careful when making intern hires and make sure they understand what is expected.
  4. Continue your own education – During this time you will be really over loaded with teams, responsibilities and projects. However, you can’t forget about your own personal growth and education.  Try to read everything you can get your hands on including articles about training, programming, nutrition, mobility, injury prevention, rehab and motivation.  If you are not in meetings, coaching or cleaning you should be working on your own personal development.
  5. This will be a sacrifice – Running a successful low budget program will take tons of time and you better be prepared for it.   This is a position that will be at times very over whelming.  With a position like this you must check your ego at the door because you will be the guy who is cleaning the glass, wiping down the benches, sweeping the floors, and even cleaning up the vomit in the bathrooms. So be ready and willing to do anything.
  6. Try to take it to the next level – In this type of position you can be just another strength coach or you can be a difference maker.  Choose to be the difference maker.  Treat this program like it is a large school and go out and recruit a staff of interns and build a staff around you. When establishing a staff, understand there are great coaches out there who aren’t yet established and need a school like yours to build up their resume.  This can be a win-win for both parties.  You need them and they need you.
  7. Present yourself as a professional – Be professional and act as if you are running the huge athletic program and treat every situation as if it is going to affect 400 people because it does. This position is a big deal and you can brand yourself for life.  You can be known as the guy who won numerous championships with a low budget program or the guy who burnt bridges and got everyone hurt in the process. Remember you are one of many coaches who have gone through that program and try to be the coach who made the biggest impact and earn the respect of the coaches you work for.
  8. Be a work horse – This statement is pretty much self-explanatory and it applies to the little things that we have to do as coaches. Don’t just sit around and wait for the next team to break the plane of the door.  Get up and do something productive.  You can always rest when you sleep.  Use your open times to be prepared for anything when that next team comes in for their session.  You never know when that coach may throw a wrench into things or an unexpected circumstance may arise. Remember, the biggest thing you are trying to teach your athletes is you must outwork people in life to be successful. Therefore, you must be a role model of that behavior.
  9. Don’t be annoying in the eyes of administration – Most likely administration knows you are a one legged man in an ass kicking contest and your chances of success is not great, but little do they know you are a fighter and you will take this opportunity and run with it.  I suggest to be constantly thinking of innovative ideas and present them to administration with the understanding you are going to be doing all the leg work.
  10. The grind – This is going to be a very difficult situation and the odds are not on your side.  You’re going to be waking up at 4am a few days a week and wondering why you took on this project.  Your often going to ask yourself is it normal to work 70+ hours a week and still be strapped for cash.  Other times you will experience a splitting headache, sore knees, sore feet, sore back, and you taste blood in the back of your throat from yelling.  This could be one of two things.  It could be a wakeup call saying you are not fit for the profession or it will be a reminder of what every great coach has gone through to get to where they are.  I always think of guys such as Craig Fitzgerald, Duane Hall, Jeff Dillman and Ron McKeefery who have gone through the struggles of the profession and who are now on top.
  11. Take advantage of your resources – If you’re working in one of the nicest facilities in America or one of the worst at least you are working.  Take advantage of your work place and work out from time to time and stay in shape.  Athletes will always listen to a guy who walks the walk and lives the life of a champion.  I always like to be able to say to the athletes, “Yeah I know the workout is brutal because I just did it. Now it’s your turn.”  Also, make sure your staff is able to perform every movement you are asking your athletes to perform.  It always impresses them to see a coach dominate the movements better than they can.
  12. Be friendly with the staff – Attempt to befriend everyone in your athletic department.  Unfortunately, you can’t get along with everyone on earth but you can at least try. Having a good rapport with coaches can help you tremendously.  When you enter your coaches circle of trust they are less likely to give you a hard time.  They may crack on you a bit but that’s usually a good thing.  That friendship could also pay off when it comes to needing help with a project or needing a reference.
  13.  Remain humble – Understand if you grind and give everything you have to this program you will make a positive impact on the entire department.  This noticeable impact will become blaring obvious when athletes are healthy, strong, confident, and wins are coming out of the woodwork.  During this time please remain humble to not offend those sport coaches around you.  Everyone on earth may see the positive changes made in the department but always give the kids and the sport coaches all the credit.
  14. Focus on becoming a better coach – Coaching isn’t only about what happens on the floor.  It isn’t only yelling motivational phrases and blowing a whistle.  It’s all of those things and more.  It’s about living the life of a champion, having withitness, being educated, prepared for anything, being organized, relating to people, willing to change for the better and being a great motivator.  So, don’t be afraid to give yourself a little attention to make this all possible.  If you aren’t able to help yourself, then you will never be able to help someone else.
  15. Be a fund raiser – If your situation is anything like ours here you do not have a budget for ball, bands, or anything you may need to run a strength program.  We also do not have a budget for supplements or anything related to nutrition.  Therefore, you must be a fund raiser to compete at this level.  You must look at your unique situation and see what you can do to raise money.  Things you can do are hold camps, clinics or approach companies to see if you can receive funding or sponsorships.  Either way you have to be creative to get the little things it takes to run a successful program.  Most schools attempt to have the sport coaches buy a few things.  The most important thing to remember when stepping into a new position is to make shuttle changes.  If you hold camps or clinics make sure you are not embarking on other well established camps to avoid stealing other coach’s thunder.  You must innovative and find your own unique twist and roll with it.
  16. Enjoy the process – Building a program is truly a process.  You are given something minimal and you are expected to do great things with it.  Therefore, take ownership in the program and process and it will be quite rewarding. Get after it!

