Developing Contralateral Strength & Power
When we throw a punch or strike a ball the force & speed (= Power) in most circumstances we generate that power from the tip of our toes to the final release at impact and follow through. Very often that power generates itself from one side of the body to the other. To get as close as we can to total athleticism specific for our sport we need to move closer to exercises that more closely resemble to movements of our sport and add to the transfer of the strength and movements we build in the regular gym and exercise programs we see everywhere. The process we use here at TMC is usually somewhere very close to the following…..
We will build general;
Bilateral strength - (Squats, Deadlifts, Pulls, Rows, Presses)
Unilateral Strength - (Step Ups, Lunges, 1 Arm Rows)
Contralateral Strength, Power & Movement - (Step Up to Press, Rotational Lunges, Various Med Ball Combos, Olympic variations)
It is important to realise that this would be done in conjunction with a good athletic program being delivered through field sport training as well using warm ups and speed training techniques to drive general athleticism and improve Biomechanical qualities at the same time. We would work on agility, lateral speed & movement. But rolling, tumbling, various jumping and multi-planar movement with a Perception-Action focus will lead us to developing better rotational strength & power also.
An example of a 3 step progression for Tennis serve, overhead catching in hurling, pitching in baseball or bowling in Cricket as an example;
Bird Dog - Basic contralateral stability & mobility
Step Up & Press - Contralateral dynamic stability, force development and coordination. There are many progressions that could be used without ever getting heavy.
Split Jerk or RDL-to-High-Step (in video) - An option for more advanced athletes. Variations of Olympic movements do not have to be incredibly over complicated, and you can start off light. An exercise like this will develop coordination before strength & power, but thats fine too.
Med Ball Step/Lunge & Throw - A dynamic progression of above where the actually release of the med ball helps us express some of the force developed in the previous exercise.
I use *French Contrast Circuits to develop horizontal and vertical strength & power. However a version of the above can also be used and i have experimented with this. I see these as particularly useful in-season and for more acyclic field sports like Hurling, LaCrosse, Soccer etc to be time efficient and work on all speeds of movement. In 2015 with Cork Camogie team i also used them for a spike in training coming up to All-Ireland Semi-Final/Final to stimulate further development within the program that was 9 months long at that point. It’s hard to measure how successful that was, but i think it was effective and the feedback was good.
*4 exercises in a row from same movement pattern (i.e. Squat pattern) with little rest at various resistance levels and movement speeds to develop speed and power using PAP (Post Activation Potentiation).
Some Coaches may even move on to overweight rackets, bats or hurleys. I know some skill acquisition experts see value in this but the science is thin and personally i am not seeing the large benefits to spend the time on such pursuits yet. And i mean yet as i am always open to being convinced, i just do not see the “bang for your buck” in this yet. And i have not used or experienced it either yet.
In our next post we will look more at expressing our newly developed strength & power and how we can use Med Balls, Bands, Barbells & Kettlebells to build circuits that will build work capacity as well as rotational strength & power
If you want to know more about our Online S&C for Field Sport please look here https://www.personaltrainingballincollig.com/gaelic-games-online-program.html