The overhead squat is a coveted screen and assessment tool used by many in the fitness, strength community, and rehab worlds. Many live and die by this movement, and others do not place much priority on it. This combination will look at my own experiences and observations in the overhead squat, along with providing pragmatic application of exercises that will hopefully aim to improve your movement capacity in the squat.
There are many different ways to identify how to “score” the overhead squat – I choose to follow an FMS-based instruction towards the overhead squat, as it allows me an easier component towards bucketing and placing athletes in certain groups. Over my tenure at Cressey Sports Performance, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a relatively large amount of athletes, on top of providing an individual program to cater to their specific needs. This is an experience that is unique to this facility, because many times coaches can look at a large population of individuals, but cannot provide the individual instruction or exercise selection necessary in order to improve outcomes.
The numbers of adequate overhead squats were staggering – over 115 squats and only 12 (twelve) squatswere at industry standard. The other 103 squats were below standard or had other complications in their other movement patterns which limited the squat!
Those who scored “3’s” on the Overhead Squat were either young, relatively hyper mobile in comparison to their other peers (especially in the hip region), and interestingly, played multiple sports (more than just one sport such as only baseball).
Now the reasoning for a lack of ability to perform an overhead squat can be traced to several ideas:
Your joints don’t allow it.
Your tissue quality doesn’t allow appropriate lengthening and shortening in this movement.
You are unfamiliar with the movement.
Your brain is limiting you in some capacity due to pain, novelty of movement, or some other threat.
Your issue is not the squat – it is higher up in terms of movement patterns.
(With respect to the above, I’d like to assume that almost all of the individuals coming into CSP are pain free.)
If your joints don’t allow appropriate motion because of one hard structure bumping into another hard structure, that will be difficult to improve an overhead squatting motion to past 90° of hip flexion.
If your tissue quality is relatively dense and possibly fibrotic, well then that could limit your ability for your muscles to be pliable. Relatively less dense muscle quality can relate to improved neural connections as these drivers.
Many times individuals simply have no pre-conceived notion of what an appropriate squatting movement pattern consists of, so naturally their performance on the screen is limited or poor.
If your brain perceives threat in some manner, then perhaps changing levels at the hip joint will cause some type of input into the brain that says, “Don’t do this! It might hurt!” There are tons of ways to reduce threat (if you need to), so making sure you are in a positive environment (to take care of the psychological component), safe and appropriate environment and equipment (to take care of the physical component), along with using the right exercise for the right individual will hopefully take care of the issue of threat perception.
And finally, the overhead squat is in actuality, my least concern of a movement pattern from a screening perspective. There are actually several other movements that I’m more concerned about, on top of owning breathing, and more importantly several other athletic movement endeavors, such as skipping, shuffling, sprinting, throwing, etc.
The small parts of the overhead squat are actually addressed in detail in other movement patterns from another assessment process, other tests, and even screens. In this case, the small parts that comprise the bigger parts of the overhead squat are just that – mere minutia in the grand scheme of a total screening and assessment process.
Despite having a limited overhead squat pattern…
Will your athlete be successful in his or her sport?
Will your athlete still have immense amounts of force production capabilities?
Will your athlete be able to control other motoric movement patterns?
I’m not saying completely ignore the overhead squat, but placing an immense amount of priority on whether or not someone can perform well when screening for the overhead squat correctly is not a big deal.
To re-emphasize this for you, I’ve done over 115 formal assessments, and an unknown amount of informal assessments (for staff, interns, friends, etc) while only at CSP, and I’ve seen only 12 overhead squats that have gone for par.
That is only 10% of the individuals that have come through the doors, having an adequate standard of movement for one test (out of several movements that were also assessed and screened).
So 90% of the other population that I’ve assessed have had poor squat patterns.
This does not mean I exclude the squatting motion from their exercise program – it just gives me better information on how to address their specific and individual problems.
With ALL of this in mind, now I can introduce an exercise combination that I’ve found lots of success with, as it address several things all at once – a catch-all combination to use some cliche phrases.
