Whether an athlete is getting ready for baseball, golf, basketball, hockey, figure skating or any other athletic activity, our goal is always to make that athlete as capable as possible during dynamic movements at game speed. But how does one accomplish this? Over the past several years, I have often been asked how it’s possible to train pelvic stabilization during dynamic activities such as throwing, swinging and hitting. Should we focus on getting the entire dynamic activity “correct” all at once or break it down into sub-components. And if we should break it down, what is an effective way to do it?
The first step to training pelvic stabilization or trunk control during dynamic skills is to be successful in performing controlled postures and drills. Using the correct muscles to stabilize and control the trunk is essential to applying their potential to more dynamic activities. For this reason the exercise progressions I’ve developed around the Level Belt biofeedback technology begin with controlled postures and advance into more functional postures.
Training pelvic stabilization during high-level dynamic activities requires one to break down the activity into its more segmental parts. By training control of the pelvis under the spine during the segmental components of the dynamic movement, the user learns what stability feels like. This newly learned stability can then be applied to the dynamic movement as a whole.
Before Perfect Practice developed the Level Belt technology, we either watched our clients with our own eyes, asked them to watch themselves in a mirror, or recorded video to play back. There are other products out there like a motion capture laboratory, but that takes too much time, is too expensive, and oftentimes just isn’t available. And the other clinical products out there just didn’t allow us to get our clients into sitting or standing positions. Now, with the Level Belt, we are not limited to supine exercises on a table, “standing” exercises pressed up against a wall, or 3D motion capture in a laboratory—we can get the biofeedback we need in the clinic or out on the field.
So how do we use the Level Belt for a pitcher? We train trunk stability in the cocking phase, the acceleration phase, release phase and follow through phase in each of their individual postures. We utilize tools such as Therabands®, med ball throws, BodyBlades® and manual resistance to challenge the trunk’s stability during upper extremity activities.
Once the client is successful at minimizing errors in trunk control at one level we select the next more challenging level available on the Level Belt app, enhancing the user’s motor learning. Enhanced stability at the trunk results in improved performance and reduced risk of injury. These benefits extend beyond the trunk to the upper and lower extremities as well.
Chris McKenzie PT, SCS, AT, CSCS; firstname.lastname@example.org