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Shoulder Joint – Mobility & Stability

The Shoulder Joint – Mobility & Stability

In my opinion the shoulder joint requires more attention than any other joint in the human body.  The shoulder joint is an important joint due to the fact we use it so often.  Any time we reach for something or pull something toward us we are using our shoulders. It is simply a very valuable joint that moves in so many different directions.  I would say it is in our best interest to keep them healthy.

A good number of people feel if you have strong traps and deltoids they have strong shoulders.  It is important to have strong deltoids and traps but there is so much more to it than that. Strong functional pain free shoulders depend on certain supporting muscles and joints that most people aren’t even aware of.  Let’s take a moment to brain storm, what actually holds the Humerus to the Scapula and what holds the Scapula to the Clavicle.  More importantly what holds it all together?  There are more than just a few things going on in that very complex joint to say the least.

Let’s start looking into the bones, muscles and surrounding muscles of the shoulder and shoulder girdle. Most of the bones involved are the Humerus, Scapula and Clavicle and there is a longer list of muscles attached such as the Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, Subscapularis, and Teres Major and Minor.  Other lager muscles involved are the Rhomboids, Deltoids, Coracobrachialis, Latissimus Dorsi and Pectoralis muscles.  There are a few other muscles that are involved like the Biceps, Triceps and Trapezius.  Ok, I just realized I am starting to sound like my kinesiology professor. Therefore, I will back off the science and attach a few videos and picture, so you can understand what I am talking about with all these bones and muscles.  My point is there is so much going on in that particular joint that you can’t just train the major movers such as the traps and deltoids.

With my experience of training athletes at Harvard, West Virginia, Colgate, Western Kentucky, Missouri State, Wofford College and Winthrop University I have seen well over a 2 thousand different student athletes.  When looking back at these athletes I have noticed a lot of them come to us very unbalanced.  The thing I see the most with football players, pitchers, and swimmers is they have extremely strong chest muscles and very little strength in their backs which leads to an imbalance.  I rarely find athletes who have been trained with total balance.  I have a theory of training more pulls than pushes.  The reason I feel you should pull more than push is because most things done in life are done in the front of your body and naturally this will balance you out.  I feel you should put a great deal of emphasis on the scapula and external shoulder rotation when training your athletes.  The reason the scapulas are important is because a third of all shoulder movement comes from the scapula, therefore give that area a little of your time.  I can go on forever about what’s going on in that joint but I have decided to show you some things I
do to keep the shoulder injuries to a minimum. I have also included a few shoulder mobility moments as well.  In simplest terms train in balance and make sure you train the shoulder joint in all different motions such as flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, internal & external rotation, horizontal adduction and horizontal abduction.

Let’s think about shoulder mobility a little and now think about the biggest dude you know, the guy who can bench 500 pounds.  What are your thoughts on his shoulder mobility?  The first thing that comes to my mind is can that guy even scratch his back or throw a football.  Most people of that size have trained their chest for years and never once even attempted to increase their shoulder mobility.  This would be an extreme case but you can see how training for strength and not working on mobility can decrease your range of motion within time.  I feel if you are training for strength you need to also train for mobility.  I have attached a few injury prevention and mobility movements below. (Image of Lou Ferrigno)

Shoulder Anatomy Video Click Here

Injury Prevention – The Shoulder Joint

4 Way Shoulder (External Rotation)

Protraction Retraction

Scapular Push-Ups

Shoulder Mobility –The Shoulder Joint

Dislocations

Sleeper Stretch (Internal and External)

Wall slides

For more information on the shoulder joint and keeping your shoulders healthy please see [ more ]

Posted By: Todd Riedel

For more information on the shoulder joint and keeping your shoulders healthy please see [ more ]

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