Reverse Inchworm to Overhead Squat
This exercise catches a lot of things all at once:
Challenges anti-extension movement
Upward scapular rotation
As you sit back, it catches hip flexion
As you rock back into a squatting pattern, there is sensory input so you can find more ankle dorsiflexion
There is input as you rock back as well for great toe extension, which is crucial for acceleration and gait purposes
Prying Goblet Squat with Breathing
The next component in this exercise combination talks about:
Owning a position of deep hip flexion
Improving the activation of the hip external rotators as you rock the kettlebell/dumbbell up and down
On top of owning breathing patterns.
Programming for Building Up Your Squat
I refer to “building up your squat” because you are doing so from the ground up. First you have a movement pattern that forces you to move backwards – something that doesn’t happen too often in a commercial gym setting, and then own it with breathing and heavy weights.
If you’re programming this, you probably don’t need it too much to improve upon your squat. It’s like taking medicine, you don’t need a full week of over-the-counter medicine to improve symptoms, but maybe 2 days of it plus good sleep will do the trick.
Just like that analogy, maybe you only need a few days of this exercise combination in order to improve your movement patterns, instead of a full month or year of “corrective exercises!”
With this in mind, see how this feels in the beginning of your day, or at the beginning of your exercise program as follows:
Within the fitness, strength and conditioning industry, and physical therapy realm, there has been a recent surge towards identifying what assessments are, how they can be utilized, and how they can be implemented in a practical manner in order to derive best practice for athletes, clients, and patients.
From a logical standpoint, it merely makes sense – understand the standards to “test” for, test your individuals, and ideally have whatever your input – whether it is an exercise, treatment, or other modality – affect that individual in a (hopefully) positive manner (or at the very least maintain that movement quality).
However, there are a few items to cover that I want to define. Namely:
What makes an exercise “corrective” in nature?
What is dysfunctional?
What is an “input”?
Should fitness and S&C professionals have the ability to affect clients and athletes movement patterns?
What are we really “testing” when we perform movement assessments?
Prior to answering these questions, it is imperative to have these pieces of knowledge under your belts:
From the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), it is understood that it can be wisely utilized as a tool to “bucket” movements within a framework intended on screening individuals to exercise in a safe and efficient manner. One question that I associate with utilizing the FMS (I use this test often when screening athletes) comes from Charlie Weingroff, and it is, “Can your joints load and adapt to stress?”
The idea here is if you have an active straight leg raise (ASLR) score of a 1, you are achieving a specific range of motion through your hips, and it varies from person to person. Also, that individual is not imposing enough of a stimuli when asked in a specific manner to bring his or her leg up and back (not the actual words of the screen), that his or her score is now a “1”, instead of a “3”.
This discrepancy can be realized in the form of an asymmetry from limb to limb, from a lack of joint integrity (the head of the femur lacking posterior movement within the acetabulum), or from a lack of inhibition/activation of the posterior and/or anterior chain of the lower quarter.
Long story short, you should be able to bring your leg up to a reasonable degree without any discomfort before you can be lunging, squatting, deadlifting at full ranges of motion.
And the movement screens do not have to be reflective of only one methodology (FMS). I’m not married to one thought process – it merely happens to be well represented and explained by Charlie Weingroff, Dr. Greg Rose, and Gray Cook, so it is a system that I choose to utilize on a day to day basis.
Feel free to utilize Postural Restoration Institute assessments, and other physical therapy minded items in order to represent your thought processes and beliefs.
Inputs & Outputs
The next item involves understanding that the world we all live in provide various stimuli into our system (brain, our body, etc). On an unconscious and/or subconscious level, we all understand that our bodies are, for the most part, attached to the ground by two feet, or that we are laying in bed as we read this, or that the seat we are sitting in is plastic in nature (if you are sitting in a plastic chair of course).
In a more sensical manner, we don’t need to be consciously aware of how many breaths we are taking every minute – it just occurs. More realistically, on a subconscious level our brains interpret that we are often notin danger, and not in threat, so our breathing rates will reflect a more calm and relaxing manner.
There is an input that we are not in danger, so the output is a relaxing heart and breathing rate.
