Why is Circuit Training Great for Your Gym?

Why is Circuit Training Great for Your Gym?

Bridging the Gap Between Selectorised Equipment and Functional Cages.

In a market where, since 2008, gyms are competing for the attention of 41 million American health club members, every gym owner needs to understand how to attract new members. Why do people go to the gym instead of working out at home and how do you keep them once they walk in the gym doors?

 

Total Gym Elevate Circuit

Read more…

 

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BOSU – Balance for Tennis Performance

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Written by Douglas S. Brooks, MS & Peter Twist, MSc The systems, strategies and tactics in tennis are best described as organized chaos. During a match, no competitor – even those with great on-court intuition – knows exactly what will … Continue reading

FIT JOINTS Series #2:

by Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART TWO OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction: Take Me to the River.

You wouldn’t typically think of your body as a river, though you probably should!

Your human vessel is composed of 70-80% water.

Every cellular function awaits the arrival of this liquid gold to perform the alchemy of generating life, energy and repairs that you body requires to stay alive.

Millions of chemical reactions occur every minute that require water. The joints of your body depend on water so blood can deliver much needed nutrients and escort ugly toxins and waste away.

Decreased water supply to your body is particularly vicious to your joints due to the fact that if toxins are milling around your organ system and there is not enough water to transport them to your bladder via the kidney, your body will use your joints as a garbage can for these toxins, thus detouring them away from your vital organs. This trade-off seems such a logical and smart compromise, but comes at a high cost.

Toxins stored in joints cause early degeneration with pain and breakdown close behind. Your luscious clear river has now become a swamp… Yikes!!

Hydration is one of the easiest economical ways to acquire healthy joints and a happy body overall. Grab that liquid gold and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Each of you require different amounts of water based on how many cells you have, so here is an easy formula to know the right daily amount for you:

Take your body weight in kilos and multiply by .033, this is your personal perfect water intake amount.

Joint of the Month: Your Precious Knees

The largest joint in your body is the knee.

Classified as a hinge joint, your knee is the meeting point for your shin (tibia and fibula) and your upper leg (femur) which are all joined together via a barrage of ligaments to secure this precious joint.

Without this joint we could be walking on stilt legs (very unattractive), and most sports as we know them would be impossible!

The function and health of this joint is dependent on the balance of the pulleys and levers (muscles/tendons) that attach to it.

For instance, weak hamstrings and strong quads create excessive load to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament): the most commonly injured ligament in the knee.

Balanced muscles, healthy ligaments and good posture are critical to this joint. So get yourself assessed via a length / tension assessment by a qualified professional, physiotherapist or CHEK practitioner.

Fact:

The knee is also the most complicated joint in your body! As it is a pivotal hinge joint that allows flexion (bending), extension (straightening) and small amounts of rotation, it is a ligament-filled joint. Those of you who have endured knee injuries and surgeries know these three lettered ligaments well: ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL. Injury to this joint is the reason most people visit orthopaedic physicians. It is also the joint most vulnerable to acute injury and osteoarthritis with the ACL is the most commonly injured ligament.

On Bended Knee

Most of our available leg movements and virtually all sports activities are dependent on your knees. They also support the whole upper body – so many thanks required!

Because your knees are in such high demand, they are also subject to a variety of injuries. In fact, knees keep most orthopaedic surgeons as busy as bees. Unfortunately many knee pre- or post-injuries are not rehabilitated properly and leave many people with the inability to fully extend (straighten) or flex (bend) your knees. This can not only be very frustrating but also compromises the rest of the body which has to compensate for your weakened knee.

Bless rather than curse your knees and prepare them for the demands you ask of them!

Because your knees are composed of ligaments not muscles, you must train and prepare them quite differently. The flat surfaces of our contemporary lifestyles provide no challenge to these ligaments and they become weak and prone to injury.

The knee should be trained in multiple movement patterns with slow held motions to excite and engage the ligaments, otherwise they can become unstable.

