Range of motion is a critical element of movement. If you can’t get into a position, it will be difficult or impossible to incorporate that into a movement. Tom Barton has worked as a physiotherapist with some of the world’s top swimmers. He joins this week’s GAINcast to look at how the brain and body interact to reach positions, training range of motion, and other related topics.
Notes and quotes
Tom Barton is the director of the Health Collab in Queensland, Australia. There he works as a physiotherapist, yoga teacher, and trainer. He has worked as a physiotherapist with the Australian National Swim Team, and currently assists Singapore. He has also developed the innovative Q Swim app. This episode started by discussing his general approach to understanding the body, and then dove into specific training issues and how he would look at them.
Understanding the body and movement
- 6:00 – Barton’s background as an athlete and physiotherapist, and his path to working with swimming
- 9:00 – Yoga: “If you can’t get into a shape on land, you won’t be able to get into it in the water. “
- 15:30 – Corrective exercises and analyzing athletes.
- 19:30 – The brain, neurology, and coordination.
- 22:30 – Letting the body do what it is designed to do.
Specific training topics
- 26:45 – Range of motion: “Never sacrifice range of motion for resistance. Skill in range of motion and control of range in motion are essential components to any high level swimmer. “
- 28:30 – Neck strengthening and range of motion: “If you’re CNS is worried about the position your head is in, it is going to get stiff and protect that. Tightness and weakness go along together. If you try to turn your head to the right and your muscles tighten up, that is a CNS issue saying that those muscles aren’t strong enough and your brain perceives that as a dangerous position.”
- 37:30 – Breathing and performance: “If athletes can’t breath in a position, they don’t own the position. We work from static positions on land, to dynamic positions on land, then starting to think about what happens in the water. “
- 42:30 – Looking at the future of sport.
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- You can learn more about Barton on the Health Collab website. You can also check out his Q Swim app, or read a bit about it here.
- The project in Signapore is under the guidance of coach Stephan Widmer, who was a guest on GAINcast 110. Singapore-based coach developer Troy Engle was also a guest on GAINcast 143.
- Swimming has also been covered on many episodes, such as GAINcast 52 with the Carmel Swim Club, GAINcast 75 with Michigan’s Jim Richardson, GAINcast 29 with Tennessee’s Matt Kredich, and GAINcast 66 with top club coach Chris Webb. We’ve also had swimming S&C coach Nick Folker as a guest on HMMR Podcast Episode 53.
- We have had guests from physiotherapy and athletic training on GAINcast 45 with Randy Ballard, GAINcast 49 with Bill Knowles, and GAINcast 141 with Ed Ryan.
- For more on yoga, listen to GAINcast 25 with Steve Myrland.