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Why Powerlifters Don’t Move Laterally

Morgan coaching Hannah on lateral movement (Hannah doing it)

As most physical therapists will tell you, powerlifters typically do not demonstrate great multidirectional movement skills. Why would they?

Training for any sport is all about specificity.

The goal of a powerlifter is to squat, deadlift or bench press more weight. Their training reflects this and as a result, they become better at those lifts. Any movement qualities that do not contribute to helping perform in these lifts are likely to suffer because they are not useful to the sport.

In fact, any unnecessary movement may be detrimental to their sport because it takes energy away from what is most important.

One way to prevent unnecessary movements from occurring is to reduce the capability of doing so in the first place!

Elite level powerlifters often do not even possess the prerequisite movement capabilities to efficiently move laterally.  That wouldn’t be helpful to their performance!

The highest level of performance in any sport often requires physiological adaptations that set the body up for the greatest level of success in that specific activity. Many times, this means that unrelated movement capabilities will diminish.

While this is helpful for short term performance, when taken too far, a reduction in movement options can increase the risk for injury. A lack of movement capabilities results in a limited number of ways the body can minimize physical stress.

How do we know that the body has lost too many movement options? Overuse injuries begin to accumulate, and signs of discomfort start to present themselves.

The best solution for any athlete looking to improve their performance in particular sport is to visit a professional that can assess their capabilities and personal risk profile. Our team of Doctors of Physical Therapy at Cohen Health and Performance specializes in just that.

Contact us today to learn more!

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