This joint is seriously challenged if your sport involves quick stopping or starting, changing directions or repetitive impact such as running, rugby, soccer netball, basketball, skiing, tennis or squash to name a few.

Individuals with flexible joints and hyperextension tendencies are especially vulnerable to knee problems so seek professional advise before engaging in a sporting activity.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
  • Train and rehabilitate to address the ligaments not just the muscles.
  • Seek professional advise and have a length tension assessment.
  • Get your spine checked to ensure postural imbalances are addressed.
  • Visit my webpage for more information or inquiries: http://www.activecare.co.nz

Fusion:

Create your perfect sporting moment…where your body, mind and soul smile. Breath into that moment and feel the magic. Then do it again… and again!

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Foot-Ankle.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

It’s Not About the Weight

By Josh Smith.

It’s not about the weight. It never has been.

And frankly, I’m sick and tired of the poor education that gets peddled in the media, in the stores, and by other so-called ‘health professionals’ (Yes thats YOU – dieticians, nutritionists, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, doctors, physiotherapists and anybody else peddling ‘weight loss’). It’s not about the weight.

Yes, some people must lose ‘a percentage of their body mass’ and sometimes a LOT of their body mass, before we can consider them healthy. But lets take a look at this for a second…

What are these people actually doing?

If they are doing things correctly, achieving ‘health’ how health should be achieved – they are bringing their body back towards homeostasis*.

They are taking their body from a toxic, stressed state to a size and shape that is normal for them, through the application of correct nutrition, training and lifestyle modifications.

This ‘normal size‘ is different for each and every person.

It is geneticially imprinted into each of your cells upon birth, and is innately linked to the ‘primal being’ inside you, and not some misinformed, misguided and mistaken pseudo-YOU that you develop through other people’s perceptions and beliefs.

Sometimes you must gain ‘weight’ to be healthy, but this does not mean you are fat. Quite the opposite.

If you are healthy, your muscles are dense. Your blood flows correctly. Your body is quite literally a fat burning machine, using that fat as fuel to feed your ever-thirsty, lean muscle mass.

So what is it we should be focusing on?

  • Body fat loss
  • Energy levels
  • Digestive ability
  • Taste sensation
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Bone density

All of these things can be measured, whether qualitatively or quantitatively, and give us a much better definition of whether we are ‘healthy’ than weight loss alone could ever give us.

So what is a healthy look?

In my own personal opinion, health looks like muscle mass. Health looks like clean skin. Health means sparkling eyes, reduced body odour, and a positively energised aura.

This doesn’t come with ‘weight loss’. This comes with a complete transition of your thinking, and comes from an understanding that a fading person is not necessarily a healthy person.

Healthy people can lift things.

Healthy people can move in all three planes of motion, under unstable loading parameters (gravity, instability), WITHOUT restriction.

Healthy people have ENERGY. They GLOW. They can digest GOOD FOOD.

Healthy people don’t look for energy drinks, protein supplements, schmancy machines or substandard training regimes.

Healthy people understand their BODY, know what their body WANTS, and then GIVE IN TO IT.

So don’t think ‘weight loss’. Think ENERGY. Think MINIMISE BODY FAT. Think FUNCTION.

Think HEALTH.

And for goodness sake – DON’T sit around moping when your Lite ‘n’ Easy diet, machine-based training regime and energy drink consuming lifestyle makes you THIN and SICK.

*Homeostasis is a state whereby the bodies’ systems are working in synergy, Yin and Yang, and that the balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system are functioning optimally. What this means is that body fat loss is maximised, circadian rhythms flow naturally, and all muscles, organs and body systems are supplied with the right amounts of blood at the right times for repair and function, amongst other things.

It is within you.

