Youth Athletic Training
Phase 2 – Joint Stabilization
The FMF Youth Athletic Training Model®, which should be applied to any beginner, consists of a series of steps that incorporates anatomical adaptation. Anatomical adaptation requires youth (or anyone) to go through phases that work on muscular balance while increasing the support system of the body. The support system consists of joints, tendons, ligaments, core and skeletal muscles. FMF’s Youth Athletic Training Model® is broken down into 6 subcategories: first, the connective tissues; second, joint stabilization; third, muscular balance; fourth, developing core musculature; fifth, stabilizer muscles; and sixth, load and focused adaptation.
Phase two of the model involves strength building and superior balance for muscles surrounding the joints. Instability within the joints is often a result of an over active muscle and an underactive muscle. As a result, the joint is left over-protected on one side and un-protected on the other side. This creates asymmetry surrounding the joint, which often results in injury and/or soft tissue tears.
Joints are where two bones connect together. There are three types of joints:
-Fibrous Joints – joints that cannot be moved, which are held together by merely a ligament. There are three types of fibrous joints: gomphosis, suture, and syndesmoses. Ex: a tooth in the jaw bone.
-Cartilaginous Joints – joints that can be partially moved, which are connecting the articulating bones together by way of cartilage. Ex: the vertebrae of the spine are comprised of numerous cartilaginous joints.
-Synovial Joints – joints that can move freely in multiple planes of motion. These joints are the most commonly known joints and consist of hinge joints, pivot joints, ball and socket joints, saddle joints, and condyloid joints. Ex: the shoulder joint, which is a ball and socket joint, is connected by the rotator cuff.
In regards to strength and conditioning, synovial joints are the most trainable joints within the body. Although synovial joints are challenging to train and create adaptations it can be done. Sport movements often require angular joint movements. It is vital to strengthen the synovial joint support structure in order to safely and efficiently move through these planes and angles of motion. Joints that are not efficiently supported are at high risk for injury and will lead to decreased athletic performance.
Synovial Joint support structures involve numerous muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Beginners, youth, rehabilitation subjects, and advanced athletes must start with general strength training for the muscles and ligaments / tendons that surround the joint. Resistance training should consist of multilateral (multiple sided) movements that strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. Multilateral movements build symmetrical muscles that result in a stable environment. This should be the major focus at the beginning of all resistance training programs.
As discussed before, overuse and over strengthening of particular muscles surrounding the shoulder joint will lead to major joint instability. One real life example looks at the sport of swimming. Shoulder injuries are common in swimmers because of the lack of symmetry surrounding the shoulder joint. One muscle is overly strong and others are overly weak. As well, the excessive volume of swimming leads to overuse injuries. Strength and conditioning programs should place focus on the flexor / extensor muscles and abductor / adductor muscles of the shoulders. Here are a few exercises that should be incorporated into a strength and conditioning program:
-Close-Grip Cable Rows with a pause once the handles are pulled fully to your chest.
-Push Up Protraction-Retraction of the shoulders
-Scapula Pull Ups
-Shoulder external-internal rotation with a light band
These exercises can be found at www.functionalmusclefitness.com.
It is vital to develop the muscles surrounding joints. Joints, particularly synovial joints, are one of the most commonly injured areas of the human body. It is essential to develop the structure surrounding the joint to decrease the risk of injury.
Read more on muscular balance by reading phase III of FMF’s Youth Athletic Training – muscular balance.
Copyright Functional Muscle Fitness LLC © 2012
1. The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd edition).
By, National Strength and Conditioning Association
Editors: Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle
©2008, 2000, 1994
2. Hamilton N, Weimar W, and Luttgens K. Kinesiology – Scientific Basis of Human Motion (7th edition). Boston, MA: The McGraw-Hill Higher Education: 25-100, 2008.