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Training & Conditioning @ Elite Sports Performance

So last night was my first introductory session at Elite Sports Performance, an elite training facility in the inner west of Melbourne.  This facility has to be one of the most impressive training facilities that I have seen in my many years as an avid trainer and Osteopath.  It is fully equipped to deal with and train everyone from the avid exerciser like myself to the elite athlete.  In actual fact, many of Australia’s top athletes train at this actual venue.

I was lucky enought to have Todd take me through my intro session at Elite Sports Performance.  Todd recently undertook his level 2 Australian Strength & Conditioning Association Course.  Todd explained that before anyone starts regularly training at the facility, individuals must go through a couple of sessions with one of their coaches to ensure they are actually prepared to start training.

Todd took me through the introductory Prehab Exercises that all athletes perform at the facility before undertaking any further strength and conditioning training.  Following this I went through the basics of squatting and how it is taught at Elite Sports Performance.  Both very interesting for me personally as I love training, but also very useful in an Assessment and Teaching sense.  I will give you a quick run down the Prehab Routine performed to give you an idea of what is conducted by many athletes pre training session.  I am hoping to get some video footage and or photos to demonstrate these in a later post.

Prehab Conditioning Routine

  1. Birddog/Superman – 10 reps each side
  2. Supine Hip Bridge – 10 reps
  3. Single Leg Hip Bridge – 10 reps each leg
  4. Plank with Single Leg Hip Extension – 10 reps each side
  5. Side Plank with Hip Abduction – 10 reps each side

These exercises were used as both an Assessment and Training Tool.  Individuals unable to perform these or demonstrate an asymmetry (left to right side) or motor recruitment imbalance (over active hamstrings, gluteal amnesia, over active lumbar erector spinae muscles, poor lumbopelvic stability) would need to work on these regularly to prove that they are ready to further their training and conditioning.

Many of these exercises are prescribed by Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Exercise Physiologists for clients who are wanting to rehabilitate an injury and or correct a musculoskeletal imbalance.  It was great to see that these types of exercises don’t stop here and are actually performed by even those training at the top level.

Hip Stability Powerband Work

Todd explained that some of the most common musculoskeletal imbalances that is observed with beginners and even elite clients is that they are often over active in their hamstrings, have poor core lumbopelvic stability and gluteal amnesia.  Often this is the reason why many individuals and athletes actually end up suffering from soft tissue strains and/or overuse injuries.  The following Powerband Hip Exercises were performed.

  1. Standing Single Leg Powerband (Yellow long powerband) Hip Flexion – 10 reps (Hip Flexor)
  2. Standing Single Leg Powerband Hip Extension – 10 reps (with big focus on Glute Max Contraction).
  3. Standing Single Leg Powerband Hip Abduction – 10 reps (big focus on Glute Med Contraction)
  4. Standing Single Leg Powerband Hip Adduction – 10 reps(Adductors)

Again, these exercises were used as both an assessment and training strategy.  It was very easy to identify and observe asymmetry between left and right legs and how one functions in the sagittal and frontal plane through the hip.  My personal observations of myself performing these were that I had overactive hamstrings, poor glute max contraction, right leg much more stable and range of movement better than left.  Obviously I have some work to do!


The next group of Powerband Exercises consisted of

  1. Powerband Seated Hip Abduction Exercise – 10 reps (abductors i.e. Glute med)
  2. Standing Powerband VMO Contraction – 10 reps (VMO quad)

Moving onto the Conditioning & Squatting Technique Phase.

Next up was learning how to Squat the Elite Sports Performance (Powerlifting Method) way.

Stage 1

The first stage was learning how to take up the Squat Stance, the Keys Being:

  1. Put weight belt on (as tight as posible)
  2. Activate the core throughout the lift
  3. Wide Stance (much larger than hip width)
  4. Feet Externally rotated

Stage 2 involved setting up a Plyometric box behind me so that I could practice my technique.  The next stage involved

  1. Hinging at the hips
  2. Keep trunk upright
  3. Sit back with the glutes
  4. Push the knees outwards on the downward phase of motion
  5. Shins perpendicular to the floor/vertical position at bottom range of the squat
  6. Push the knees outwards on the upward phase of motion

By this time, although I hadn’t been lifting any weights yet, I could well and truly feel my glutes and core working.

Stage 3.  Practice with Powerband and Learning to Rack/Unrack the Barbell

  1. Standing Powerband Technique practice – band wrapped around the legs and really try to abduct the legs throughout the downwards and upwards phase of the movement
  2. Learning to rack and unrack the barbell in a safe manner

Stage 4. Practice with Barbell (making sure that the barbell sits a bit lower on the back than some people might be used to with squatting, as well as squeezing hard to hold the bar back and to tense the whole posterior chain (lats, traps etc) & Adding Weights gradually

The key focus was on correct technique and when this is adopted in a powerlifting squat, the entire body feels strong.  All in all, this was a great experience and first up intro to some powerlifting.  Not only did I learn some great stuff personally, but what I learnt that will help me clinically with my clients, whether it be to help teach and improve technique to also assessing and training the body, was a great thing.

Post Training Powerband Mobilisers

The last stage of the session involved more powerband work (green and thick 2 inch powerband).  The powerband was placed high onto my thigh and I was required to hold a static lunge position (powerband around the kneeling leg) creating a backwards pull motion with hips dropping forward to create a strong hip flexor stretch.  The aim was to hold this for 2 minutes.

Following this, the lunge position was reversed to create an anterior pull and a 2 minute hold was carried out.  This was then taking to kneeling abduction position and then finally a seated adduction pulling moment.  Each holding for 2 minutes.  Who would have thought that 8 minutes of isometric holding would be so hard, but good for opening up the hips. Post this exercise, my hips felt a million dollars regarding mobility.

Anyway, enough said.  My next session is booked for 2 weeks from now, so I will update you further regarding the training and conditioning with Elite Sports Performance then.

Principle Four Osteopathy is one of Melbourne City CBD 3000 leading Osteopathic Clinics.  Osteopath Heath Williams has a particular interest in Osteopathy, Corrective Exercise and Rehabilitation.  He teaches Corrective Exercise/Rehabilitation to the 4th Year Students at Victoria University as well as Co Owns the Continued Professional Development webpage Training Trendz Pty Ltd.  Training Trendz is a leading education webpage for Personal Trainers and Allied Health Professionals in Australia.

Principle Four Osteopathy is located at 29 Somerset Place, Melbourne City CBD 3000 (near the corner of Little Bourke & Elizabeth St).  To speak to an Osteopath or book an appointment, please call 03 9670 9290 or book online by clicking here.

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