Josh Smith
Josh is the Director of Mitise Health & Fitness, offering Personal Training, Nutritional Guidance, Lifestyle Coaching, Personal Development, Corporate Seminars, BootCamps and Boxing Groups. Josh is a qualified CHEK Exercise Coach, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 and GRAVITYPersonalTrainer, along with various other qualifications and trainings, and is a very inspirational individual. Mitise (pronounced my-ties) is a word invented by Josh and actually stands for “It is within/in Me“. Check out the spelling of Mitise and you’ll see the connection. Clever huh!

www.mitisehealth.com
twitter.com/MitiseHealth

FIT JOINTS Series #1: Atlas “The Master Control Centre”

Introducing a new contributor to the HQH Fitness blog – Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART ONE OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction

Let’s have a look under your skin. OOOUCH!!!

No doubt you have spoken that profound word (amongst others) when you have engaged in the journey of a joint injury. Most of us have and this is not surprising considering life in the 2011’s requires most of us to be endurance athletes in and out of our work environment:

We wake to an alarm, toes to carpet and we’re off rushing in to the new day.

Combine that with the fact that most sports, jobs and hobbies (both recreational and professional) require that we use our bodies in very imbalanced and repetitive movement patterns…and our bodies will be sure to remind us of it at the end of each day!

Years of experience as a Chiropractor, Sports Practitioner, and having the delightful challenge of working with professional athletes, coaches and trainers in the full spectrum of sports has taught me that most joint injuries occur within a very small range within the joint – generally when a joint is taken past its normal end range of motion to the minute amount of 0-4 degrees.

Indeed this sounds quite ridiculous!

However, when you understand the intimate relationship of the body’s “playful threesome”:

Tendons + Ligaments + Muscle

which make up the basic foundation for joint movement, you too will become intrigued at the intimacy of this relationship.

So…lets take a peak beneath our skin!

FACT: There are 206 bones in the human body (note that this number will vary slightly for those special genetic off throws). In order for these eager bones to move and perform for us, they require the assistance of the “playful threesome”.  This threesome literally become the pulley and lever system for the bones. Quite honestly it is like a game of puppetry. Without this pulley and lever system we wouldn’t be much more mobile or interesting than a sea slug!

Here is a user friendly version of the threesome:

  • Ligaments are strong fibres (like thick fishing lines) binding bone to bone, allowing and limiting motion and providing attachment sites for muscle tendons.
  • Tendons are fibrous tissue (again like fishing lines) connecting muscles to bones.
  • Muscles are tissue made up of contractile fibres ( like elastic bands) that effect and create movement of bones.

So in short, as the muscle contracts, it shortens. With support of the tendon attachment to the bone it levers the bones in different directions depending on the joint type and shape. Ligaments secure, protect and hold bones together. This “threesome” allow our body’s the joy of movement!

So to keep a joint fit and healthy, we must keep it within the range of motion dictated by the joint shape and function as well as the ligament’s protective grip.

Joint Injuries in Relation to Sports:

Most sports force imbalanced muscle demands, demands which twist us one direction, loading one side of our joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This creates uneven contracted strong muscles on one side and weak, loose muscles on the other, in turn putting tremendous stress across the joint which ripens it for injury.

Then an athlete takes this stressed joint out to play and the slightest 0-4 degrees of unfamiliar movement or impact punishes the joint or muscle. In turn this angry joint punishes you!

A postural / length tension assessment can reveal and correct imbalances, but should be done by a qualified practitioner.

Not so FAQ’s…but on the “need to know” list:

Muscles heal quicker than tendons/ ligaments as they hog large amounts of blood (which contains the jewels of healing), whereas ligaments/tendons get very little blood and heal slowly (Zen patience required!).

JOINT OF THE MONTH:

This month I will address the most important joint – the top of the spine is top on my list.

“The Master Control Centre” – C1 (Atlas Vertebra).

Located just behind your earlobe, your atlas is a 2-ounce bone at the top of your neck that is responsible for supporting the weight of your head – which can weigh between 9 and 17 pounds! Not only is the atlas the first bone in your neck, but it is the foundation of your head and centre of balance of your body.

