21 Feb Propulsion and Absorption

As strength and conditioning coaches it is likely that a number of our athletes will be involved in running-based sports. Hence in my opinion it’s important that we gain a good understanding of exactly how they move, how they run and the possible strengths and weaknesses associated with such movement patterns.

A concept I first learned from Loren Landow was the idea of propulsion and absorption and the way in which we can relate this to the athletes we work with. As an example propulsion based issues are more likely to be soft tissue related. This may be in the form of either poor front side or poor back side-running mechanics.

– Poor front side mechanics – over striding (likely a hamstring injury and in particular the biceps femoris)

– Poor back side mechanics – under recovering (likely a rectus femoris, sartorius or adductor injury – commonly these athletes may present with issues such as osteitis pubis)

Absorption issues are likely to be more ligamentous by nature. The ligamentous tissue of these athletes has to play more of a role than it should when it comes to controlling loads eccentrically and decelerating (whilst often at the same time depending on the sport attempting to change direction).

By gaining a better understanding of such problems we can then go about putting a more educated plan together to try to minimize the chances of such an injury. Commonly this will involve working closely with a sprint/speed coach to help address technical flaws.

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