Train your Anterior and Posterior Oblique Slings for Power, Speed and Performance


More and more athletes today tend to be frontally loaded, which means that most of the work of starting and stopping is done by the more “obvious” muscles…the quadriceps, the calves and even the knee and ankle joints. In order for athletes to discover true athletic power, we must untap the potential of the body’s “sling” systems.

The Posterior Oblique Sling (POS) and the Anterior Oblique Sling (AOS), are responsible for force closure and stability in our bodies. When we do not train them at all, the body compensates to help us perform whatever movement we’re asking of it, by activating different muscle groups whose primary job is NOT twisting turning, running or walking. “Look around the gym, and most of what you see are straight-ahead movements — pressing, pulling, lunging.” “In real life, though, we twist and turn all the time. Driving a car, opening a door, even sitting with crossed legs all involve some degree of twisting in the spine,” says Erika Mundinger, DPT, OCS, a physical therapist who focuses on orthopedics and sports medicine in Minneapolis.

By practicing turning movements in the gym, she notes, “we’re less likely to get hurt when rotational movements come up outside the gym.”

For athletes, it is essential to promote the activation of the body’s ‘sling’ systems in order take the load off the quads, calves, knee joints in ankles and transfer it to the systems that are designed to carry that load.

How does being too frontally loaded affect athletes? It causes them to have a quad heavy walk or to use their calf muscles, knees and ankles as primary force producers when walking or running. The result is pulled hamstrings, knee injuries, tight or torn calf muscles and ankle and foot problems. The POS and AOS allow the body to produce more force to be used in acceleration as well as well as provide the power for our “braking” system…deceleration.

Check out some basic training progressions for your Posterior and Anterior Oblique Slings. Click “Learn More” below. - Coach Art