I've written about this before, but I can seem to say it enough....if you aren't happy with your career, change it! I did several years ago and I've never looked back. Going from insurance agent to working in triathlon was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I get to live my sport through work and play and what could be better than that??? As most of you that read know, I coach triathletes in swim stroke technique here locally and on our triathlon camps. I love coaching very much and will continue to coach, but last year, I decided that I wanted to help athletes even more and in a different way... so I began my studies in Biomechanics. Next comes NMT, then ART and lastly taping! What are all of these things??
I'll start with Biomechanics. Sport and Exercise Biomechanics encompasses the area of science concerned with the analysis of mechanics of human movement. In other words it is the science of explaining how and why the human body moves in the way that it does. In sport that definition is often extended to also consider the interaction between the performer and his or her equipment and environment. The following are the some examples of the areas where Biomechanics is applied to either support performers or solve issues in sport or exercise:
- The identification of the optimal technique for enhancing sports performance
- The analysis of body loading to determine the safest method for performing a particular sport or exercise task
- The assessment of muscular recruitment and loading
- The analysis of sport and exercise equipment e.g., shoes, surfaces etc.
The more effective your body biomechanics are, the less energy you will expend, and the better your body will perform. Subtle or gross changes in the physiology of an athlete's body can have tremendous impact on the time and effort required to perform an activity. As a biomechanics specialist, I can work to help improve an athlete's performance in his or her chosen sport. Basically...I will be helping athletes do what they do...but better.
Next comes the Neuromuscular Program that I will start in January. This will be a 600 hour, full time, intensive, scrub wearing program where I will learn skills needed to treat athletes with soft tissue injuries. A therapist trained in NMT is educated in the physiology of the nervous system and it's effects on the muscular and skeletal systems and is also educated in kinesiology and biomechanics. So what is it? NMT is the utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. It manipulates the soft tissues (muscles,tendons, connective tissue) of the body to balance the central nervous system. It is used to address five elements that cause pain...
- Ischemia- Lack of blood supply to soft tissues which causes hypersensitivity to touch.
- Trigger Points-Highly irritated points in muscles which refer pain to other parts of the body
- Nerve Compression or Entrapment-Pressure of nerve from soft tissue, cartilage, or bone.
- Postural Distortion-Imbalance of the muscular system resulting from movement of the body off the longitudinal and horizontal planes
- Biomechanical Dysfunction-Imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting in faulty movement patterns such as bad mechanics in run technique, swim technique, etc.
ART! No, I'm not going to drawing school. This one is better....Active Release Technique. If you race Rev3 or Ironman races, you should know this one, or if you watched the Ironman World Championships you may have seen athletes whisked away at the finish by people wearing ART shirts! An ART practitioner can be an athletes best friend! ART is an innovative soft tissue system used to treat a wide spectrum of problems in regard to muscular components. It is helpful in treating conditions such as back pain, headaches, knee problems, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, illiotibial band syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain etc. by utilizing various techniques. Since these problems are often the results of muscle over-use, this technique is usually quite effective in reducing or completely relieving these conditions. Because scar tissue tends to build up and restrict tissues that need mobility, muscles are shortened and weakened. When this occurs, tendon tension spawns tendinitis, causing trapped nerves. ART therapy allows increased range of motion, improved strength, and relief of pain caused by these problems. With over 500 particular movements, this therapy is unique as it enables practitioners to discover and treat specific health issues effecting patients. Once certified, I would like to become an Ironman ART Provider and work at some of the Ironman and Rev3 events when I'm not racing.
Lastly, I will also be working towards certification as a Kinesio Taping Practitioner. Again, if you are an athlete reading...you will likely know this one. I'm sure you've seen athletes taped up at many races this year but why? Kinesio Taping gives support and stability to your joints and muscles without affecting circulation and range of motion and the method basically stems from the science of Kinesiology. The taping technique is based on the body’s own natural healing process. The technique exhibits its efficacy through the activation of neurological and circulatory systems. Muscles are not only attributed to the movements of the body but also control the circulation of venous and lymph flows, body temperature, etc. Rather than “strap down” the muscle, the philosophy is to give free range of motion and allow the body’s own muscular system to heal itself bio-mechanically. As a triathlete, kinesio taping was a lifesaver for me this summer while in Ironman training! I sported the RockTape (thanks Greg @ Rocktape) for plantar fasciitis nearly all summer and it really helped! So this will be another way that I can help out my fellow athletes.
All of these things tie in together and will allow me to provide rehabilitative care for my fellow athletes. I'm pretty fortunate as well to have a wonderful mentor help me out along the way. She has been working on me and Rich for the last year and is super awesome! She has been the therapist for George Hincapie as well as many Olympians and I'm thrilled to have her help.
As you can see 2012 will be a slamming year for me. Between all of the school, our triathlon camps and racing on the Rev3 team, I'm sure to be a VERY busy girl. I am very lucky to be able to work in the sport that I so dearly love and now not only do I get to coach athletes, but I will be able to help them to recover and race better as well. I even have one pro triathlete already on my waiting list ;)