HARTMANN - international

Articles

Injury Treatment, Prevention, Performance Systems

Nike Seminar, Amsterdam May 2004

For the past 15 years I have had the opportunity as a Physical Therapist to work with many of the great athletes of world athletics. This includes some 39 Olympic medallists, numerous world champions and world record holders.

From the world of sprinting I have had the pleasure to work with Colin Jackson, Linford Christie (GB), Frankie Fredricks (Namibia), Mark McKoy (Canada), Mark Lewis Francis, Jason Gardner (GB), Kathy Freeman (Australia), to name a few.

From middle distances and distance running I have worked with Olympic 1,500m champions Nouradinne Morcelli (Algeria) and Noah Ngeny (Kenya) along with world record holders Moses Kiptanui (Kenya), Daniel Komen (Kenya), William Sigei (Kenya), Grete Waitz (Norway), Liz McColgan (Scotland), Sonia O'Sullivan (Ireland), Eamonn Coghlan (Ireland), Paula Radcliffe (GB), Khalid Khannouchi (USA), Elana Meyer (RSA).

Other champion athletes who I have worked extensively with include Bob Kennedy (USA), Suzy Hamilton (USA), Domingos Castro (Portugal), Paulo Guerro (Portugal).

I have worked with and prepared athletes who won the following city marathons, New York marathon x 2, The Boston Marathon x 2, Chicago marathon x 6, Tokyo x 1, Paris marathon x 1, Rotterdam marathon x 2, Dublin marathon x 3 and seven individual winners of the London marathon including 2002 winners Khalid Khannouchi (world record) and Paula Radcliffe (2 hr 18m 56)

In working with world class athletes for the past 15 years I developed two systems

1. A TREATMENT SYSTEM FOR INJURED PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES

2. AN ADVANCED PERFORMANCE SYSTEM FOR INTERNATIONAL AND WORLD CLASS ATHLETES DESIGNED TO OPTIMISE THEIR TALENTS TO ACHIEVE RECORD BREAKING PERFORMANCES

The two systems evolve hand in hand and as I worked with more and more champion athletes I added to my repertoire of skills to achieve results in resolving injuries and in helping athletes achieve peak performances.

I realized that two factors stopped athletes from achieving their potential
(1) Injury
(2) Immune system breakdown

In the late '80 and early '90 many of the top athletes came to me with serious debilitating injuries. These injuries cost them weeks or months out of their career and some had been out injured and away from international athletics for 2 to 3 years before coming to me.

Many athletes sustained injuries which jeopardised their careers and without proper intervention their competitive athletic career would have pre-maturely ended.

The treatment system which I developed entails that athletes receive very intensive therapy, mostly twice daily for between 9 to 21 days, six days per week to resolve their injuries. Many years ago I recognized that when top athletes got injured they received treatment two to three times per week and it often took weeks upon weeks to resolve their injuries. My treatment system of intensive daily physiotherapy ensures a speedy resolution of injury.

In conjunction with developing the Intensive Treatment System I recognized that there was a need to develop a system to prevent injury. What I developed is a system I term Hartmann Pre-habilitation. The system is designed to evaluate the musculoskeletal system to both prevent injury and enhance performance.

Essentially it involves initially conducting a kinesiological evaluation which evaluates the structural components of the high performance athlete.

In the evaluation I look for:
(1) Flexibility imbalances
(2) Strength imbalances
(3) Alignment - structural imbalances
(4) Biomechanical imbalances

Many athletes assume they can reach the top by training twice per day running only. With the athletes I work with I prescribe specific non-run training based on the outcome of the kinesiological evaluation which can take upwards of two hours per day to do. Core stability exercises are given to strengthen the stabilizing musculature. Plyometric exercises for improving the strength to power output. Balance exercises and agility exercises are administered to enhance proprioception and improve movement patterns.

An isolated stretching routine along with physical therapy, massage, cold baths are incorporated to increase flexibility and optimize recovery.

In conjunction with this unique systems of treating injured athletes and the pre-habilitation system designed for injury prevention and performance enhancement I take a special interest in the role nutrition has on the performance athlete.

With optimal nutrition we are attempting to achieve the following:

(1) Restore electrolytes
(2) Replenish glycogen
(3) Reduce muscle stress
(4) Rebuild muscle protein
(5) Strengthen the immune system

Many of the sports drinks on the market are inadequate. Most only contain ingredients such as carbohydrates and the electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium. I encourage the athletes I work with to take a sports drink which in addition to the benefits of re-hydration and enhanced energy is formulated to significantly improve performance by enhancing the insulin response to speed muscle glycogen replenishment. Scientific studies show that combining carbohydrates and protein in a 4 to 1 ratio enables endurance athletes to shift the energy dynamics during exercise resulting in improved energy production, sparing muscle glycogen and extending endurance in the later stages of competition.

In addition anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, E, the amino acids arginine and glutamine are used to speed recovery and prevent muscle soreness caused by free radical damage and breakdown of muscle tissue caused by intensive training and competition.

Taking a look at how optimal nutrition can impact performance one need look no further that at the recent London marathon (2002).

Paula Radcliffe consumed 8 drink bottles during the 26.2 mile event getting in 4 to 5 fluid ounces of liquid fuel per bottle. In total she ingested 34 to 40 fluid ounces. In her debut marathon she ran 2 hrs 18 minutes 56 seconds only 9 seconds off the world record. Amazingly she ran the last mile in 5 min 3 seconds and the second last mile in 5 min 7 seconds some approximate 14 seconds faster than multiple world record holder Haile Gebre - ran in the men's event.

Haile consumed water only during the event. In the later stages he depleted and his performance plummeted due to hypoglycemia. In effect he ran out of gas a tough but well earned lesson in his debut at the marathon.