Over my years of training, prescribing exercise and studying innovation, I’ve either a) forgotten certain exercises I used to love, b) have developed better ways of doing something a lot people already do, or c) have serendipitously stumbled onto really innovative ways to functionally align & set people up for functional success. Each exercise included below is grounded in 3 dimensional movement science, rehabilitation or myofascial anatomy and has the ability to help people “Prepair” for any upcoming workout or sport. Whether it’s a professional athlete or a 70 year old grandmother, the foundation for movement capacity is movement ability.
The ability to move well is predicated by the ability to mobilize the tissue and stabilize the joint(s) being loaded. Gary Gray refers to this as mobile – stability:
I refer to this as “Prepair2Perform”. Another way to think about this concept is joint stacking. In figure 1, there are two diagrams:
1. Illustrating how the human body stacks its joints and 2. Systematically stacks stability over top of mobility.
There are a few key concepts to consider against when “prepairing2perform”:
1. The picture on the right in fig 1. Illustrates how alignment is associated muscles that are either equally active (balanced and of equal length), overactive (shortened) or underactive (lengthened).
2. When all the contractile & passive fascial element tensions around a joint are properly distributed (or aligned) joints function to perform daily and athletic tasks with efficiency.
3. Balanced joints and their associated muscles are much more resistant to most non-contact injury.
4. Mobility without stability is inefficient way to improve flexibility!!!! Regardless of the specific joint designation, all joints are capable of both mobility and stability.
- Meaning, while the knee generally loses its ability to stabilize, the attached muscles / fascia can also create or restrict mobility leading to increased stress on the stabilizers. If any tissue is loaded too much, too fast or too frequently, acute and chronic problems can develop.
- If a mobility joint loses mobility due to overuse, underuse or injury, a joint above or below is forced to contribute to the lost element. Similarly losing stability can lead to mobility joints attempting to function with stability. For example people who suffer from low back pain often have reduced stability of the local and global stabilizers in that area. Other muscles in the joint below (i.e. the hip) which also attach to the pelvis take over to help stabilize. As a result of robbing Peter to pay Paul the hip flexors & rotators begin to act as stabilizers, and therefore lose range of motion in favor of compensatory lumbo-pelvic (low back) stability. Furthermore, I could stretch those muscles as much as I want but the brain / CNS recognizes instability and quickly sends signals to turn those muscles back on. The nervous system is a highly tuned machine that will not allow long-term instability of the pelvis or spine. The solution won’t be more yoga, more stretching, more machine, more range of motion. A better solution will be incredibly well executed bridging, side planking & bird dogging (i.e. level the pelvis & create mobility over top of stability) therefore the goal of any training program should be stabilize. The exercises I have chosen do a great job of creating mobility over top of stability for each of the joints listed.
- Cervical Mob, Scapular Stab, Thoracic Mob, Lumbo-Pelvic Stab, Hip Mob, Knee Stab, Ankle Mob