Has your coach ever told you something like, “touch your toes and hold,” or made you go through a series of stationary stretches before practice? In the sport of basketball, there is a common misconception that the best way to warm up and increase mobility is through static stretching, such as holding a stretch for 30 seconds to a minute or even longer. Although static stretching has its place in basketball, there are more efficient and effective moves that can be done before training. IMG Academy's Athletic and Personal Development staff finds that a better way to prepare soft tissue (i.e., muscles, ligaments and tendons) and promote increased mobility and functionality before a workout is through the use of Trigger Point Performance’s (Trigger Point) Myofascial Compression™ Techniques (MCT).
MCTs are defined as moving the distal limb through a range of motion, while building compression in the targeted muscle, to replicate function. For the NBA Combine/Draft trainees at IMG Academy, these techniques are used extensively before each speed, strength and conditioning session and basketball practice to restore tissue elasticity, enhance fluidity, and function to reduce pain, prevent injury, and enhance performance.
Trigger points are tiny knots that develop throughout the kinetic chain when a muscle is overworked. They can be manipulated with Trigger Point’s specifically designed line of products to improve athletic performance by creating strong, elastic muscles that can produce, reduce and stabilize force in multiple planes of motion. IMG Academy’s physical conditioning coach, Steffen Visk instructs each player how to properly utilize Trigger Point’s programming to move along their entire kinetic chain, starting with one of the most important areas for a basketball player, the calves or more specifically, the soleus muscle.
Visk explains, “the soleus is located in the calf and connects from the back of the knee to the Achilles tendon. In most basketball players, this muscle is extremely tight due to the overused bent-knee, ‘athletic position,’ that is crucial during both defense and offense. Whenever the knee is bent, the soleus becomes the primary mover for the extension of the foot or the calf raise motion -- a key movement when you jump. Over the course of multiple basketball games and practices, the soleus tightens and limits the ankle’s range of motion, and as a result, decreases the ability to explode and jump”.
To release a tight soleus, IMG Academy trainees focus daily on increasing the mobility of the soleus muscle, and by utilizing Trigger Point Performance’s FootBaller and Baller Block tools, trainees are able to maintain the required explosiveness and power to compete at the highest level.
For more information on Trigger Point products and programming, visit www.tptherapy.com.