Do the Hokey Pokey…and move it all about.
In my last post I talked about the importance of doing a complete functional movement screen and looking at movement as a whole (rather than looking at separate body parts under a microscope)…Now let’s have Rafa change his warm up routine.
The only warm-up I have seen Rafa doing is a series of internal and external shoulder rotation exercises. He also does his signature on court after the ball toss: a few plyo jumps at the net, and then a sprint to the baseline. I am sure he does a lot more than that before the match, or before practice…or does he?
According to the Wall Street Journal in 2010 “The state of the Spaniard’s knees dictates a lot of the training. Instead Mr. Nadal prefers high-impact aerobic work. In the weights room he does compensation work for his arms and back…You have to work on hip strength, particularly on clay when points on last longer," says Mr. Forcades. "Resistance is very important and we have to improve Rafa's recovery time."
The article then adds that “several hours of stretching is a very important part of the daily routine both as a warm up, an exercise in itself and then recovery.”
The protocols above confuse me…but here is my suggestion: more movement-oriented mobility work and less static stretching. Yesterday in fact, the famous team of Andre Agassi and Coach Gil Reyes (@AgassiandReyes) tweeted a short video of a football team doing what they called “the perfect stretch”. It is the perfect combo of joint mobility work, rotation and flexibility.
So, why is pre-workout mobility work so important? Studies within the past few years have proven that static stretching prior to an activity actually decreases performance. Mobility work increases your range of motion, allowing your muscles to work safely and more efficiently; mobility warm-ups can also increase circulation and prevent injury and dysfunction.
As you will see in my next post (#3 in this series), the internal structure of our bodies is comprised of a series of “train tracks” that connect ligament to muscle to joint/bone…these long tracks are called myofascial lines. These myofascial lines are long tracks, true…there are connections that run from the sole of your foot through your hamstrings, low-back all the way up to the crown of your head!
Because of these intricate connections if you have lack of mobility in one joint, it can affect a host of other things. If you are not mobile in the ankle, it can throw off your knee, or hip movement. If you are immobile in your hip, compensation or injury can occur anywhere down your leg. The knees…stuck in the middle, of the track going up OR down, take the lion’s share.
Immobility anywhere on the train tracks is how injuries can start. Here are a few ways to work on your mobility:
1. Foam roll, SMR and Trigger Point therapy—see blog post, November 8 2014
2. Warm-up the core—prone scorpions or, lunges with gentle rotation, or "the perfect stretch" I mentioned above.
3. Do some sequenced hip, chest/shoulder and spinal mobility-squat demo here, sit-outs to spider crawls, bear crawls or even our Bespoke Lunge
4. Get creative! Mix it up, create your own flow, Shake it off, do the Hokey Pokey—and most of all, keep moving.
Look for part 3 of 5 Ways to Save Rafa Nadal later this week.
Brilliant. Easy. Bespoke.
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