If this is not the case, we may begin hyperventilating in order to bring more oxygen stores to the related fight or flight organs that assist in treating this new danger, this new threat.
There is now a new input – that we are in danger, and our brain recognizes this – so the output is now no longer a relaxing heart rate, but rather an increased heart and breathing rate to reflect the new input.
So you see, there is a cause and effect that occurs from input to output – our body, our organs, our muscles and nerves, among many other items – are simply structures through which the brain imposes a demand upon.
Lifting a heavy weight? Cool. Your brain interprets something heavy in your hands, so you need to activate motor units in order to fire up the muscles used in order to lift said weight – all on an unconscious level.
The Salient Stimulus
I admittedly came across this information by reading and talking with a physical therapist named Zac Cupples (who has a fantastic website in its own regard). What is a salient stimuli? Essentially it is…
“A salient stimulus is something that stands out relative to the background. The intensity is irrelevant; the key is how different the input is. These inputs can occur within the body or the environment.”
This idea helped me to detach my previous thoughts of how some modalities that we all know to be archaic in nature (e-stim for example) can still be helpful for our clients/athletes/patients because if it is new to the individual, perhaps there is an input that is being provided to this person on a subconscious level that allows them to relax.
If those individuals are in pain, maybe they need to listen to a soothing voice to relax their pain receptors in their body.
If those individuals are unable to move well, maybe they need to breathe more efficiently (via synchronous movement of the ribcage and pelvis) before they can relax those tight hamstrings.
If those individuals cannot produce force in a productive manner, perhaps they need to stop listening to Katy Perry during their training sessions.
“Simply put, regional interdependence is the concept that seemingly unrelated impairments in a remote anatomical region may contribute to, or be associated with, the patient’s primary complaint.”
In a more practical application, this concept can be applied in a common scenario that I see daily:
Someone complains of lower back discomfort (not pain), hip mobility drills are provided, along with stability motor control exercises for the abdominal AND the hips are provided – and you solve their mysterious back issue.
Congratulations, you have witnessed regional interdependence at work. Luckily enough, there is enough evidence out there (even if they don’t call it specifically regional interdependence) to warrant this concept a look-see. (3)
Now, to take this to the next level, I have in my head how some of the inner workings of the body are connected via a concept of homeostasis, or more specifically the swinging pendulum of approaching the midline of all things “health” related.
If you are off on one end of the extreme, your body (in any amount of ways) will attempt to bring you back to baseline.
Here is a picture that helps to demonstrate this idea more effectively:
If the bubble in the middle is in a perfect circle, then all of the other circles surrounding it are in proper order.
Say you perform a set of 10×10 back squats, and this causes your musculoskeletal system to “tug” on the homeostasis circle. Then the body should recognize this, and attempt to force the body to rest – on a localized level because there are less intramuscular glycogen stores than when you first started your back squat session, by causing massive amounts of hormones to start the rest and digest cycle, or by making your central nervous system seem fatigued, so you have to bring it back to homeostasis eventually.
One system is interrelated with another. This will be important to understand as other installments of these assessment experiments come into play.
The More You Know
If you had given me those pieces of information prior to me entering the fitness industry, I would have been much better off and well informed from the get-go.
Take those items separately, and you have some pretty good, foundational information under your belt. You can create exercise programs, a positive training environment for people to thrive under, along with improving your treatment (if you’re a physical therapist) or exercise selection choices (if you’re a fitness or S&C professional).
Now, with those things under your belt, now we can attack the first batch of questions by bucketing them within the above subcategories:
What is corrective exercise?
I’m of the opinion that corrective exercise is at best, merely a novel or salient stimuli introduced into the system, made to help improve a movement quality that may have been lacking before. At the same time, the modality of exercise may be introduced as the correct intervention aimed at helping an individual relax and or restore functionality – massaging a hamstring because it is tight, as opposed to stretching it, for example.
Whether or not it is self-imposed (you performing it by yourself) or having an individual do a specific technique on you (performing massage while you relax on a table), the real terminology should reflect what is believed to be occurring.
Perhaps a better name could be “functional modalities” – exercises, treatments, or other modalities aimed at improving movement (and otheractions) in a functional manner.
