The Radcliffe Group Philosophy for the Elite Sporting Environment

The Effects of Neural Flossing and Muscle Activation on Key Clinical Outcome Measures for Injury Prevention


The prevalence of injuries in football is a significant problem for players and their clubs, resulting in thirty percent of player absences according to The Football Research Group (1). With injuries being so common, there is extensive research into injury prevention strategies. The literature historically proposes a four-step injury prevention model as a reference point for sports injury prevention programs as suggested by Van Mechelen, et al.(2). This includes establishing the injury incidence; understanding the aetiology and mechanism; introducing a preventative measure and assessing its effectiveness (2). With implementing an efficient injury prevention programme, it will have a positive effect upon injury rates, training attendance and match availability. Availability is winnability in the elite sporting environment.

Testing Approach

The Radcliffe Group Philosophy was developed from the application of knowledge from different medical disciplines and physiotherapy professionals who have been at the forefront of elite human performance for over 20 years (3). Testing protocols implemented by Damian Roden to establish injury incidence and a aetiology as documented in Fit For Every Game (4) include, but are not limited too:

Sit and Reach Test

  • The sit-and-reach test is a quick and simple way to measure the lower back and hamstring muscles. The test is important because tightness in this area can have a detrimental effect on performance and increase the risk of injury (4).

Knee to Wall Test

  • The knee-to-wall test is a quick and simple way to measure a player’s ankle mobility / calf flexibility. It is a great indicator of previous ankle issues and helps a coach to identify players at sudden risk of muscle/ligament or joint issues (4).


Knee Flexion Test

  • The knee flexion test, using a handheld dynamometer, is an efficient method of measuring quadricep strength at the knee joint. It is important to assess the specific strength of the quadriceps due to their role in kicking actions (4).

Hip Extension Test

  • The hip extension test, using a handheld dynamometer, is a quick and easy way of measuring both Glute and hamstring strength. It is important to assess the overall strength of these muscles because they are placed under excessive load during football actions such as sprinting (4).

This testing battery assessed medical readiness on a daily basis to understand the players ability to tolerate training load on a given day. Every player will respond differently to both training and matches, depending on factors such as: intensity, travel, play position, environment, importance of the game, the match result, etc. As a result, measuring these key clinical outcomes highlight any significant difference to the players data.

The introduction of the Radcliffe Group Philosophy as a preventative measure for injury has been influential for several players, clubs and other athletes. The core concepts involve approaching players globally as individuals; with the main philosophy on Restrictions, Mobility, Core, Glutes and Functionality being approved by senior research officials at Leeds University.

This philosophy was integrated and developed by Matthew Radcliffe whilst at Southampton Football Club with the club having 93% availability for all players within the first team between 2011-2015, this was the best availability in the league at the time. More recently, this testing process was a prominent feature in Seattle Sounders Major League Soccer (MLS) championship winning season in 2019 whilst Damian Roden was Director of High Performance. The club’s success coincided with having the best player availability in the league due to the implementation of this philosophy. Thus, showing the significant impact that the Radcliffe Group Philosophy has on injury prevention and performance at the elite level.



Research conducted through the University of Cumbria alongside the Radcliffe Group identified that the reformer based neural flossing and muscle activation routine improved performance in outcome measures for injury prevention as suggested by Damian Roden (4). There were statistically significant improvements in the outcome measures for the sample population (4) and other individuals have benefitted from the intervention clinically at the Radcliffe Group. The protocol can be adapted to meet individual needs using an evidence based approach to maximise the benefits of the intervention. Therefore, it can be concluded that the application of the Radcliffe Group Philosophy in the elite sporting environment is highly advantageous for injury prevention and performance improvements.

Authors – Matt Radcliffe, Mark Radcliffe, Damian Roden, Jake Threadgold, Jac Lloyd, Steve Watson.

In Affiliation – with Radcliffe Group, Cheshire, UK. and University of Cumbria, Cumbria, UK.

Competing interests – There are no competing interests for any author. This is a documentation of a philosophy implemented by the Authors within a sports and clinical setting.



If you would like to find out more about how we can help you through an injury and use the Radcliffe Group Philosophy to continue to train and come back stronger, contact us today!

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