Sunday, 27 March 2011

NY Times article supports Coach Goldenberg's post on women & knee injuries

Last week I posted an article about women and knee injuries and the issues they face.  Well the NY Times followed that up with an excellent article titled For Women in Sports, ACL Injuries Take Toll On Sunday March 27th in their sports section.

Strength Training, Bootcamps, Post Physio Rehab for women have to be addressed in a different way.  What works for the boys will not work for girls.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Female Athletes & Knee Injury Prevention

Lorne Goldenberg BPE, CSCS, CEP

Research has shown that female athletes have a 4-6 fold increased risk for ACL injury compared to boys playing in the same sports.  This has been found to be a result of boys increasing their strength and coordination at faster rates than girls do.  Ironically this thought is supported by greater number of boys who participate in our programs at the Athletic Conditioning Center.  When we do see young girls coming in for an assessment and program 9 out of 10 times we see weakness through the hips, knees and ankles.  We believe this is preventable!

By providing young girls with direction and a program to develop strength, balance, and power, this will assist the body in protecting the knee, and resulting in better performances on the ice or the field.  We utilize this philosophy on all body parts, and work toward the integration of full body movement to enhance fundamental movement skills, such as running, jumping, lunging, twisting, and stepping.  These fundamental movement skill can put a young girl at risk if not addressed.

Ironically in a study (1) that looked at moments of abduction and adduction forces on the knee while stair climbing, one of the main findings was that the moment patterns were exclusively abductor (forcing the knee inward) throughout stance, indicating that the ground reaction vector always passed medial to the knee joint center stressing the medial side of the knee and resulting in uneven forces.   Although the knee abduction-adduction moment is not in the primary plane of motion when stair climbing (because we are really moving up and down), its magnitude should not be ignored when trying to understand the stability and function of the knee during this movement.  This study really underlines the great many forces that act on the knee, even when we think we are just moving straight.

Have a look at this video of young kids in a group training class, you will see it first in real time and in slow motion.  Notice the joint movement for most of these kids, it is too extreme and will lead to injury.

Another factor for girls is the Q-Angle in their hips (see pics below).  Females young and old naturally have wider hips than males.  As result of this, when females are running or jumping, they have much greater stresses placed on the knee.  Young girls experience the issues in exercises such as in the video above, while older females who are active suffer from knee pain from activities such as bootcamps and lean & fit programs that do not take into account specific biomechanical weaknesses in their clients.

There is good news though.  It is widely accepted that prevention is much less costly and painful than reactive protocols for sports injuries.  If you are injured, proper progressions will ensure a safe return to activity.   If you are the parent of young female who plays hockey or soccer, a complete program will prevent this from happening in the future.  Come in and speak to one of our strength coaches to see how the ACC can make a difference in your back to play rehab program.

1.  (Journal of Biomechanics Volume 29, Issue 3 , Pages 383-388, March 1996 David L. Kowalk,)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Carey Price

This was taken last year between periods of a game in the Habs weight room.  I can tell you, Carey Price is the hardest working goaltender in the NHL!

For those of you who are really technical, and understand weightlifting, he got his elbows up and around that bar in the catch phase.  He is a good lifter!


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

How To Pick A Hockey Conditioning Program?

Looking for An Off-Ice Training Program For Your Children?  Buyer Beware!
By Lorne Goldenberg BPE, CSCS, CEP
If you are like most parents with young hockey players, with the season starting to wind down, you are probably starting to think about a hockey specific fitness program for your player.  With the concept that whatever makes the pros better, should make my child better, has resulted in many “hockey specific” programs that are available city wide.  A good solid science based program, will be able to bring your child to another fitness level by providing sound fundamental fitness principles such as progression, and age appropriate programming.

The challenge for parents is attempting to select the program.  As you would select any other professional service i.e. lawyer, dentist, doctor, etc you seek a qualified professional who has obtained recognized credentials in their area of specialty.  The challenge as it relates to sport conditioning programs, is that the field in itself is not regulated.  There are a variety of levels of personal trainers who you can hire for this service.  Some individuals are just active fitness people who love working out, some are former athletes, some are group fitness instructors who have ventured out into the sport conditioning area, and some are “certified personal trainers” who have participated in a weekend course. There are many trainers in Ottawa who are excellent marketers, but lack the real education necessary to provide the safe direction you are looking for your young players.

The trainers who fit into the above categories may provide an excellent service, but the area where they are lacking is a formal education in the field of human kinetics or physical education.  Without a 4 year degree in this area, there is very little understanding as to the biomechanics, anatomy, and physiology behind exercise.  Without this education your child’s safety, progress, and success in their fitness program may be at risk.  I have seen countless examples of programs whereby young kids are being coached through drills that are more appropriate for professional athletes.  The result in all cases of this are the kids cannot perform the drills with good execution and are setting themselves up for chronic type injuries in the knee, hip and ankle.

In this point in time there are very few organizations that provide certification that requires a pre-requisite of a formal degree before you can write their exam or participate in their course.  This problem is magnified by the numerous organizations that “certify” personal trainers with course content that can be considered very weak.

With the above in mind some of the questions you should ask before investing in a hockey specific conditioning program for your child would be:

  1. What is your formal education as it pertains to this field?
  2. What certifications have you obtained since graduating with your degree or college diploma?
  3. Do you possess liability insurance?
  4. What is your experience in dealing with musculoskeletal injuries?

One of the most significant problems I have seen are hockey fitness programs that provide their clients with a workout that “feels great & is hard work”.  The problem begins a few weeks later with the onset of knee or back pain as a result of improper exercise program development.  Some trainers use exercises they have seen in muscle magazines, or picked up at a lecture.  The issues arise as they do not understand the foundational work that must be completed before going on to these “great” exercises. 

Exercise is a drug, and like a drug you need a proper prescription provided by a qualified practitioner.  Some of the most recognized organizations in the industry are certifications from the National Strength & Conditioning Association, and the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology.  Don’t let someone over prescribe the wrong drug for your child’s fitness development.  Off season training is about getting better, not rehab for an off-season overuse injury.

For more information check out