bodyweight mobility

ROLLING PATTERNS FOR ROTATION

Rolling is a fundamental movement we all learned how to do during neurodevelopment, it is the second milestone in neurodevelopment after head control.  Rolling combines the use of the upper extremities, core, and lower extremities in a coordinated manner to move from one posture to another. This is done from prone (face down) to supine (face up) and supine to prone. 

Rolling is commonly utilised in neurological rehabilitation but is just as important and effective in any rehabilitation programme, particularly for those who have dysfunction in rotational movements or who play rotational dominant sports.  It can be used as an assessment and it is also the corrective. There are several cues to help improve someone's rolling pattern and also regressions available.

It is a great method to assess for and correct inefficient movements that involve rotation of the trunk and body; weight shifting in the lower body; and coordinated movements of the head, neck, and upper body.

Upper limb rolling begins with the eyes and head moving in the transverse/rotational plane with the body being taken along for the ride - "where the eyes go the body will follow".  Rolling can be done either leading with the upper limb or lower limb, depending on your assessment findings and needs.

MOVEMENT...WHAT IT REALLY MEANS!

American Turner Gymnasium 1860

American Turner Gymnasium 1860

An online lecture I saw recently given by Dr Ed Thomas, an expert in the foundation of Physical Education, drove me to analyse what fitness is today in comparison to what it was historically.  Historically, there are three fundamentals of movement and fitness, these are Progression, Variety & Precision.  

Now from what I can tell and have observed over the years is that the majority of fitness enthusiasts seem to do well to take care of the Variety aspect of fitness, it's not hard to keep workouts varied.  Progression seems to be mostly adhered to, it's quite simple, you learn a movement to a satisfactory level until it becomes quite comfortable and then you progress that movement, either by adding weight, increasing reps or challenging the movement to a higher level of difficulty (i.e. advancing from a squat to a single leg squat progression).  Now, I have to take a pause here, although progression seems to be quite evident in most fitness programmes, there is a little issue that is quite niggling…this would be the over-eagerness to progress.  This is a huge issue that is present within our field, you may have someone who is recently able to squat their own bodyweight comfortably but then wants to throw 40kgs onto their back and continue to squat, or a personal trainer who wants to make a client sweat more by handing them heavier weights resulting in a less precise movement pattern.  You can't expect the body to move as efficiently with extra load in a movement pattern that is newly learned with only bodyweight or that is challenging enough with the current weight used.  This brings me to the third and final (and I personally believe the most important) fundamental...Precision.

We need to find a way back to basics and get the population moving well and precisely again, we are so far away from our own mind-body connection that most people just go through the motions of exercise without ever making a conscious connection to how they are moving, why they are moving or how they are breathing.  There was no sloppiness in movement back in the 1800's & most of the 1900's, precision was the key focus and the fitness just followed.

functional movement personal trainer gold coast.jpg

In Gray Cook's book, "Movement", he talks about the origins of Martial Arts and sums up what fitness should and used to be.  Somehow recent generations have managed to distort this approach and turn it on it's back.  Current jobs and lifestyles have a huge role to play and make it hard for the body to hold onto fundamental physical fitness, but not impossible by far!  "Purposeful movement perfection was the focus, and physical conditioning happened as a natural side effect".

primal movement personal trainer.jpg

Modern day gyms are stacked full of equipment promoting dysfunctional movement.  The use of fixed machines encourage your body not to utilise it's core stabilising musculature and instead, rely on your large, global muscles for movement.  In our daily lives we need to be able to squat, lunge, push, pull, reach, run, bend and rotate, all done whilst fighting gravity (not sitting locked into a machine).  This is when our bodies are moving as intended.  These are the movements we need to perfect and do with precision in order to be healthy, fit individuals avoiding injury.

Look at gyms from ancient times and see if you can spot a hamstring curl, a pec deck or a leg extension machine anywhere?  They only use anti-gravity equipment in the form of ropes, rings, parallel bars, ladders etc and hand weights in the shape of dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls and clubs.

Train functional movement patterns and make sure you do it with Precision, Variety & Progression in order to achieve true fitness.  Don't rush into a new movement before you have perfected its predecessor and don't load up a movement pattern before being comfortable and strong enough in doing it body weighted first.

The Pistol Squat

The pistol squat is a great bodyweight skill to challenge balance; coordination; flexibility & strength.  It also never lies and will show up any asymmetries in the lower complex.  

I have been re-visiting pistol squats (this video was taken a couple of months ago) after neglecting them for quite some time.  I had to first work them off the bench to warm up into the movement before getting back into full depth.  They still need a fair bit of greasing but if pistol squats are a goal for you I would make sure that you first have the necessary mobility (or start working to improve what you have) and work your strength in a regular squat in addition to exploring the pistol squat.  I like the use of a bench as a regression as you get some feedback of your depth and still ensuring you are gradually working depth within a strong foundation through the foot.

There are many ways to work your pistol squat, here is a great article from GMB with their view on how to work a pistol squat, with advice on regressions and progressions.

 

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What Is Animal Flow?

In this video Animal Flow creator Mike Fitch demonstrates what the "flow" in Animal Flow is all about.

Animal Flow® combines ground-based movement with elements from various bodyweight-training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasising multi-planar, fluid movement. 

It is great for improving mobility and core strength.  It can be applied to all levels of fitness although it does require a fair bit of load on the wrists but as long as you do not have any restrictions in wrist mobility your wrists can build up to accepting the load over time with the help of a good warm up and slowly building up the amount you do in each session.

At moov personal trainers we like to incorporate Animal Flow into most of our workouts, including our groups training, whether it be one movement or a few.  I have found them to be extremely effective in positively effecting our fascial system.

Have a read of a review on Animal Flow by the lovely Ryan Hurst at GMB...just follow this link.

 

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Moov Into Flexibility Video
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The Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-Up (TGU), one of my favourite movements as it requires & improves mobility; stability; strength; cross lateralisation (right brain communicating with left brain); proprioception; balance AND it feels great to do!

A client of mine who had previously been training in a group setting elsewhere had been told that she couldn’t partake in the TGU portion of the class as she was unable to do them properly. The TGU was one of her goals working with me so we started by breaking down the separate components of the TGU and teaching her brain to learn each phase of the movement using only her bodyweight.  At the start she struggled with the initial phase of the TGU (going from lying on your back to propped up on your elbow).  This phase requires good reflexive stability through both the Anterior Oblique Sling & Posterior Oblique Sling (Anterior - adductors; same side internal oblique; opposite external oblique & pec minor. Posterior - Lat; Thoracolumbar fascia; opposite side Glut Max).

The TGU predominantly utilises the transverse plane (rotation), taking my client back to basics by retraining rolling patterns significantly improved her initial phase of the Get-Up within the same session.  We spent  as long as we needed, dedicating about 5-10 minutes of each session, practising the Get-Up until I was happy she was moving smoothly enough to progress onto the next phase.  All the other movements chosen for our workout session were geared at feeding the Get-Up.

Now she is able to power through the whole TGU from ground to standing with more fluidity and ease of movement.  This is a great milestone for her progression! It also translates over to life, as she has been feeling a lot more flexible and stronger in her day to day life, which for us at moov pt, is more important than anything else! 

Being able to assess WHY someone is struggling through a certain phase of any movement and having the ABILITY to apply movement correctives to ENABLE that person to access that phase more efficiently is what we are about at moov pt.  Tapping into someone's motor control system to make positive change takes KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE along with an extensive library of corrective exercises.  

If you are trying to achieve a complex movement, make sure you break it down into it's individual parts and spend as much time needed on each component to give your brain a chance to learn what you are trying to achieve.