Swimmer Discovers Secret Weapon
Mar 29, 2016
Let’s face it, Original Strength is silly.
Grown men and women rolling around on the floor and crawling like babies? Ridiculous!
Like many people reading this, my first impression of OS held similar sentiment. Until I tried it. I have to imagine it’s the same for most of the athletes that I train. It certainly was the same for my teenaged son. “What is this supposed to be doing dad?” and “I feel dumb doing this” were familiar remarks made on a regular basis when helping/instructing my first born re discover his reflexive core. There is a saying I picked up in my martial arts training: When the student is ready, the master shall appear. Basically, the master has always been there, it’s the student who needs to be in the right frame of mind or particular circumstance to learn the lessons of the master.
About two years ago my wife and I were at one of our son’s swim meets. Sitting up in the stands watching kids swim back and forth, her phone rang. After a few words she handed me the phone. It was Ben.
“Dad, my shoulder is hurting and I have to swim soon”.
The “student” was now ready. I met him outside the pool deck and found a quiet spot where we could get to work. After a few questions and basic muscle function tests we started with the simple resets. After each reset we tested the shoulder to see if the pain was increasing, decreasing or staying the same. We found rocking, bird dogs and rolling were the answer. With time not on our side he wrapped it up with me, shoulder pain free at this point and ran out on to the pool deck just as his heat was being called to the starting blocks. Not only did he swim the event pain free (which was enough for me) he set a personal best time! From then on there were no more objections. It simply became something that was done on a regular basis. The silliness had become a secret weapon.
We use Original Strength in a variety of ways when it comes to my son and swimming. One the ways we use it is during swim meets to come down from an event. After competition one of the keys to recovery is to get back to a homeostatic baseline quickly. In a sport where there can be limited time between events that require maximal efforts, Original Strength is the perfect way to come down from the physiologic excitement of competition. We use diaphragmatic breathing, head nods, rolling and rocking to down regulate the sympathetic nervous system and help up regulate the parasympathetic nervous system.
The opposite is true when we are getting ready for an event. We try to tie the body together with standing cross crawls, elevated rolls, bird dogs and crawling when it’s appropriate and feasible. Midline crossing slapping of the extremities and shaking opposing limbs along with a few quick tuck jumps are also helpful to tie the body together and bring tactile awareness of the body to the two hemispheres of the brain. Breathing done with repeated, short rapid inhalations followed by an exhale stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and gets him ready for competition.
Ben swims at a high level for his age and has yet to be sidelined with any nagging injuries commonly associated with swimming – shoulder, neck and back pain. This year he was conference champion in the 100 yard butterfly and 200 yard freestyle medley relay. At the conclusion of the high school season he was named All Conference in both events as a sophomore. The basic resets are a common occurrence most evenings in our house.
In regards to swimming, Original Strength improves the reflexive stability of the rotator cuff, improves cervical and thoracic spine mobility (crucial for shoulder health), sharpens the reflexes of the deep inner core and promotes good head control. I firmly believe that the addition of Original Strength to his existing training has helped him to become the promising young swimmer that he is today.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']https://originalstrength.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/original-strength_mark-shropshire.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]This success story comes from Original Strength Instructor, Mark Shropshire in Columbia, Maryland. He has been training athletes and other professionals for more than 19 years. Mark enjoys challenging his clients mentally and physically to believe in and achieve their maximum potential. Mark has had the opportunity to work and consult a wide variety of athletes in his career which includes members of the NFL, MLB, NHL, Professional Soccer, US Marshals, US Secret Service, SWAT, Naval Special Warfare, Army Special Operations, as well as numerous individuals who play college sports at the division I, II and III levels.
Prior to owning his own company Mark was the director of Cal Ripken Jr. Sports Acceleration from 1998 – 2002. Mark is an Original Strength Instructor, holds a Level 1 certification in Kettlebell instruction from Strong First, is a Level II FMS and CKFMS practitioner and holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.[/author_info] [/author]