FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT SCREEN & METABOLIC
Have you ever wondered why/if football players train differently than soccer players or why freshman train differently than upper classmen? The reason is that every sport has its own specific needs. Furthermore, each individual athlete has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Some athletes come to UCLA having never lifted weights, while others come in with extensive training backgrounds. It is important that the Athletic Performance Staff takes all these circumstances into consideration when developing training programs for their athletes. With new scientific research and technology we now know that training athletes is a much more complex process than once thought. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and metabolic assessment are two such technologies that UCLA is utilizing to develop their athletes. With the use of these new and exciting scientific tools combined with traditional strength, power and speed assessments we are now able to evaluate athletes and decide where they need the most work/improvement.
The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) represents a way of assessing individuals before they start a strength and conditioning program. The primary function on the FMS is to assess an athletes' flexibility, balance and muscular symmetry. Based on the results of this test, a series of correctional exercises may be prescribed. Each aspect of the FMS focuses on different types of human movement and primarily assesses one body part. For example, the shoulder stability test and its impingement follow-up test primarily look at the shoulder. When a volleyball player scores poorly on this test, evidently they will have shoulder problems and declined performance on the court. This will warrant correctional exercises being assigned to the player to help improve shoulder stability and flexibility.
Another new tool at the disposal of the Athletic Performance staff is metabolic assessment. Using a metabolic cart allows the performance staff to test the athletes to determine such resources such as aerobic threshold (The point at which your body is optimally utilizing oxygen and fat to produce energy), lactate threshold (The point at which you start to red line and begin to produce lactic acid faster than your body can utilize and remove it from the blood by other tissue changes), and VO2 Max (The rate of oxygen uptake during maximal aerobic exercise). This information allows us to train athletes very specific to their sport and also individualize the program to each athlete. From these numbers we can determine at what heart rate an athlete burns the most fat or what rate they need to be training at to improve their lactate threshold. This will not only make the athlete's body more efficient but, with proper training will allow them to work harder than they could have before. An example would be developing a program for Women's soccer. There would be different heart rate zone set for the girls depending on whether we were working on speed or conditioning that particular day. At the end of the day, the information gathered from these tests gives us an advantage that allows workouts administered by the performance staff at UCLA to be more effective.
In addition to the more cutting edge assessments being used, the athletic performance staff utilizes traditional strength and powers assessments. Tests such as the vertical jump and standing broad jump are used to determine the vertical and horizontal power output of athletes. Vertical power output is important in evaluating athletes' performance potential in sports such as basketball and volleyball while horizontal power output is important in assessing sports such as soccer and football. The back squat, bench press, and power clean are three strength tests that many of our teams use to evaluate strength levels.. Athlete using great technique are monitored and progressively taken up until they are unable to squat anymore weight or show bad technique. Today athletes and coaches are more knowledgeable about proper training and recovery methods needed to excel at sport. Quantified measurables are key when motivating athletes, educating coaches and refining athlete's workouts. All of these tests allow the Athletic Performance staff to evaluate their programs and the effort of the athletes to see if the goals of the program are being met.
The Athletic Performance Staff at UCLA is dedicated to training our athletes with such cutting edge methods to help enhance increases in the weight room and ensure transfer of these gains onto the field or court.
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