Lateral Force Production

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Lateral Force Production

FORCE PRODUCTION-2 copyAny sport that requires you to cut or change direction will put enormous demands on the athlete to create lateral force. This picture of Barry Sanders cutting says it all. There has never been an athlete before or after Barry that has had a better change of direction or ability to create lateral force. To rapidly change direction you need to be able to decelerate, gather elastic energy in the lateral force producing muscles, joints and ligaments and finally express that stored energy with triple extension to produce lateral movement. A wise man in a Labcoat once said “You need to Load before you Xplode!” The problem I see with athletes who lack lateral power is that they cannot effectively transfer the force they impart in the ground into lateral movement due to compensations or weak links in the chain.
To effectively create lateral force you need to move in the frontal plane without compensation. The 2 most common compensations are 1.Lateral Core Compensation and 2. Pelvic Compensation which I like to call “Hip Wink”.  Compensation can occur in any part of the loading phase, gathering phase or unloading/Xploding phase! If your load is full of compensation your unloading will be less than powerful. This is why it is so important to focus on proper form during your lateral power exercises. One of the most common lateral power movements is the lateral cut or change of direction which is often trained using the lateral skate exercise.
Lateral Skate Exercise
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Here you can see the Loading Phase where the shoulders, hips are not aligned and the force being applied into the ground is not in the direction our athlete is trying to move. This is an energy leak! The athlete now has to re-align these segments and line of force before Xploding! This can take precious time and be the difference between successfully changing direction to beat your opponent or being tackled. It is critical that the athlete learns to create optimal lines to change direction quickly and efficiently. Skating back and forth is a form of lateral plyometrics. This drill is about power production so less reps with more power per rep is key. If your athlete has compensation you will need to correct the form first with lower loads or lower intensity and more reps.
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You are never too young to start developing lateral change of direction. We use these drills with our juniors at the Tour Performance LAB. It is an integral part of our Movement Literacy component and teaches the young golfer how to maximize lateral load and weight transfer in the golf swing. The key to explosive drives!
In my experience this drill is taught often and often taught incorrectly. This video features the basic cues, proper force vectors, and corrective exercises needed to teach this dynamic exercise correctly. The key to efficient force production is to create linear or direct lines of force in the direction that you want to move. The best way to maximize force is to involve multiple joints or segments of the body firing in the correct order. To do this, the segments need to be aligned properly. This video focusses on exactly this! I hope you enjoy!

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