Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Strength from the ground up

Functional exercise
Today we are going to dive right into the  new phenomenon of "Functional Exercise" seen in many of the gyms & exercise magazines. If you look back at my previous posts your aware of the reasons we stiffen. As adults we quickly lose mobility which robs us of moving correctly, or what we in the rehab world call "Functionally". One of the primary purposes I began writing this blog was to explain the importance of movement. A big part of getting you moving again, without compensations that  harm you, is getting you back to your developmental roots.
Developing our motor skills  occurs when we are infants. We first learn to roll over, then crawl, eventually we get up on one knee and ultimately we stand. As infants we have all the mobility in the world, it's the stability that needs to be learned. In rehab we use these positions as "resets" to reestablish movement patterns that are essential to correct functional movement, and functional exercise(more on this in future posts).
Why are we doing this again? 
Many trainers are adding functional exercise, not understanding the reasoning  & it's became a novelty.  Functional exercise is most effective when used to improve a deficiency.  As a Functional Movement Screen practitioner, I use the findings of the screen as the basis for prescribing the exercise. 
This will end badly...

When we look at one of the most fundamental movement not only in exercise but in life; the squat, this concept can be better understood..
Whoa, slow down there tiger

As you can see our young friend can easily sit in a deep squat while playing, while our weight lifting friend is about to get a chance to meet yours truly (after he sees every other provider without relief). The weight lifter is trying to build strength on poor movement. While he may get away with it for a short time, this strategy is sure to fail, this is the scenario I'm attempting to save you from. The functional movement that I referred to applies not only to the squat but many other exercises & activities that will be spoken about frequently in my posts.
Baby steps
Nobody wants to have to take a step back, but in order to "Live to Move", we will need to go through prescribed corrective exercises to get the movement right, before we start adding resistance and accentuating our faults. The more the individual strengthens their faults, the more work there will be in reversing that process.  An example of stepping back to master the squat would be for someone to learn to hinge at the hips, build mobility in the hips ankle and upper back, followed by learning to master the glute bridge,  and  finally progress to face the wall squats.

 Putting it all together
By taking a step back and making sure the way you move isn't hurting you, you will create and maintain an amazing foundation to move better, feel better, work better and train better. The squat is a tremendous and fundamental movement most of us have difficulty performing.  It's also one of the best exercises for loosing fat and adding muscle when performed correctly, and when we add functional movement it's also one of the safest. 

Dr. Serafim is a Rehabilitation and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He lives and works in the Exton PA area and has devoted himself to furthering his understanding of movement related disorders, and is level 2 functional movement screen certified. He teaches continuing education and operates a private practice. More information can be found at Kinetx.org and feel free to like us at our Facebook Page page.

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