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Teamwork Bloomington Testing Breakdown

Teamwork Bloomington Testing Breakdown

At Teamwork Bloomington, we test our athletes ~five times per year in a battery of tests measuring vertical jump, change of direction, linear speed, total body strength, and mobility/body control.  Below you can read about each of our tests and what these tests measure.

Vertical Jump — The king of measurements for basketball players, the vertical jump reflects increases in relative strength and ability to produce force.

Ground Contact Time — This measurement goes hand-in-hand with vertical jump and reflects how quickly an athlete is able to get off of the floor once they put force into the ground.  When you look into the ground contact time of collegiate athletes, their ground contact times are shockingly similar.

Pro Agility Test — This test involves sprinting five to ten yards and rapidly changing direction.  If your child plays a court sport, a great deal of success depends on ability to change direction without losing control.

75 foot sprint — This straight-line sprint reflects the greatest average distance on a basketball court that a player could sprint during play.  

Trap Bar Deadlift — This is a strength movement that has a near-perfect positional relationship to that of vertical jump.  The trap bar deadlift also does the best job of covering a wide variety of strength qualities, from hip, back, and leg strength to core stability under great load.  

Max Chin-Ups — Similar to that of the deadlift, there is a great correlation between the chin-up and total body strength development.  For a chin up to count, the athlete must reach full extension of the arms at the bottom, and touch their chest to the bar at the peak.

Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR) — This is a movement testing lower body control and flexibility of the hamstrings.  The ASLR allows us to determine whether an athlete should be permitted to deadlift, as well as whether an athlete’s training should be biased toward unilateral (single leg) training as opposed to bilateral training (both legs at once).

Trunk Stability Push Up (TSPU) — The TSPU is a push up that puts the athlete in a disadvantageous position and requires them to complete a single push up without the body breaking a straight line from head to toe.  A requirement of training and sport that many athletes fail to possess is that of core stability. If an athlete cannot control his or her abdominals and hips, there is simply no chance that an athlete can be efficient on the court or field.

Deep Squat — The deep squat is a mobility test performed while holding a rod overhead.  The Deep Squat highlight mobility of the ankle, as well as the upper back and shoulders.  In general, the vast majority of athletes lack ankle mobility, putting them at risk for sprains, inefficient movement, and decreased power in the vertical jump. Many throwers also tend to lack upper back mobility, which can place greater stress on the arm and shoulder over time.


6-Packs and Athleticism: Social Media vs Reality

6-Packs and Athleticism: Social Media vs Reality

Check out our video on training abdominals here!

One of the most frequently asked questions from our athletes is how to achieve the six pack abs that are seemingly everywhere you look.  Unfortunately, this thought process is focussed solely on the visual and very little on the abdominal strength required to move heavy loads and change direction more efficiently.  In reality, there are 3 separate layers of abdominal musculature that play different roles in stability and athleticism. The three layers in order of discussion are the rectus abdominis, the obliques, and finally the transverse abdominis.  As you read on, consider your own views on abs and whether your way of thinking is helping you to meet your athletic goals.

The first layer of abdominals is referred to as the Rectus Abdominis (RA).  These muscles are the “washboard abs” that so many dream of having. The primary role of the RA is to flex the spine (think about your typical sit-up or crunch).  While the RA plays a small role in preventing extended posture (bubble butt), their larger role in athletic performance is relatively small. In fact, the visual appeal of these abs is primarily achieved through nutrition. With that said, visible ridges in your abs can be symbolic of your body fat percentage, which may need to change depending on your sport’s requirements.  While a football-playing offensive lineman and a cross country athlete may be polar opposite in appearance, it does not mean that the runner has strong abs.

While the rectus abdominis makes up the most clearly visible layer of the abs, the obliques come in as a close second.  The obliques are comprised of an outer, external layer, as well as an internal layer below them with muscle fibers running in the opposite direction.  This “X” shape created by the obliques plays a significant role in supporting the spine and allowing us to stand upright. The obliques also provide stability during side bending and rotation of your torso.  When your coaches talk about getting 360-degree expansion with you brace, the obliques make up a big portion of the area you are trying to fill with air. The obliques work in conjunction with the third layer of the abs, the transverse abdominis, to create intra-abdominal pressure (the pressure you create with your breathing), the most important aspect of athletic stabilization.

The final, and arguably the most important layer of the abdominals is the transverse abdominis.  The TA sits deepest inside the body and refers to the muscles we are trying to activate when your coach tells you to brace against a belly breath or shrink your ribcage.  There is a part of the TA below each of the muscles mentioned above, almost acting as the glue the holds everything else together. While this layer sits deepest into the body and is therefor invisible to the naked eye, it’s proof that there is far more to strong abs than the stereotypical beach body.  

There exists a saying in the athletic world that proximal stability will allow for distal mobility.  What this technical expression means is that if your abs are stable, you allow for your hips, shoulders, and everything farther away from the middle of your body to function optimally.  If you as an athlete can learn to breath and brace efficiently, you have the potential to move safely and become significantly more athletic. Stop worrying about the six pack and start thinking about the success you want on the court or field.

Reference Photos:

Rectus Abdominis: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/95/Rectus_abdominis.png/250px-Rectus_abdominis.png

Obliques and RA:

http://www.balancemotion.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/PicMonkey-Collage-300x211.jpg

Transverse Abdominis:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/thmb/acZh8HH7glUvQSp4P80dvsQ32ms=/768x0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/GettyImages-87307057-56a0601f3df78cafdaa14e0c.jpg