Asymmetry doesn't matter?
There were many people jumping on the Usain Bolt "asymmetry doesn't matter" train in the last few weeks after all the discussion on his scoliosis and leg power differentials. Now nothing but silence.
We think asymmetry matters, and we wrote about it all last week.
What if Bolt were just a little more symmetrical ? Would he have been a little faster ? Is Gatlin faster or just more symmetrical ? Lucky race? I bet Gatlin doesn't think so or care, nor does Coleman. LOL. Fuel for the fire. We will stand our ground however.
We are not pointing fingers or picking on anyone, fact of the matter is we love the good debates that have been going on. That is where the learning occurs. We are always happy to be wrong, as long as we leave a debate smarter than when we went in to it.
Addendum worth adding here (from comments below):
Eric A Johnson , asymmetry is the law/rule. How much is too much? No one can answer that. But if we drive a patient towards less asymm and they don't have pain, injury incidence reduces, their chronic complaint becomes less of issue or resolves, or if performance improves...... then maybe, just maybe, their asymmetry mattered. #noguarantees #wishwecouldclone #crystalballs
And . . . if Bolt had won, everyone would be just saying that more proof that asymmetry is ok, ignore asymmetries in your clients.
Fact of the matter is, as we said in our post, that asymmetries are the norm, the rule of law, but that does not mean that asymmetries are not an issue in some people and some athletes. When is an asymmetry too much that it poses an injury risk or a performance loss ? No one knows until we can clone people, but there is a tipping point in everyone where it is just plainly too much to risk. That is the point of the discussion.
So, we are glad Gatlin and Coleman beat Bolt. Only because an older guy beat the King are we having this discussion, thankfully. Which is really what matters here, the discussion, instead of defending ones flag because of one journal article that has a big unknown hanging over it.
We have acquired the asymmetry study below.
We hope to have something to share that helps in the asymmetry dialogue. The authors did quote "To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to present the magnitude of asymmetry in sprinters with mean maximal velocity >10 ms-1 " So anyone hanging their hat on one study should consider pulling back on the reigns a little before planting their flag. More research needs to be done.
To clarify our stance, since it became clear in the ensuing debate yesterday that our perspective was not well postured, that we are talking about physical biomechanical asymmetries in muscle strength, power, endurance, skill and torsional issues, functional leg length differences, etc. Not performance asymmetries that may result from these asymmetries. We apologize for our lack of clarity, we all at times assume that others we debate with know what angle we are jousting from, hence why debate is good, to clarify all the factors and find some better answers and common (or uncommon) ground.
We also will assume that most of those debating yesterday from the article's perspective, had likely not read the article either since it was just released and is a fee-based paper.
For those wondering, here were the variables looked at:
"The following variables were included in analyses;
step length, step rate, contact time , aerial time, touchdown angle (for the stance leg), knee separation (assessed as inter-thigh angle) at touchdown, lift-off angle, thigh - and knee angle at lift-off (for the stance leg), maximal thigh flexion, range of thigh motion, rear knee flexion at maximal thigh extension, and horizontal ankle velocity (of the lateral malleolus marker for the soon -to -be stance foot) relative to CoM"
Our stance would be, based off our comments previously, if these things were asymmetrical, could driving the client toward greater symmetry, result in better outcome performance. That was and is, our thought experiment.
This was a dialogue we had recently and we have been messaged on it numerous times. Don't get too rigid in your beliefs, it might come back to bite you (that goes for us too). It is best we all keep our eyes and minds open. Science moves forward, so don't plant your flag so far in the ground that you can't pull it up when the landscape of knowledge moves the frontline further ahead.
Research has not yet provided all the answers to all our questions in the study of the human frame. There are plenty of studies we have all found that are flawed, so we are not going to always agree with research, research is a starting place, a foundation work from, but things change and they change fast sometimes . . . . just because something has not been validly proven yet (or disproven) in research doesn't mean it is not going to be nor does that proposed thought not deserve deeper thought . . . learning doesn't stop at the end of the pen of a researcher who may know a little less on a topic than others. Just because there is a published journal article on a topic doesn't necessarily make it a reliable paper or make it law or a template we must all embrace or "forever hold our peace". Challenging the present facts and knowledge doesn't necessarily always make it "bro science" either.
Question everything while working from a present day base of knowledge. And be ok with being called a bro, it can a compliment , sometimes, and sometimes not by those who may be feeling uncomfortable that their belief system may be quivering in uncertainty from some new paradigms in thought.