The atlas surrounds and protects the upper spinal cord and brain stem region, and houses over three trillion of your nerve fibres that live feed ingoing/outgoing data from your brain to your whole body.

It is critical for an athlete to have this checked, as a misaligned atlas can affect reaction time, balance, speed, recovery, sleep, immune system, and peripheral vision – just to name a few.

Did you know:

Your atlas can be misaligned via impact, muscle imbalance, repetitive movements and stress. And in most cases you won’t even realise!

What exactly is a “misaligned atlas”?

A misaligned atlas is essentially “vertebral subluxation”, where the head is not quite centred. And when your head is not sitting level over your atlas vertebra, your whole body can twist off centre. Essentially this creates a “domino effect” due to the pressure at the brain stem affecting your whole nerve system that feeds information to every part of your body On an x-ray, it simply looks like the head is at an angle to the base of the neck. In some cases it can be incredibly subtle, in others more extreme.

Side effects:

A misaligned atlas can result in tight neck muscles, neck pain, organ and joint dysfunction and the common headache. In some cases it can refer down the spine and result in lower back pain or other injuries or symptoms.

How can you tell if an Atlas is misaligned?

As a chiropractor, I studied the Atlas-Axis complex for four years – there’s much more to it than you may realise! Through specific tests, touch and observation I can tell immediately. However most people don’t have the luxury to spend four years on this one area!

Practitioners may use X-Rays as well as tests to observe the feet – looking at leg-length discrepancies. Others may be able to observe that simply by doing a postural assessment. A C.H.E.K Practitioner learns two key tests that can indicate if an Atlas is misaligned – one is a marching test, and the second is using two weight scales and identifying a weight shift. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend you seek out a C.H.E.K Practitioner or look into the CHEK program for further study.

How to fix it:

Atlas correction is a passive avenue to gain huge sporting advantages. However it is a very specialized field, so you will always need to go to – or refer your client to – a specialist in this area. Important note: Always be very aware of the specialist you use or refer to, because a simple “neck crack” does not always suffice! Often neck adjustments performed in this manner do not target the specific area of the joint that needs adjusting. There is a reason I spent four years studying this one area, and that is because it is incredibly complex. Rather than a generic approach, my method is to make small and specific adjustments in the area required, to ensure that my patient’s specific needs are addressed. I recommend you seek out someone who does the same if you suspect an atlas problem in the spine.

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Knee.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

Surfing Your Way To Success With Total Gym

Inspired by summer creeping up around the corner and a couple of fantastic surfing videos on the new-look Total Gym website, this month I decided to write an article for our Total Gym owners – how to use Total Gym to train surfers. Many of the exercises came from GRAVITY Master Trainer Jeff Groh, which you can view on the Total Gym website.
Click here to view videos (note: these are alphabetical – click the right arrow twice to get to ‘S’). The models in the pictures below are Nicole Decker, Rob Glick and Jeff Groh.

Total Gym and Surfing

Surfing is so much more than just “getting up on the board.” And when it comes to competitive surfing – that is a whole other playing field. A very specific functional strength is required to replicate the movement patterns of surfing. The primary ones being:

  • Paddling
  • Duck Diving
  • Popping Up
  • Manoeuvres on the Board (requires a strong core for stability / balance)

To achieve functional strength, the muscles of the upper body, lower body and core have to be trained in a way that translates directly over to the sport in a synergistic manner. While isolation in some cases is necessary (core, beginner, rehab, etc.), primarily the athlete should be trained using exercises that challenge a combination of muscles – to replicate how they are challenged while surfing. This is necessary to improve or get the edge on a competitor…and is what separates the winners from all others.

Space/Time Saving Solution

As a personal trainer you want to give your client the most effective workout possible. However the time spent changing machines and moving to different areas within a room eats up time and disrupts what should be a time-efficient yet still challenging experience – particularly with professional athletes.