But that is neither here nor there.
With corrective exercise, we are aiming to improve joint position, either by changing the position of the joint itself (manipulation techniques found from chiropractors, physical therapists, and/or osteopaths), changing the tonicity of the affected musculature, or even reintroducing a new subconscious learning strategy that you can now utilize instead of the older, possibly incorrect movement pattern.
What is dysfunction?
This is a multi-faceted question (and answer), but at the end of the day, here are my thoughts:
There are only so many humanly degrees of range of motion. Anything outside of those “normative” ranges of value are outliers on a “U-Curve”.
If someone is on the right side of this curve, perhaps they are in need of any treatment modality (mobility drill, joint mobilization, rolling patterns, breathing drills, massage, etc.) to bring them back to the middle.
If someone is on the left side of this curve, we as professionals need to ask,
“Is this shift in range of motion (or movement pattern) an abnormal thing, and if yes, is it helpful to this individual to accomplish their tasks?“
This individual might have 180 degrees of glenohumeral total motion (both internal and external rotation) because they are a pitcher, and it is acquired through years of training.
Or, on the same note, this individual might have 100 degrees of glenohumeral total motion (both internal and external rotation) for the same reason that they are a pitcher, and it is an accumulation of mis-managed stress that has caused them to lose this range of motion.
As you can see now, there is no true definition of a dysfunction, but it is within the practitioners interpretation of a movement pattern or joint position to determine the next plan of action.
So… What are we really testing when it comes to assessments?
I’m of the belief that within our specific industry the items that we are truly “testing” for involve discovering physiological, neurological, and perhaps even abnormal (but to whose standards) bony structures that may limit movement patterns which may prevent quality of life from being maintained.
Two things in this long winded definition:
What are these standards?
Quality of life may be different from individual to individual.
The shoulder range of motion that is necessary for a baseball pitcher will need to exceed 180° of total motion in order to maintain an elite level position on a professional level.
Often times shoulder range of motion is limited in shoulder flexion (reaching up to the ceiling/sky) due to bony and muscular structures limiting this motion.
The shoulder (flexion) range of motion that is necessary for a general population individual is essentially less than 90° from anatomical position – they can use a step stool to get up to the desired location and move their arm out in front of them in order to reach for something.
Two very different qualities of life, and as long as these expectations are understood from both parties, both interpretations of assessments can be very different.
On one end shoulder range of motion is limited due to physiological demands of throwing a baseball at high levels, and on the other end there are degenerative changes to be cognizant of in the second individual.
So the question becomes, if the assessment process is aimed at providing a “roadmap” towards optimal and a more “functional” performance, then the next question must be what paths do you take to get to the desired goals?
This is where multiple inputs can be introduced in order to convey another yet larger message.
Should fitness professionals have the ability to affect movement in a positive manner?
Of course. Otherwise, there would literally not be any jobs for people who are and have been attempting to lose weight, which is a multi-billion dollar industry.
The “ability to affect movement” is worded as such in order to describe the effects of any modality on an individual’s movement. When we as coaches and physical therapists provide cues that the individual must interpret, the words we choose aim to serve a purpose of affecting movement qualities.
If we say move slowly with deliberation, I’m not expecting full on force production similar to a moving train, I’m expecting precision and deliberate movements.
From this vantage point, it should be understood that all systems of the body are interconnected. I had the opportunity to impart some knowledge at Billy Rom’s facility in Long Island, NY (Superior Athletics) this recent May, and I still stand behind this image as being valid.
Long story short, the cardiovascular system can affect the nervous system, which can affect the musculoskeletal system, which can affect the psychosocial system as well.
In the following videos, I’ll be introducing how auditory stimuli can affect the nervous system, which can affect the musculoskeletal system.
If there are indications that an assessment is literally assessing joint position, it should be noted that the nervous system can be manipulated every which way, which can skew the interpretation of the assessment on a very foundational level.
Now, if you’re still with me, great. I’ve got some interesting videos that I hope alters your perception on what you are currently doing, and if anything just shows how altering inputs (auditory stimuli in this case) will affect outputs (movement quality through various movement assessments and screens).
