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?


jockeRKC said...

Nice post Franz.
You are so right. like you i am not a trained medical professional nor am I licensed to treat pain,and i tell people that to.
But i had a girl with chronic pain back pain for 15 years when she came to me. I just showed her the rolles and she did that for 5-6 practices and the pain started to be less and after more practice went away. Just doing some good ground work with rolles and weight less TGU.

SG Human Performance said...

Nice post Franz! I really need to update the rolling videos as those are very old.

Also with the Level 2 Rolling the CK-FMS community pushes the importance of NOT using a go between (the volleyball in the video). If someone does not have the shoulder and hip mobility to be able to touch elbow to knee, or they touch but there is a big change in posture (curl up) then they should not be doing the Level 2 (hard roll).

Franz Snideman said...


that rolling patterns are amazing. It definitely makes the TGU's more clean and crisp (more graceful).

Franz Snideman said...


Thanks brother! I gotta get back to the CK-FMS! I took the first one ever and I know it had improved since I took it!!!!

Hard rolls are our for me then!!! :)

Yes, please re-film the videos so I can use, share and teach them :)