The Importance of ‘Movement First’

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The Importance of ‘Movement First’

So you're all set to start your fitness or sports performance training program. You did your research and know all the best exercises to perform in order to add muscle and improve strength, speed, power, and cardio-respiratory fitness levels. But the major question is, do you know if those exercises are the best exercises for YOU? Believe it or not, the same exercise may have a completely different impact on different people. There are numerous reasons for this including genetics and lifestyle factors such as sleep, stress, and diet, however there is another major factor that plays a role in determining the outcome of your training plan; and that is 'movement quality.' Many people often confuse movement quality for "correct form," however this does not paint the whole picture. Yes correct form is crucial for quality movement, particularly during structured exercise. But what if you can't physically assume the proper positions required to perform the exercises with correct form? I'm sure most will agree that there has been at least one time where no matter how hard you tried, or how well you were coached, something still didn't look or feel right during an exercise. Now in that case, would you keep performing the same exercise hoping it would get better over time? Unfortunately, that is exactly what most people would do in that situation, not realizing that any changes in movement mechanics, even seemingly minor ones, may significantly change muscle activation as well as stress and strain on surrounding structures. This situation would lead to the trainee performing exercises with essentially unknown or unpredictable effects and outcomes, leading to disappointment in not attaining the desired goals. In worst case scenarios, this may even lead to injury resulting in inability to continue exercising at the desired frequency and intensity. For example, many know that the deadlift exercise is one of the most functional and efficient ways to strengthen the hamstrings, hips, and low back and core, and improve numerous aspects of sports performance including vertical jump height. There is no surprise that almost all major training programs prescribe the deadlift within their framework. In order to perform the deadlift with acceptable movement quality, you must maintain a neutral straight spine throughout the entire movement and hinge through the hips by essentially lengthening the hamstrings under load. But what if you don't have adequate hamstring mobility or your movement mechanics are not dialed in perfectly, and you end up rounding your low back and/or bringing your knees forward rather than focusing on shifting your hips backwards? Suddenly that incredible hamstring, hip, and low back exercise becomes a quadriceps dominant movement which simultaneously stresses inappropriate structures of the back leading to increased risk of injury as well as a lack of desired training response. Needless to say, in this all-to-common scenario the deadlift no longer produces the desired training effect despite good intentions by the trainee. Here at Pro-Activity, we specialize in human movement, and place movement quality and baseline cardiovascular fitness above all else when considering exercise planning and prescription. In order to ensure that all trainees are receiving the proper training responses from their exercise program, we perform a thorough movement and fitness assessment which determines current level of movement quality, and allows us to program endurance, strength, and power movements based on individual abilities. Exercise is not a "one size fits all" approach to health and performance...clients are unique, goals are specific...programming and intervention must be so as well, and they're best when developed with a trained set of eyes.  If you're not already doing so, be sure that movement quality is considered first and foremost prior to programming specific exercises...and never hesitate to reach out if you need help! -Gene _______________________ Dr. Eugene Ketsleman is a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist with Pro-Activity, and a human movement expert.  He can be reached at eketselman@pro-activity.com
By | 2017-02-20T16:11:01+00:00 May 26th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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