We've finally found some time time to give you our last installment of the Why We Activate Series. If you missed the first 2, check them out below!
Why We Activate: Standing Long Jump
Why We Activate: 10-Yard Dash
In this final test, we use a med ball variation called the Reverse Granny Throw. Probably better known as the backwards med ball toss.
This is a great test to assess lower body power and has good correlation to sprinting speed. Many track and field coaches use this test, on a regular basis, to evaluate their athletes power production and the effectiveness of their training program.
To evaluate the effect our activation series has on this type of athletic performance, we performed this activation series
- 3-Way Lunge x3ea
- Glute Bridge x15
- Bird-Dog x6e
- Naughty Dog x10ea
- Glute March x10ea
On day 1, athletes and clients went through a dynamic warm-up and this activation series. They then proceeded to perform 3-trials in the reverse granny throw.
On day 2, the athletes and clients went through the same dynamic warm-up, but didn't perform the activation series. As in day 1, they then performed 3-trials of the reverse med ball throw for distance.
Demographic: Just a reminder of the athletes/clients used in this experiment
- 18 College Athletes (baseball)
- 9 High School Athletes
- 9 Youth Athletes (grades 6-8)
- 6 General Population Clients (Ages 23-42)
The weight of the ball used was 12lbs for everybody except the youth athletes. The youth athletes used an 8lb pound ball.
- Youth - 27'1
- College, HS, General - 33'4
- Youth - 26'3
- College, HS, General - 31'11
As you can see there is some significant differences between the two trials. Using activation improved the youth throws by 10-inches; while the College, HS, and General Population improved by 17-inches. This is very significant and gives further reasoning to perform activation before performing power exercises.
After testing the 3 different qualities, it appears that activation may be beneficial for improving power specific exercises. Our activation series definitely improved single power output movements like the standing long jump and reverse med ball throw.
It, however, did not significantly effect 10-yard dash times. As we talked about in the previous installment, this lack of improvement may be due to the nature of acceleration - locomotive, repetitive, and technique drive. It may also be due to acceleration requiring slightly higher degrees of elastic qualities and being more "plyometric" than the standing long jump and reverse med ball throw. This may call for adding in some low-to-moderate "plyometric" exercises to firing up the CNS and elastic properties of the body.
Overall we feel the benefit of activation exercises is significant and gives us reason to continue to implement them in our warm-ups. Even more than the performance gains, we have athletes and clients reporting reduced lower back pain, knee pain, and overall feel more control through their hips and pelvis. Now we understand we can't pin point this on the activation exercises, but when we have athletes/clients telling us they like the activation series, it gives us reason to keep it.
Give them a try and see if you see the same benefits as we do.
Go Get 'Em!