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Little Movements Make Great Changes



Kaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.


My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. I remember when my brother asked to play contact sports, my father agreed, but said, “You will have to train that neck.” Shortly afterwards a neck machine appeared about 8 feet from our living room couch.

“Little Movements Make Great Changes””…..he said

My Dad said this to me when I was running track, “Little movements cause great changes, make the little stuff count.”

BookWhen I first started hurdling, I had a lazy trail leg. I didn’t have to bring it very far to make my step over the hurdle quicker, and lower my time. Of course, this took years to perfect, but the results were clear: small movements make great changes.

When my brother began neck training on our neck machine, my father also showed him an exercise for scapula retraction. He said, “KC, you need to include Kelso and Hise shrugs in your neck routine.”

He marched KC down the steps to the downstairs lat machine, I followed. Dad showed KC this little shrug movement that made me laugh; it seemed so silly.

He had my brother keep his arms straight and and try to pinch his scapula together, “Retraction” he called it. “Keep your arms straight. Now squeeze. Again squeeze. I began to giggle and crack jokes.” Dad got mad and went to his library, in what we call the. ‘gun room.’ You know the exercise-for-your-arms room. He threw KC this book, “Kelso’s Shrugs”. “Read it,” he said.

Materials exhibiting characteristics that are both solid and fluid-like, are simply categorized as viscoelastic materials. Most of the biological tissues, such as your muscle tendon unit, and ligaments, are viscoelastic materials. The human head-neck system is a fluid-filled spherical cavity supported by a viscoelastic neck.

Viscoelastic materials possess time dependent, or rate sensitive stress-strain relations. In other words, the stress-strain relationship will change as the loading speed, or strain rate, changes. The goal in a collision is to deflect and dissipate force, and effect the strain rate. Building up the size of the cylinder, that is, the upper neck muscles, is only part of the goal.

Strengthening the muscles that run down the cervical and thoracic spine, the rhomboids major and minor, middle and lower traps, are all tremendously important. Therefore, scapula retraction is a must-exercise for the dissipation of a deflected force. Remember, it’s not easy being in head-on collisions.

Now that I am older, and have been in athletics, I don’t giggle when KC is doing his tiny lifts.

“Little Movements Make Great Changes”…..he said

G Force deflection and dissipation exercises for the cervical spine:

(1)Front of the neck

(2)Right side of the neck

(3)Left Side of the neck

(4)Back of the neck


(6)Scapula retraction

(7)Hise shrugs. (KC does these on our Pendulum Squat Pro; it is in the garage. Dad asked if he could put it in my bedroom…seriously!)

My Dad says, “Do not contact me.” So I can’t address your comments.

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