Total Gym ticks all the boxes because it enables you to work within a small area (a “pod”), maximising both your time and your client’s. In regards to the surfer it offers stability challenges, has core integration in most exercises, offers seamless strength transitions and near-unlimited advancements to ensure continued progression. Total Gym has incredible functional applications to almost any sport, and when it comes to surfing it is ideal for replicating many of the real-life actions of the sport.

And you don’t need to be an expert at surfing – you just need to understand the movement patterns and functional strength required to develop in the sport. Not sure what functional strength is exactly? Click on this link to read a great article by friend and colleague Dean QuirkeUnderstanding the Principles of Functional Training.

The added benefit of Total Gym is it is the perfect training tool not only for able-body surfers, but also surfers who have some kind of limitation or disability and are restricted by the equipment they can use.

Examples of Exercises to Benefit Surfers using Total Gym

Following are some functional exercises for the surfer using Total Gym. As we lead into summer there are loads of opportunities to start developing programs and promoting to attract novices who are ready to get back on the board or professionals who want a leading edge.

PADDLING – Surfer Lat Pull.


This popular exercise is a great way to challenge the lats/back while integrating the core, increasing the strength and endurance required for paddling out, or just prior to catching a wave (modification-high kneeling).

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PADDLING – Swimmer.

Strengthen the back musculature and arms in a swimming motion for muscle endurance. The unique thing about Total Gym is the glideboard – allowing the surfer to replicate the movement with resistance.

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PADDLING – Prone Reverse Fly with Back Extension.

Again, strengthen the back musculature with another great exercise. This position has more focus on scapula retraction and shoulders. Incorporate as little or as much back extension as the client needs.

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DUCK DIVING – Dive Bomber.

This exercise replicates duck diving under a wave or popping up on a surfboard. It could be likened to a pike, however it is quite different. The starting position has the heels raised and a neutral core position. The client ducks down towards the board, and moves into back extension. This translates into functional strength for surfers ducking under waves.

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POPPING UP – Prone to Quadraped.

While it is not safe to pop up to a standing position on the glideboard, you can pop up to a Quadraped position which is still a great stability challenge. Direction comes from the trainer (call out “pop up!”). A great method is to have the athlete performing a swimming motion on the glideboard lying prone (left), then the trainer calls and the athlete moves into the quadraped position (right).

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POPPING UP – Drop Squat.

While there are a number of squat variations that can be performed on Total Gym, all ideal for lower body functional strength for a surfer, the drop squat in particular is unique as it mimics the concept of popping up and landing in a flexed position. It also protects the knees while still providing the necessary challenge required. This is different to a normal squat in that the knees pop up, then land in a neutral position as the feet land on the squat stand. Holding additional weights at the upper body increases the challenge.

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CORE – Jack Knife.

With the SCRUNCH® accessory, you can achieve an incredible core-targeted workout. SCRUNCH® elevates core training by allowing the athlete to stretch, strengthen and stabilise the entire core and trunk for a targeted abdominal workout. This is of great benefit to the surfer who needs to acheive optimal core strength to effectively manoeuvre the surfboard.

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STRETCHES – Hip Flexor

There is a lot of shortening of the abdominals and hip flexors with the SCRUNCH exercise, so Total Gym allows the athlete to round out again by assisting an incredibly effective and deep hip flexor stretch. The glideboard allows for a dynamic stretch option so the athlete can move deeper and deeper into the stretch as required.

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STRETCHES – Hip Flexor with Reach


The Hip Flexor stretch can be modified into a 3-dimensional stretch by adding arm drivers in the sagittal plane, frontal plane and transverse plane. This offers an incredible variation with the movements, opening up the entire body and rounding everything out again.

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MOBILISATION – Foam Roller (Vertical and Horizontal)

A surfer is often in a flexed position and the spine will relish a release. Horizontal and vertical mobilisation is incredibly effective for this using the correct sized foam roller (100mm diameter). Click here to download a Foam Roller article for more about this.

