Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Velocity Sports Performance: Fitness Analysis and Athlete Test

I haven't failed a test in a long time.

Chris Powell laughs with me as I struggle through Velocity Sports Performance's Functional Movement Assessment. "This (test) is to see if you have any muscle imbalances," he says. The chain, as the saying goes, is only as strong as its weakest link, and Powell is studying me for weak links. Once weaknesses are identified, they are identified and targeted. One extremely successful NFL franchise uses this test when assessing potential draft picks. This unnamed team is known for drafting "unknown" players who often outshine more highly touted prospects once the season begins.

Powell, 28, is the Sports Performance Director at Velocity and holds a BA in Science, Minor in Human Nutrition from Butler University and a Masters of Science, Physical Education. He guides me through three repetitions each of the Overhead Deep Squat, Hurdle Step, In-Line Lunge, Shoulder Mobility, Active Straight Leg Raise, and Trunk Stability Push-up. These simple movements are difficult to execute - stabilizer muscles all over my body are screaming and I struggle to stay upright at several points.

It takes less than thirty minutes for Powell to learn that my hips open during certain leg movements to compensate for lack of strength or flexibility (or both), that I lack power in my glutes, and that the range of motion in my shoulders is slightly limited. My best score on any movement is two out of three with lots of ones sprinkled throughout. Next up is Athlete Pre-Testing.

This is what you'll see on ESPN the week of the NFL combine: vertical leap, standing long jump, forty yard dash and cone drills. Powell talks of "displacing" myself downfield. It's all very precise and interesting and my mind is swirling with parallels between the work Powell does and what I want to explore in martial arts.
Bruce Lee believed that martial training required rigorous physical conditioning with the end goal being the ability to generate explosive power while maintaining perfect balance. Explosive power is speed. Speed is strength, balance and form, three things I lack.

Here is my best effort in the Athlete Pre-Tests.
Vertical Leap: 19 inches.
Standing Long Jump: 7'1.5"
Forty Yard Dash: 5.70 seconds.
Pro Agility (Side to Side Cones): 5.71 / 5.65 seconds.
Three Cone Drill (90 degree turn): 9.19 / 9.46 seconds.

I signed up for a one-month trial at Velocity and my first class is at 6 a.m. Thursday. Progress updates will be posted.

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