Data on Dwight: Head and Foot Position Matter!
Here’s a video of Chargers’ (NFL) Safety, Dwight Lowery. Tell me if you think there is a drastic difference in power production and take-off velocity. After you watch the video, I will discuss the data captured between these twojumps.
Go on… make your prediction…Great. Thank you.
Here’s some context, his goal was to get off the ground as quickly as possible and throw the weight upwards. Changing his ground contact and spine positions allows for much more power transfer efficiency. By landing with a dorsiflexed (think toes up/ankle bent) ankle, he creates a healthy stiffness throughout his entire leg. His foot acts like a properly inflated mountain bike tire as his leg is the suspension. This increases co-contraction of musculature around all joints. This co-contraction is not only safer, it obviously results in much more power. One of the biggest observations are his knees. His knees stay over his feet rather than shearing forward (right video). Furthermore, any elite sprint coach understands that head position dictates body position. The sprinter will straighten-up too early and lose power. The mechanics are no different here. We want Dwight to keep his neck neutral throughout all motions to increase integrity of his neck. As well as allow for his spinal stabilization system to operate optimally.
Now, it should be quite clear how improved movement quality (centration) improves quantitative measures that we value so much in today’s society. This data was gathered by using Microgate’s GYKO system that is able to capture nearly everything under the sun when it comes to movement. Power improved by 42.1% which translated to a 57.2% increase in jump height.
Below, I want to show the velocity curve of his hips. On the left, we see a steep, straight line ascent. This corresponds to the video on the left. On the right right, we see a decreased acceleration in velocity and there is a radical drop off of power. This corresponds to the jump with the sub-optimal neck and foot position. By creating a healthy stiffness through the correct body parts (foot and spine), Dwight is able to drive force more effectively from his legs into his center of mass.
So what does this mean for you? Well, I’m glad you asked. It should be pretty obvious to see the difference in videos. I just recorded that on my iPhone. You have a smart phone, or know someone who does. Record yourself and take an objective eye to your movement. What would you see if you were looking at yourself for the first time? Hold yourself responsible for your movement competency. If you are reading this, you have a body of varying size, shape, and ability. Everyone should be able to make basic movement corrections on their own body. So start now. This isn’t rocket science. Do your feet point inward when you walk or run? What direction do you think they should point? Hint, feet typically dictate where you want to go. This isn’t rocket science. Take charge of your movement.
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