MODIFICATIONS

Total Gym is an exciting piece of equipment due to the diversity and endless possibilities. Not only can this single piece of equipment achieve well over 200 exercises, you can add other training tools to enhance an exercise or further increase the exercise possibilities.

  • For enhanced strength incorporate Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, Weight Bar, Plates, and more.
  • For increased functional stability incorporate a Suspension Training tool or Cable Machine.
  • For stability challenges incorporate BOSU, DuraDisc, or any other unstable platform to use with Total Gym.

The glideboard is also adjustable – it be positioned from an incline to a horizontal position to act as a bench and it can be positioned at the ground level for evolved Pilates work.

The possibilities are endless. The rest I will leave up to your imagination!

SUMMARY

The exercise prescription for surfers to achieve their goals needs to be functional, compound movements that challenge the entire body to achieve the necessary levels of strength, mobility and flexibility. And, most importantly, these need to translate directly over to the movement patterns of surfing. If you’re a Total Gym owner – then you’ve got a great way to achieve this.

Click here to download this article in PDF format and view a breakdown of each exercise including more images and progression options.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing.

Understanding the Principles of Functional Training

‘Functional Training’ is a term that has been used dare I say it “loosely” within our industry over the last few years.

So what does the term ‘Functional Training’ really mean?

What I will aim to do in this article is to give you an overview of some of the principles of functional training and how you can apply those principles to improve client performance through exercise prescription.

Let’s first take a look at some of the definitions of functional movement:

  • An exercise continuum involving balance and proprioception, performed with the feet on the ground and without machine assistance, such that strength is displayed in unstable conditions and body weight is managed in all movement planes.
  • Multi-joint, multi-planar, proprioceptively enriched activity that involves deceleration (force reduction), acceleration (force production) and stabilisation; controlled ammounts of instability; and management of gravity, ground reaction forces and momentum.
  • A spectrum of activities that condition the body consistent with its integrated movement/use.

All of these definitons authentically state what functional movement is, but with the growth of new trends within the health and fitness industry we tend to lose site of the application of some of these principles.

To keep things simple, I propose an alternative definition:

Functional Training involves movements which are specific to the task or purpose within a person/s activities of daily living.

Conditioned Athlete vs. Non-Conditioned Athlete

There seems to be a belief that sports activities differ from active daily living and that we should train our conditioned athletes one way and our non-conditioned athletes another way. While this is typically true in terms of power and performance, both activities share some basic features:

  • They involve skillful application of ground reaction forces.
  • Forces are transmitted through the body through a chain reaction.
  • Tasks are performed in 3 dimensional planes of motion.
  • In order to achieve balance and skills needed to perform these tasks, we regularly get into certain postions. As these tasks are performed more reguarly, motor programs and functional adaptions are reinforced.

For these reasons it’s helpful to re-think the traditional distinction between athletic and non-athlethic activities.

Therefore when designing a program we can look at the fundamentals of the type of activity which is being performed by either the conditioned athlete or the non-conditioned athlete. Then we can then determine the role ‘functional training’ will play in either the enhancement of performance or is helpful in improving the overhall quality of life.

Principles of Function

Principle 1 

Function is 3 Dimensional and includes all three planes of movement:

  • Sagittal: Front to Back
  • Frontal: side to side
  • Transverse: Rotational

Principle 2

The physical forces that the body has to contend with are:

  • Gravity
  • Ground Reaction Forces
  • Momentum

Principle 3

Movement is Driven

  • Drivers of the body

Note: For example we would classify the foot as the driver during an anterior balance reach with the foot reaching towards the specified target.

Principle 4

  • Chain Reaction

As 3D movement includes the whole body and involves multiple joints, we must therefore assume that there will be a chain reaction created throughout the body as we deal with the physical forces.

Applying these Principles of Functional Training

As trainers we all have an understanding of exercise prescription and an abundance of different exercises to choose from in our forever expanding tool bag.

