Top 3 Muscular Stress Insights for Coaches

Data-Driven Decisions

In an industry where a competitive edge is measured in inches and seconds we are often asked about the insights we gather from our data. Across all sports and the many leagues we work with we discovered the 3 most common measures to track that inform the overall picture of their athletes.

Those measures are: muscular imbalances, muscle contribution and anterior to posterior ratios.

Below we will show some examples of how these insights have a direct impact on the coach's decision making.

#1 Muscular Imbalances

Tracking muscular imbalances is a top priority for coaches as they can be a warning sign for potential injuries as well as an indicator of how an athlete’s injury recovery is progressing.

If an athlete has significant imbalances during movements, they are putting themselves at risk for injury as they may overwork one side and neglect the other. A muscular imbalance can also be of concern for an athlete with an existing injury as it can signal they are not properly rehabbing the muscles for full recovery and instead developing compensation patterns which can lead to re-injury.

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In this example above from our Online Training Center, the athlete has a 100% imbalance in their hamstring. The right hamstring is working almost twice as hard as the left which is a major concern for the coach. This also shows that the hamstring is contributing more than the glutes overall. The coach for this athlete will want to program movements that focus on isolating the hamstrings and glutes during single leg work to improve balance and posterior contribution.

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Here’s a different example from our Applied Sports Scientists’ custom athlete report. After working closely with the coach, a goal was set of less than 15% muscular imbalances on the injured athlete. Athos was able to show that the inner quad was imbalanced by 18% during this athletes’ movements.

The coach used this insight and adjusted programming to focus on inner quad balance within the goal range. Monitoring this metric was key to Return to Play as they were able to leverage these muscular imbalance insights to ensure they are fully recovering the strength in the injured muscle.

#2 Muscle Contribution

Muscle Contribution allows coaches to quantify which muscles are engaged during each movement. This insight enables a coach to know if their programming is impacting their athletes as intended.
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In the example below from our Online Training Center, we see that during a lower body movement in the weight room our athlete has very little muscle contribution from the inner quads. The coach will take this information and program movements differently to achieve greater inner quad contribution. Additionally, during the session the coach can cue the athlete to activate the inner quads early on with hopes of them being more activated throughout the rest of the session.

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Here’s a different example above from the custom athlete report that shows a goal for the athlete to achieve more than 25% glute contribution during training. Our Applied Sports Scientist was able to see that not only did their athlete achieve that goal, but the data revealed that banded running led to the highest glute contribution. This insight allows the coach to consider programming more of this movement to continue to achieve this goal throughout their sessions.

#3 Anterior Posterior Ratio

Another top tracked metric and common goal for coaches is to achieve an Anterior to Posterior Ratio equal to .75-1.0

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In this example, our Applied Sports Scientist found that the anterior to posterior ratio has gotten closer to 1 in this athlete's last session. The highest ratios came from the hex bar deadlifts. Knowing how each movement contributed to this goal allows the coach to know which movements to continue to emphasize in programming.

Those are the top insights our coaches are leveraging to get their players back in the game faster and remain healthy.

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