In the first two parts of deceleration training, we explored several specific strategies you could implement with literally any athlete to be extremely successful regardless of experience or sport type.
Today we will examine some non-active measures that can potentially influence your ability to improve deceleration as well. Many coaches and trainers still overlook these fundamental supporting factors in athlete programs leading to a lack of progress.
#1-Muscule Size and Density
What is one of the major factors surrounding “Tommy John” injuries in major league baseball? If you answered an individual’s body weight and local arm size then you would be correct, according to some reports.
And it makes sense. Not only is the degree of shear torque being expressed throughout the upper body incredibly high at the pro level, but when you consider all other players in programming (i.e. game schedule, practice, recovery factors, diet, stress, etc.), ensuring that an individual is fully prepared and structurally resilient enough to withstand repetitive forces at the utmost intensity is extremely vital to both injury prevention and then success.
Remember that given the same level and line of stress, a bigger muscle will be able to tolerate more demand than a small one with all factors outside of size held constant.
#2-Active and Passive Recovery Practice
From the moment you end a high-intensity workout of any sort, your immediate focus should be on recovery as quickly as possible. Cooldown, perhaps stretching although that’s debatable, and deep breathing practices are a surefire way to stimulate the start of the collective recovery process and tap into your parasympathetic nervous system which handles the entire recovery process from high-intensity training bouts.
Moreover, once that has been accomplished, you will want to make sure to have your standard diet and sleep in order along with all of those specifics, but the following day should more often not consist of some active recovery-based aerobic work, or “rebound” conditioning depending on where you are leaning from.
Studies have clearly shown time and time again that we can recover quicker when engaged in an active recovery approach rather than just lying around and waiting for the body to do all of the work itself in a passive manner. As it relates to deceleration, recovery can be arguably even more of an issue since force generation potential is possibly higher than concentric and this is also where a lot of muscle and tissue damage can occur since you are under a loaded stretch which contributes to microtrauma and subsequent tearing outcomes.
Plenty of injuries occur while decelerating (i.e. rotator cuff, hamstring, abdominals), and several reports that show past injury can be a reliable predictor of future injury although this can indeed be debatable. Nonetheless, you should never overlook the lasting impact an injury has both on the body and the psyche when you are attempting to recover from the injury, or after it’s long gone and you’re trying to guarantee it never emerges in competition again.
The reality is that deceleration or a lack thereof will cause constraints in movement that you are required to perform which can overload the body in an unfavorable fashion leading to eventual injury. Concentric-based programs are so dominant and appreciated (i.e. Crossfit) but as an athlete, you had better be able to master the skill of deceleration as it’s one of the primary governors of both injury and performance levels and always will be.