However we must understand that it is not the exercise that will determine the success of the movement – it is the movement that will determine the success of our exercise prescription.

I often see clients that have come to me for post-rehabilitation after several weeks of working with a health professional during the acute phase of injury. These clients have mostly had a reduction in pain and are therefore ready to engage in a post-rehabilitative exercise program.

After an initial subjective summary we start to build a picture of the client’s functional health and activity history. An example of this would be a client who sprained their left ankle 6 months ago and received no treatment for that injury. A great one to remember for later on, whilst performing the client’s functional assessment.

A typical functional assessment would include:

  • Gait evaluation
  • Balance Reach
  • Lunge
  • Excursion Tests
  • Other Tests

Staying within our principles of function, let’s take a look at the balance reach assessment.

For example:

Observing the Sagittal Plane Balance Reach

We direct our client to reach their right leg anteriorly and posteriorly at a verticality of ground and at a distance of mid range.

Results

Interestingly during our observation our client shows a limitation in dorsi-flexion through the left ankle complex when reaching the right leg anteriorly.

Exercise Prescription

On completion of our functional evaluation we can review our subjective summary and observation of functional movement before we determine our exercise prescription. The great thing about a functional assessment is that some of the exercises that we use to assess our clients may be also prescribed in our exercise selection.

For example

Balance Reach Observation

Our observation in the sagital plane showed a degree of limitation in dorsiflexion in the left ankle on a anterior reach with the foot as the driver.

Corrective Exercise selection

Balance Reach – Frontal Plane

Frontal plane reach with foot driver working within the ‘threshold of success’ – same exercise selection but alternative plane selected to work on improving the mobility of the ankle complex.

Conclusion

Observing our client’s movement in all three planes of motion may help us to identify a series of limitations in their functional capabilities.

Clients learn new skills in stages so it is important to work with our clients within the ‘threshold of success’. It is important to recognise these stages and to prescribe your exercises accordingly.

Mistakes play an important role in how we learn, as long as we are adhering to the main principles of function and our mistakes are minimal. The trainer must be able to identify those mistakes and be able to provide a solution to enhance our client’s functional capabilities.

References:

  • Mentoring Workshop 2011 Dirk Crafford Orthopaedic Rehab and Performance Consultant and Founder of Functional Health Fitness
  • Santanaj.c. (2000) Functional Training Boca Raton FL: Optimal performance systems

Dean Quirke
Master Dip. Fitness Testing & Sports Therapy, Dip. Exercise Science, BWLA Weight Lifting Coach, Advanced Strength Training AGSHSS Corrective Exercise Level 2, AGSHSS Pre & Post Natal Exercise, AGSHSS Myofascial Trigger Point Release Therapy, CHEK Exercise Coach,NLP & Transformational Coach, GRAVITYPost-rehab Trainer. Dean specialises in corrective exercise, injury prevention, weight management and special populations. Based out of Sydney, Dean’s passions lie within movement and rehabilitation. This has led him on an incredible journey of self discovery and education. Dean believes there is a great need and a requirement to be open-minded and adaptable in order to be successful in this field.
www.holistichealthconcepts.com
Ph: 04 3144 1213  or   Mob: 0431 441 213
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw


3D Functional Strategies for Improving Movement

By Dean Quirke

As a trainer your aim is to fulfil the needs of your client through correct exercise perscription and guidance, that will help you to enhance their movement and overall function.

This article is designed to help you to identify some of the movement challenges presented to you by your clients and to give you some creative tools and strategies for developing a correct and safe training plan.

Identifying Movement Limitations through Screening

Prior to starting a personal training session with a client, it is important to observe and assess any movement limitations that they may have.

Developing a systematic approach to screening clients through movement and determining the limitations that a specific joint complex may have in relation to the acceptable ranges, will help to create a corective strategy and training plan.

Understanding How We Move

Interestingly we may refer to a client’s movement goals, exercise history and biomechanical abilities before we make the assumption of how an individual moves.