Sometimes, pain is caused by mechanical tension, in which a muscle group is “firing” in an abnormal manner, which may or may not cause specific nerves to fire, signaling your brain to interpret these movements as pain.
One thing auditory music can alter is the sensitivity to which pain is perceived. (1) Imagine someone scratching a chalkboard, or hearing a gun go off nearby. Various wavelengths perceived through the brain interpret these inputs as either signals of danger, or signals of relief.
In an easier to understand context, I cringe whenever I listen to anything by Kesha, Katy Perry, or whoever is the newest pop artist of the month. On the other hand, I get down whenever I hear Michael Jackson or James Brown.
With this in mind, I introduced an element of music and auditory stimuli to see how it affect motoric control during the assessment process. If the concept of test and re-test is new to you, this is it in a nutshell:
Test a movement with some sort of standardization in place.
Introduce an element of an intervention.
Re-test and re-examine the said movement pattern.
Did it change? If not, why not?
Often, if there is a large discrepancy of a movement pattern, there is no immediate change. This could be indicative of the input not having enoughof a signal in order for a change to occur. Think about the decibels needed in order to hear certain noises – if something isn’t loud enough, we as humans won’t be able to react. The same can be applied to inputs – if there isn’t enough of a quality of stimuli, that input aimed at “correcting” said movement pattern won’t be effective, even if it is in the correct realm of being recognized as aberrant or abnormal.
With that said, here is video number one:
A couple caveats before your brain asplodes:
I chose a neutral choice of music (found here) in order to remove the possibility that I’m listening to something that I like, such as James Brown, or even something I don’t like, such as Kesha.
I also chose to show the variance of listening to auditory input from one ear to the next.
Music can be utilized as a performance enhancing tool for runners. (2)
If music can influence perceived exertion, it can similarly enhance or decrease movement qualities, displayed through this simple screen.
The movements displayed here are chosen out of ease of filming, and quickness of re-testing.
It could be argued that these movements are not a limiting factor towards the whole picture that is the FMS or SFMA, so they are simply noise within the grand scheme of the movement game.
Paul didn’t know what his responses would be to these movements, so it is blind in that sense.
On that note, here are my responses to the same music:
While this is a lot to interpret, just understand that this now brings up several new questions:
What kinds of music can help elicit a better training environment for you and your athletes/clients/patients?
What kind of vocal intonation should be utilized in order to elicit a de-threatening of the central nervous system?
What words should be utilized in order to elicit a better response of doctor to patient understanding? (3)
Specifically, it seems that motoric control of glenohumeral internal and external rotation is limited, hip flexion is limited, and thoracic rotation is also limited when an unfavorable auditory stimuli is introduced into the system (n=5 since I’ve done this with other individuals also).
If joint position is compromised due to an unfavorable auditory stimuli, what occurs to movement quality?
Is this something that can be “unlearned” or consciously subdued?
And, for what it is worth, I honestly don’t have answers to these questions. I am simply observing these changes utilizing the above logic and rationale.
Perhaps music selection at commercial gyms can be altered in order to better elicit a training effect for everyone involved. If there is one choice versus another from person to person, perhaps a more neutral music selection can be introduced.
The words we use on a day to day basis can influence how people interpret what and who we are – whether or not we are proving to be useful from an actual physiological point of view is left open to discussion, but maybe someone just really likes listening to you talk, so they are calm and relaxed during your conversations, and they don’t feel their literal and physical pain when talking with you.
All that said, this is “installment one” out of a handful of other installments, because there are tons of variables that can come into play with assessments. With that said, if you’re a strength coach or personal trainer, don’t go blasting awful music into your clients’ ears and expect someone to get strong. Neuromuscular control that can fluctuate at the drop of a hat does not translate to physiological strength that needs to be honed through hundreds if not thousands of repetitions.
Alright, here is where you, the awesome reader can come into play.
If you want, I’d like to see if your movement changes with auditory stimuli (aka music) in place. Do exactly what I did, and you can even play around a little more just to see what changes further. No, this won’t get you to lose 10lbs overnight, but perhaps it will get you to relax your muscles!
