Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More on Ground Based Movements.....

Okay....this is an extension to my previous post but I am seeing more and more miraculous cases where clients are coming in to see me with chronic pain and dysfunction. Most of these people are seeing physical therapists, getting body work, you name it, they are doing it! I am not trying to toot my horn but these people are getting better VERY QUICKLY and it is not because I am doing anything magical (well.....we can call it FMS magic, he he he).

I had a very athletic woman who came in today to see me and she actually scored quite well on the movement screen (16/21). The challenge is that she injured her left hip flexor in yoga which might have stemmed from an overuse injury from all of her endurance sports. Whether she has a TEAR in her psoas/groin area or not, one thing is clear: she did not have the ability to disassociate her hips from pelvis/low back area,. While performing the HURDLE STEP test, she clearly compensated by using her low back and pelvis to try and lift her hip over the hurdle. It was UGLY!!!!  She scored a 1 on both legs!!! Obviously getting her one leg proved to me that she has no business distance running right now because she cannot even stand on one leg and flex her other hip. Everything else in her FMS was fine. Her mobility in the shoulders and ASLR were both #3's.

What to do????

I gave her the rolling patterns as showed in Mark Snow's VIDEO posted in my previous BLOG POST!!!
I also gave her the Stability Ball Posterior Rock and it worked wonders. She got up and nailed a solid 2 on her Hurdle Step and she was SHOCKED!!! In my opinion her deep stabilizers were not firing at all causing her to use her prime movers (more global muscles) to do the job as mobilizers and stabilizers (which they were never designed to do anyway). Most of her issues seem to be NEURAL in nature!!!

Stability Ball Posterior Rocking: Maintain a Neutral Spine and you MUST breathe using your Diaphragm during the entire movement: Start by pushing with two hands and then go to single hand. Focus on breathing!!

Once again...I am even more convinced that rolling and ground based movements are often overlooked!


Monday, May 16, 2011


My Daughter Marianna at Gymnastics 
 Getting on the floor is healing for many reasons(we'll go over those reasons in a bit).  For one, it is far less threatening on your body and for overpowered athletes that have stressed out nervous systems I find that people respond very well to ground based mobility, rolling, stretching and breathing work.  Lately I have been experimenting with the Gray Cook posterior stability rock (or Quadraped Rocking) for chronic pain clients and it really seems to calm down the pain and genuinely make them feel better when they get up from the floor.

Now keep in mind that I am not a trained medical professional nor am I licensed to treat pain, hence I am very clear with people that I do not treat pain.  My expertise is in getting people to move better and usually that means that people begin to feel better. In my experience people that are in chronic pain tend to do better when you start them on the floor for the following reasons:

1) The ground gives you a break from GRAVITY
That doesn't mean that the laws of physics cease to exist but it does it mean that their is less gravitational stress going through their bodies. This especially helps people that have lumbar disc issues such as bulging discs or herniations. Having been through two disc bulges myself, I spent many days and nights on the floor because it was the only position that allowed me to move.  I would have loved to spend some time in a Zero gravity chamber during my disc injuries (although actually we know that zero gravity for extended periods of time causes muscles wasting and loss in bone density).

2. Ground based rolling, crawling movements, positions and postures reboot your ORIGINAL OPERATING SYSTEM
The original operating system was the HYPER MOBILE system we were all born with when we entered this world. Think of babies; they are born with lots of mobility, stretch, tissue pliability and over the first years of life develop the STABILITY to safely move from the floor to standing and navigating around on two feet. Getting on the floor and re-visiting these ground based movements can re-establish connection with primitive movement patterns that could be limiting the way your nervous system is functioning. If you are in pain, keep getting injured or are not performing well, there is a great chance that you need to re-visit many ground based movement patterns. Check out Gray Cook's SECRETS of PRIMITIVE PATTERNS DVD. 

Try Rolling (thanks to RKC, CK-FMS Mark Snow for these videos)

3) Ground based movements allow you to RE-LEARN how to breathe properly

Belly breathing is natural in infants. I have curiously been watching my three old daughter Marianna and my one year old boy Esteban Andres develop and it has been astonishing to see how much they use use their bellys while breathing. Belly breathing is something that we stop doing as we get older and take on the stresses of modern life. This has disastrous consequences on our health, performance and movement. Lying on your back or face down and practicing belly breathing is a great way to re-establish communication with the diaphragm. When the diaphragm is working well it stimulates our inner unit (Transversus Abdominus , multifidus & pelic floor muscles to reflexively stabilize our lumbar and sacral illiac joints). When the inner unit is working properly it allows the outer and more GLOBAL muscles such as the Glutes, Erectors, Psoas, Rectis Femoris, Lats, Rectis Abdominus, and Obliques to take on their essential role as PRIME MOVERS and actually move us around. Those muscles were never designed to be stabilizers!

4) Ground based movements allow us to break poor movements habits and build new improved ones

There is just something that feels so good being on the floor, rolling around, playing and discovering our body.
Babies never learned to stand up by doing smith machine squats, hamstring curls or leg extensions. They learned to stand up because they rolled, rocked and crawled.  They went through SEQUENTIAL LEARNING. We are not a collection of individual pieces.  Our brains think in terms of patterns and whole movements and tasks. Therefore we must:

  • Train the whole
  • Know thyself
  • Move from the Ground UP
Can anyone say KALOS STHENOS!!!! Greek for "beautiful strength." Get all of Gray Cook and Brett Jones' DVD's and Books. They are life changing if you apply them!!

The bottom line is that most of us need and should spend on the floor daily working our weaknesses, re-booting the original operating system by working on those primitive patterns and by improving our breathing.
I hope this has prompted you to take a look at your entire workout goals and has at least convinced you that you may need to add in some corrective ground based work.

Thoughts? Ideas? Your Experience with some of these movements?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Dragon Door TV KRIBS Video

Super cool that our studio Revolution Fitness was featured on the Dragon Door TV KRIBS section. Also, Congratulations to Yoana for being the Comrade of the week.