To get a greater understanding of human beings, we must be aware of how the body moves in a three dimensional space.

Triangulation is a concept patented by Physical Therapist Gary Gray.

This refers to movement within a three dimensional space which creates three aspects of motion – Tri – and the angulations which are:

  • Direction. Refers to the Plane of Motion i.e. Sagittal (forward and back), Frontal (side to side) and Transverse (rotational).
  • Height. Refers to the movement created either from the ground, the base of an object or from directly above. For example when a client is performing a balance reach with the arm as the driver, we can give the instruction of reaching “knee height”, chest height”, shoulder height”, or “above head height”.
  • Distance. Refers to how far away from the base the movement is.

How to Identify A Client’s “Real” Movement

During my ealier days as a personal trainer I was so focused on emphasising correct posture, alignment and learned cueing, that I sometimes missed what the “Real” movement was.

Real movements are typically movements that we don’t think about, we just do them. Examples of Real movements could be:

  • Bending down to tie a shoelace
  • Opening a door

So in relating this to your session, the way to identify a client’s Real movement is to do this subconciously.

How to Achieve A Desired Movement Subconsciously

To achieve a desired movement subconciously with a client, we can employ the use of an external objective.

Example 1 – The Lunge

While asking a client to perform a lunge you may notice that the client is showing limited right hip adduction. This may draw you to ‘consciously’ cue more hip adduction.

However beware – this strategy could potentially lead to more compensatory patterns developing. Why? Because the focus of performing a lunge is drawn solely on adducting the hip, the surrounding joints and movement may be affected when intense focus is placed on correcting the imbalance.

Instead, you could invite the client to perform the same anterior lunge however this time – rather than mentioning the adduction of the right hip – instead give them an external objective to focus on.

For example instruct them to drive the right hand, left and laterally over the head to address the right hip imbalance.

Other objectives could also be employed if your client presented a multitude of imbalances.

Example 2 – The Squat

Another example we could look at is the Squat, possibly the most talked about and written about exercise in the industry.

Initially when you ask a client to perform a squat, observation takes place with the client’s range of motion and execution of the exercise.

The client may present limitations in the range of movement in the ankle and hip complex. Commonly these may be represented by a heel lift and excessive forward lean. Naturally “conscious” cueing is considered to address these imbalances by asking the client to “maintain a lift through the chest”, or by reducing the depth of the squat, just to name a couple.

Another option to consider is to employ an external objective for the client to focus on.

For example when the client is performing the squat, ask them to reach with two hands anteriorly at a verticality of chest height with a distance of full range.

The client initiates the squat with their arms in this position, lowering into the squat until their arms come in contact with a dowel rod that will be holding below their outstretched arms. This way you can control the quality, depth and success of the squat executed.

Summary

There are many reasons why a subconcious strategy is of benefit when screening and training your client, but for me I have found that the carry-over from a subconscious level into normal movement has been instant and long lasting.

Clients have shown improvements in decreasing pain, functional limitations and sporting performance. Interestingly enough, it also provides the trainer with a blank canvas on which to become creative with their program design.

So good luck and have fun getting creative!

References

  1. Gary G & Tiberio Fuctional Video Digest
  2. Myers T.(2004) Anatomy Trains Churchill Livingstone

Dean Quirke
Dean is a NLP & Transformational Coach, CHEK Exercise Coach, GRAVITYPost-rehab Trainer and specialises in corrective exercise, injury prevention, weight management and special populations. Based out of Sydney, Dean’s passions lie within Movement and Rehabilitation, which has led him on an incredible journey of self discovery and education. Having sought out some of the foreward thinkers and innovative educators of our time, he has discovered that there is great need and a requirement to be open-minded and adaptable in order to be successful in this field. Dean likes to work with people that want to improve their lives on all levels but are just missing the one thing to make it happen…the tools! Getting results in a structured progressive manner is the key to his success.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw