This idea comes from Shirley Sahrmann (brilliant physical therapist) and who I first started hearing about while at Endeavor. Mike Boyle call her “the smartest person you never heard of.” I am itching at the idea that I will soon get to read Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes. If there is an injury, look for a weak synergist, just one idea that she been known for. Ok, it is a Sunday and you might ask “Why the hell are you writing a blog post!? Grab a beer and watch a baseball game!” Well, you may be right, but Wrestlemania is on tonight so I may just go to a friend’s house and watch that instead. Anyways, I’ll keep it short.
Sahrmann’s take on this concept is simple. We have muscles that should act as prime movers and other muscles that assist in that similar movement (synergists). When the prime movers stop doing their job, the synergists (or secondary movers) are forced to compensate. For example, how many times do we hear of people who have tight hamstrings and think that doing isolated work for the hamstrings is the way to prevent strains? I forget what strength coach I was listening to, but in short, he had a NFL pro-bowl wide receiver come to him in the off-season who had a history of hamstring strains. They tested his hamstring strength = incredibly strong. They tested his glute function= significantly poor. Classic example that the prime mover of hip extension (should be gluteus maximus) wasn’t strong enough to do it’s job therefore the hamstrings and probably adductor magnus were doing double time to compensate.) This is also a concrete example of why hamstring curl machines should never be used due to lack of hip extension and glute firing during the movement.
This is just one exercise by Ben Bruno, along with glute activations, that can be used to allow the hip extensors to work in a more functional manner.
Have a pec strain, look for weak subscapularis. Strained hip flexor or “quad pull”, look for weak psoas. These are just some of the injury problems that are occurring due to overuse of the synergists and lack of contribution from the prime mover of that particular movement. Often times, tightness is a result of weakness.
Have a great Sunday,