Lateralizations & Regressions – A Follow Up To Training Means & Methods

A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled Training Means & Training Methods. The basic premise of the article was to discuss the importance of selecting training methods in order to achieve some sort of specific physiological outcome while adjusting the training means – the tools that you use (IE, run, bike, BB, KB, DB, MB, etc) – based on a number of factors:

  • Logistics of the situation/training environment
  • What equipment you have avaliable
  • Sports needs
  • Athlete needs and movement limitations

The last point, regarding movement limitations, is a key piece to the puzzle and I believe this is where a lot of strength coaches and trainers go wrong as they feel that a movement limitation automatically leads to a “soft” training program or a program dictated by a number of physical therapy exercises rather than “real training”.

Last week, Charlie Weingroff released his DVD Lateralizations & Regressions, the follow up to his DVD from a few years ago, Training = Rehab. When it comes to dealing with movement limitations and training as hard as possible I don’t think there is anyone better than Charlie. His approach to using the FMS within the context of a serious training environment has been highly influential on me and I truly believe that if you can grasp what Charlie is saying with regard to lateralizing your best training program and then properly select the training methods to influence the physiological system you are looking to target, you can truly create a monster.

What is a Lateralization?

To lateralize basically means you side-step but you are still on the same level whereas a regression is not a side step, but more a step back (going back a level) in order to then go forward in the future once things are normalized.

In this DVD Charlie does a great job setting up his approach and philosophy to movement, which is a blending of many different movement teachers and at the top of the list is FMS/Gray Cook and DNS/Pavel Kolar. Charlie’s approach is to show you that even when there is movement limitation training can still be intense if one choose the proper lateralizations and the appropriate exercises/drills to concurrently address the limitation while training hard.

An example would be an athlete who lacks ankle dorsiflexion. Perhaps the training program calls for:

1) Power Clean 5×3
2) Squat 4×53) Bench Press 4×5
4) 1-arm Row 4×5

For the athlete who lacks ankle dorsiflexion it probably isn’t wise to challenge that limitation with heavy loads on the spine or while trying to catch a clean. Thus, you may choose to lateralize the movement to something like a KB swing in place for the power clean and a rack pull or high handle trap bar DL for the squat. Now the athlete is able to train hard and while they train hard we are concurrently working with the medical professional on staff (or who we refer out to) to address the ankle dorsiflexion limitation with manual therapy as well as specific movement drills (which can also be used within the warm up and between exercises to further address the limitation).

In this way, everyone – strength and conditioning and sports medicine – are working together to do their part to ensure that the athlete gets what they need. Additionally, if we apply a test – train/treat – re-test approach then we are always re-testing the athlete to ensure we are making progress and once the limitation is cleaned up the athlete can begin to integrate back into the other movements (cleans, squats, etc) in a logical and progressive manner. In this way, we can begin with some regression of cleans (IE, clean pulls or 1-arm DB snatch where the athlete wont drop as low into the squat) and squats (KB goblet squat, DB KB Front Squat, etc).

The goal is to choose the correct exercise for the athlete and understand the continuum along which to train. Know when to lateralize, know when to regress, and know when to call in the manual therapist to help address limitations more specifically.

Putting it together with training methods

As I stated in the previous article and as I always mention in my lectures, after doing our full assessment I always start by first asking myself, “What sort of fitness changes do I need to bring about in this individual (IE, strength, conditioning, power, speed, etc) and what training methods will allow me to do this?” Once I have selected our fitness goals and the training method(s) that we will use in a given training block I then select my exercises. As Charlie would say, “Just lateralize your best training program”. Thus, whatever training methods I use I can simply alter the exercises based on the individual’s movement needs and work to gain fitness while we also work to improve their limitation(s), all the while re-testing to ensure we are getting what we want and making progress.

Lateralizations & Regressions is a must have for any strength coach, athletic trainer, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc. The DVD presents the logic and thoughts inside of Charlie’s head and will help you begin to understand multiple components of the training process and how what you do (whatever your skill set is) blends in with the other professionals on the team so that we can all work together to help develop athletes.

Click HERE to check out the DVD.