For the uninitiated on what the Postural Restoration Institute’s (PRI) philosophy entails, my journey down the figurative rabbit hole began at an internship at Cressey Performance. Green behind the ears, I stood there and did my best to absorb what the philosophy of these strange positional breathing exercises provided for the athlete and client.
Fast forward one year (time flies when you’re hustling), and PRI is a common household acronym that we throw around here at Endeavor Sports Performance.
For the uninitiated, PRI benefits can be derived as such:
Due to the functional and structural schematics that the body naturally has (heart to the left, liver on the right lower abdominal wall, larger size and more crural attachments of the diaphragm on the right side, among many other landmarks), our bodies will likewise shift to one side easier. To extrapolate the idea to a strength and conditioning program (and in reality, even a general population mindset), but increasing volume on top of a “dysfunction” will exacerbate the dysfunction. (I believe Gray Cook has talked about that idea).
As an amateur athlete competing in powerlifting…
…and as a coach who values the integrity of the human body in all of its complexities, PRI has value to me on a personal and professional level for several reasons:
- It reduces muscular tonicity through the systemic oxygenation that techniques associated with full diaphragmatic breathing can elicit.
- Specific positional drills and stretches can activate often “sleepy” muscle beds through the facilitation of key muscle groups, and through reciprocal inhibition via the length-tension relationship that muscular beds can exhibit.
- Indirectly, it allows an often hypertonic athlete or client, who may feel anxiety due to pressures to succeed, sports, life, etc. to slow down and as a result of increased diaphragmatic breathing, reduction in sympathetic drive, and reduction of an increased heart rate due to this, among many other associated effects.
- As a coach, it allows me to clear specific movement patterns that are analogous to pain and/or movement dysfunction. (Not claiming that I clear pain, but rather I clear movement patterns via specific exercise drills.)
- Also it has the ability to restore neutrality in sporting endeavors that require such extreme positions within the hips, shoulders, etc. This bears significance because if pushed too far down one end of the continuum of patterning and all of the above benefits are not pursued, then the soft tissue can reach an overuse threshold that much faster.
- To take a page out of powerlifting, it allows a deeper appreciation for the role that the diaphragm takes when aiming to stabilize under heavy loads relative to the athlete’s stabilization strategy.
I’m sure there are a few points that I’m missing as well, not to mention just the refresher on anatomy that is given.
In all, PRI has several great benefits to understanding and at the very least, appreciating and not immediately throwing under the bus (unlike someone’s obsession with everything anti-Tracey Anderson), and I will hopefully continue to take this journey further down the rabbit hole.
With that off of my chest, I’d like to point out that Endeavor Sports Performance is hosting a weekend seminar on Postural Respiration on October 12-13, 2013 in Pitman, NJ (20 min outside of Philadelphia), and if I recall correctly, this could perhaps be one of the main courses that is the metaphorical centerpiece of PRI’s body of work (see what I did there? ;o) ).
The weekend’s itinerary will look something like this:
- 6:30-7am: Smash eggs omelette (invite only; my house).
- 8am: Begin PRI (Intro and Anatomy Review)
- 8:22am: Co-worker (or myself) will somehow draw blood from the sheer intensity of the review.
- 12pm: Break for Lunch.
- 4 or 5pm: Dinner and/or brews.
- 8am: Hop right into movements, testing, and case studies etc.
- 12pm: Find out how I can compensate and cheat every test!
- 5pm: Sleep from overdosing on functional anatomy.
All jokes aside, even with its relatively new following, PRI has value whether you are a personal trainer, strength coach, athletic trainer, physical therapist, manual therapist, and/or chiro.
For more information, check here for more PRI goodies.
Keep it funky.