Step 1. Test shoulder range of motion similar to how I performed in above videos.
Step 2. Listen to music (found here) and put one ear bud in at a time (right versus left).
Step 3. Identify any changes in movement from one ear to the other.
Step 4. Which one made your shoulder movements easier? Did it make your neck movements easier? Thoracic spine easier?
Let me know in the below comments, because I’m very interested in this process for everyone!
There is a decent amount of information here. Further, I’d consider the following to be only a snapshot into what was divulged that weekend, along with being relatively random as it is a composite of my notes, memories, and pictures.
This blog post, while pseudo-permanent in nature, is merely my interpretation of the information CW provided, along with the understanding that each seminar will be slightly different. Take this with a grain of salt. Further, throughout this post, I have links to Charlie’s DVD Training Equals Rehab 2, in which I am an affiliate.
Firstly, the logistics of the seminar were handled amazingly well. Michael Ranfone and his staff at Ranfone Training Systems ran everything very smoothly. If you haven’t taken a course here, I recommend doing so immediately, because this is how seminars should be organized, planned, and run.
Charlie Weingroff is passionate, does his homework on the specific attendees that come into the seminar, along with understanding how to get his scientific justifications for what he does very quickly, while keeping the seminar itself upbeat.
If you don’t know who Charlie Weingroff is, you can read his “bio” here.
With this in mind, I’m of the belief that this seminar serves as two items:
A sequel to the first DVD he had, Training=Rehab, and
Of course, you will have to attend his seminar to truly understand and digest the information that was presented. Simultaneously, I’m of the belief that I cannot fully iterate the depths of the information provided by Charlie during this weekend of events, as they weren’t merely just broad strokes of information – he went in, and he took us for a ride.
[Note: He is hosting another seminar in early 2015 at Drive 495.]
Taking a flashback in Tarantino-esque fashion, I met Charlie at his facility in NYC, Drive495, in early 2013. I had the opportunity to chat with him about his personal philosophy one-on-one, along with getting a tour of his facility.
However, after that meeting almost 1.5 years ago, CW is certainly in a different place professionally. He is now using his skillets and knowledge to help the Canada basketball team, along with accelerating sports performance in many other teams across the world, to my knowledge.
Many different items were discussed, and for me to disclose over 16 hours plus of information would be a disservice – however disclosing a few topics and glossing over the information provided is something that I can provide.
The first hour or so dissected CW’s personal philosophy of how to interpret information, how to apply ourselves within the fitness/S&C industry, along with the casual interjection of Transformers quotes.
“Learning [new information] is uncomfortable.”
The interpretation I received from this line is that the process of learning is going to be uncomfortable. Information received isn’t usually presented in a pretty linear line, where there is always new additional information being processed. The necessity for creating a filter for information is just as important as the need for understanding, interpreting, and then applying the newly discovered information in a systematic way.
And then of course, there is the process of “Did I do this correctly?” and “Can I improve upon my methods?”
One of the first discussions we dove into is the state of the industry, namely what are the subdivisions of the more commonly referred to “strength and conditioning coach?”
Recovery & Allostatic Specialists
Sport Specific Coaches
This can be allocated to the traditional strength and conditioning coaches position. Assessing whether or not your athletes or clients are ready for fitness and performance based goals is important. Coaching exercises from a general physical preparedness level is within the realm of this subset.
Recovery & Allostatic Specialists
If the human body is not ready to provide specific outputs necessary for fitness (life) or performance (S&C) purposes, what is preventing this from occurring?
This is where the question of “Are you overtraining, or simply under-recovering?” fits very nicely.
Instead of pressing on the gas, sometimes we need to remove the e-brake in order to move forward at a more rapid rate. Providing therapy in whatever format will allow recovery to occur, along with other methods that can be done by yourself (foam rolling, utilizing breathing, etc).
Physical therapists, manual therapists, and chiropractors fall into this category.
I’m of the belief that this will be the “next big thing” with respect to the shift in sports performance. If it isn’t already on your radar, let this be an informal announcement – interpreting data is important for advancing in the field of sports performance.
