Dwight Lowery: Week 1
I am proud to be introducing a new blog series about NFL Safety, Dwight Lowery. This series will document his training week to week by tracking his improvements and experience with the revolutionary combination of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) techniques and the OptoJump. One of the first conversations Dwight and I had together was about how he felt his body was capable of so much more. No doubt every athlete has experienced the feeling that they can reach a ball, but their hands never make it. Nearly every time this happens the athlete is found looking at his hands, dumbfounded with their performance.
Dwight began his training with a battery of tests. These tests not only determined his speed, power, and agility, but also exposed some of his suboptimal movement patterns. When you are a professional athlete playing the “game of inches,” efficiency of movement is paramount. Any wasted energy not only results in decreased performance, but increased wear and tear on the body. Dwight, as well as any other athlete simply cannot afford to have these deficiencies.
His initial testing results were quite impressive, a few his scores from combine tests are; broad jump (BJ): 111”, step-to vertical jump (VJ): 29.2’’, and 5-10-5 shuttle drill: 4.34 seconds. The last 5 years at the combine Safeties have averaged BJ: 120’’, VJ: 34.25’’, & 5-10-5: 4.24. Very few coaches would complain about Dwight’s results. How he was accomplishing these maneuvers shows how he can improve his stats even further.
However, I don't really care about these numbers. I care about how he was accomplishing these maneuvers. The numbers I care about have to do with symmetry and efficiency.
Picture #1 (see image) shows his biggest limitation. This is during a “skier test” where he jumps laterally as far as he can, as quick as he can for 15 seconds. This picture shows him loading his hip deficiently. This deficiency results in the lateral trunk flexion. This same issue carries over to his squat jump (see image #2), where he flexes excessively at his trunk and does not load his hip as well as he could. This increased trunk flexion also attributes to his lack of hip extension when he jumps.
Throughout this first week, I used DNS techniques to stabilize his trunk while loading his hips. Many times he was lying on his side and never had his feet on the ground. Whenever he was able to stabilize his trunk correctly, his test results improved dramatically. Table #1 shows the average percent change within EACH training session. The data comes directly from the OptoJump and the Drift Protocol (10 max effort single leg jumps while trying to stay in the same spot.) One component people may ignore is how little he was able to control the movement. What use is all this power if your brain can’t direct your body how you envision it to. The Optojump helped reveal that this was one of Dwight’s biggest issues.
Along with his vast improvements in his mechanics, all the other widely respected numbers improved over the week. Jump height per contact time improved by 24.9% (left) and 26.3% (right) at the end of this first week. I should also mention: we hardly did any plyometric work, and the most he ever had on a squat bar was 95lbs. Even then, it was maybe 20-30 repetitions of him learning how to sit into his hips better.
Just to reiterate, we increased his output and efficiency in EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY, over a WEEK simply by having him use his body optimally. These vast, immediate improvements are TYPICAL with this kind of training.
Both legs have separate intrinsic issues, but the most important thing is that he is not using either of his hips as optimally as possible. He has all the necessary parts, we just need to change how his brain is using them. If you do not understand the numbers, just look at the skier test comparison. In the Feb. 22nd photo, he has MUCH better trunk, foot, and leg alignment. I know it may be hard to believe, but this is the exact same phase of the jump (amortization phase). Also, within this secondary test he output 54% (left) and 55%(right) less power to complete the same task. What does that mean? More efficiency and less wear and tear on the body.