By: Jackie Wright
As we begin our ski preparation programs, one of the skills always included in the program design is lateral motion training. While lateral motion training is an excellent training modality for most sports, it translates very well to winter sports training. Lateral Motion Training (i.e. LMT) takes place predominately in the frontal plane of the body (i.e. moving side to side).
Due to the frontal plane demands of sports such as alpine and Nordic skiing, ice hockey and snowboarding, LMT provides the body with the movement pattern preparation and muscular strength/endurance training required to perform safely and effectively. One of the fitness tools that we utilize is a slide board or LMT board which allows the client to slide from end to end, with slide booties over the shoes, training the body in the frontal plane.
See the video demonstration below.
Not only do you train the pattern, strengthen the lower body muscles and the entire nose to toes core, when performed continuously, this activity is an excellent form of cardiovascular endurance exercise and may also include HIIT. We utilize LMT with the slide board, Gliding Discs, BOSU Balance Trainer, step platform and Bongo Boards, to name a few of the LMT tools available. The beauty of LMT is that you are able to combine sagittal and transverse plane movement patterns to the frontal plane patterns to train all three planes of the body simultaneously simulating winter sports performance patterns effectively.
This week, check out the LMT tips below and consider integrating LMT into your training program. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
LMT Tip #1 Always wear the sliding booties over your shoes when performing on the LMT boards. These booties allow the body to smoothly slide from one end of the board to the other. You need to be able to push off with the hip/leg in contact with the bumper side with enough force production to propel your body to the opposite end bumper.
LMT Tip #2 On the LMT board, you must fully contact the end bumpers and close the legs together when contacting the bumper. Therefore, the trailing leg must come in contact with the opposite leg. *There are many LMT drills/skills that do not require you to close the trailing leg, but you must be proficient on the board first.
LMT Tip #3 With Gliding Discs, visualize how a speed skater appears when in the midst of a race. They are low, hinged from the hips, torso long and arms and legs working in bilateral opposition to propel the body down the ice. With the balls of your feet on the discs, lift one heel so that you are able to glide, then as you move laterally, bring the trailing leg in to meet the opposite leg and drop the heel of the leading leg to serve as a “brake” or “bumper”.
LMT Tip #4 Bongo boards are great LMT tools. If you have never used one before, set it up next to a stable support and on a non-skid surface and take your time getting accustomed to the lateral action before attempting without support.
LMT Tip #5 Using the BOSU Balance Trainer or step platform, you may perform LMT across the top drills/skills on these tools.
To get fitter, faster and stronger you must train across the fitness spectrum - cardiovascular endurance (setting the foundation), high intensity interval training (i.e. HIIT), muscular strength/endurance/core and flexibility training. If you omit any one of these components, your performance may be negatively impacted. Training is a complex matter, particularly when training athletes, both professional and recreational. However, the fundamentals apply across the board.
The fact of the matter is that your body is a machine that has an incredible ability to adapt to physical stress. Once the body adapts, you may either plateau, begin to actually lose fitness and may begin suffering from overuse injuries—injuries you often ignore until you cannot any longer. Consulting clients from elite athletes to novices, often identifies a common thread as to why these individuals are plateauing and injured—they are performing the same activity/component/program weekly, spend huge amounts of time in their comfort zones or are working too intensely too frequently.
One of my new clients, a self-professed endurance junkie, admitted she was running five-six miles, six days/week with a little muscular strength training performed, no specific flexibility training adhered to and had been suffering from plantar fasciitis as well as patellar pain in her knees.
Following a thorough fitness assessment, we began therapy on the plantar fasciitis, decreased the number of days she was running to two, shorter duration runs (pain free), added two indoor cycling sessions with different cycling formats including HIIT, one swimming workout, and beefed up her muscular strength/core training sessions to include two solid, sometimes three days per week on non-consecutive days.
We also concentrated on strengthening her lower body, specifically the quadriceps, to hopefully address the patellar discomfort. Additionally, daily myofascial release on the foam roller, and stretching/flexibility training were included. (I also referred her to one of the physical therapists that we work with for further evaluation and to a sport’s nutritionist to clean up her eating regimen). Most importantly, we added a specified rest/recovery day to permit her mind and body to rest and repair.
Within 12 weeks, her plantar fasciitis was manageable, her knees were healthier and she felt fitter, was running faster, and stronger than when performing the five-six day a week running grind. Plus, she was excited to train again, fully engaged and ready to continue moving forward, making further training progressions as time and her body allowed. These results converted her to a believer in balanced, safe and effective exercise programs and, if you are an exercise extremist, hopefully this will convince you to do the same! Where there is growth—there is inevitably change!