At the same time, this is admittedly my weakest area of information, as I simply don’t have a specific route to go towards with respect to learning information.
This role has been here for quite some time, and I’m of the opinion that the smartest sport coaches will do their best to listen to the above three coaches for increasing performance.
Without an appropriate movement foundation (movement specialist), how can you task an athlete to drive their knee higher when sprinting, if they lack the requisite joint mobility to move into more hip flexion?
“Getting lower” during skating likewise requires a neutral spine position on top of an adequate amount of hip extension and hip flexion – what do you do if your athlete is experiencing bilateral anterior hip issues?
Or what do you do if your OmegaWave scores (sport scientist interpreting data) are low due to going out on a Thursday night, you have practice Friday morning, and you have a game on a Sunday?
This thought process brings up several unique things to look at if you are a sport specific coach.
Change is going to be uncomfortable.
(Personal Note: Lifting weights is uncomfortable. Achieving physiological change is going to be uncomfortable.)
Selye’s model of adaptation involves adapting to stress.
[Photo Credit: strengthpowerspeed.com]
When discussing improving a certain quality, the idea of specific adaptations to an imposed demand should always be at the forefront of our [coaches, trainers, physical therapists] minds.
If change is not elicited, did we at the very least maintain the qualities [of fitness]?
“There’s an input… and an output.”
Joint position is a sensory input to the brain.
The output is whether or not the system (body) can put forth effort for performance based outcomes.
If there is a lack of proper joint position, there will likewise be an inadequate output for motoric performance, and lack of input for further motor acquisition.
Attempting to achieve physiological change is uncomfortable. This is the body’s method of “learning,” as there are multiple avenues of providing opportunities to learn how to move.
I’ve always appreciated movement since I was a teenager learning to dance, but I always find the categorization and application of movement based principles to be fascinating. Charlie uses the FMS to primarily identify movement limitations for performance based goals. And he is brilliant at what he does.
Say what you want about the FMS (and/or SFMA), no system is going to be 100% perfect. If you take it for what it is, it is a useful tool used to extract neuromuscular and biomechanical limitations, with the aim for extracting joint positions based on a neurodevelopmental-minded philosophy..
[Interpreting] movement is [accessing] windows of opportunities. Neuroceptive input influences mobility of that specific movement pattern. If you lack the requisite input or movement, where will your window of opportunity go with respect to outputs of performance and physiological adaptations?
Start with the finish. With this in mind, not only can you move and adapt to stressloads, but can you also provide the necessary outputs, whether it is power, strength, or energy system minded goals, in order to be successful?
Further, CW went into detail regarding various methods of achieving output for increases in performance, from energy system development, to positioning for human movement and the exercises that follows suit.
One thing that will always continue to intrigue me, as with many others who are more intelligent than myself, is the thought process that goes into detailing and discoursing movement.
Take the idea of “output” for example, with respects to speed of movement.
If you have a car, and you have a capacity for 200mph for its top speed, sometimes you might not be able to achieve that 200mph for various reasons – you’re going uphill, weather conditions, worn tires, etc.
One thing that might be limiting us from achieving “top speed” is that the e-brake might be cranked on. So, let’s utilize reflexive movement patterns, and various mobility drills to take the e-brake off, instead of cranking endlessly on the gas pedal to gogogogogo.
This came across in an example that I’m already relatively familiar with – post-activation potentiation, in which you perform a heavily loaded movement pattern (back squat), and then a lighter movement (barbell squat jump, or bodyweight vertical jump) to potentiate the motor units to “light up” faster.
However, instead of pressing on the gas pedal with the weights, take the e-brake off by performing various rolling/crawling exercises or mobility-minded exercises, and then go back to the speed-strength oriented exercise.
I probably took 4-5 pages of full notes on this, for the mere fact that I needed to find resources to discover how to incorporate these items into my current practice.
The biggest takeaway I received from this is that utilizing only HRV is a detriment, as it provides only a small vision into what is the whole body. There is much more to “readiness” than simply just accessing the heart rate and its variability with rest and training.
The above is simply a snippet of the information that was divulged from the mind of Charlie Weingroff. I highly recommend attending his upcoming seminar.