By Tom Bratcher
Tiger Woods removed himself from a golf tournament this week because his “Glutes would not activate”. What???
The day an athlete is on the mound, course or any other aspect of competition and is thinking about “glute activation” is the day we have realized conditioning coaches, therapists, trainers, psychologists and skill coaches have failed the athlete.
Good movement principles are such that the athlete does not think of what is activating, deactivating or reactivating. A high level coach would trick the athlete into activating what he wants through movements during training sessions and practice. The coach’s responsibility is to put the athlete in position to succeed by removing external thoughts such as “activating” so the player can focus on his craft. Once the athlete is on the competitive field, or course, their body will react to the stresses it was put under during training. If the stresses during training are appropriate, the movements will be there come competition WITHOUT thinking about them.
The situation gets more ridiculous in that it is not realistic to ask someone to activate a muscle. Muscles react to movement/stretch and the further the muscle can stretch(or load), the more powerful the contraction. Simply asking a muscle to “activate” is not realistic.
Certain prominent conditioning companies have trained conditioning coaches with buzzwords such as “glute activation”, “recovery”, “pillar” for marketing purposes. These coaches have now gone out in the field and are using these buzzwords as the core of their training principles and it is to the detriment of people like Tiger Woods.
Train the body to do movements properly in the gym. If those movements are done properly, they will carry over to proper movements on the field, court, course or pitch. The athlete should never be thinking about “activation” while on the tee.