Corrective Exercise: The Antibiotic for Dysfunctional Movement

Have you ever gotten sick and been prescribed an antibiotic to clear up the infection or bug you may have? Of course you have. I don’t think the concept of using an antibiotic is foreign to anyone, so it makes for a great analogy with corrective exercise. If you want to be successful at clearing dysfunctional movement and enhancing performance, getting your clients to do a little homework is almost a necessity. Not many trainers Jared's Camera 495or therapist I know have the luxury of seeing their clients on a daily basis, so to improve results, teaching your clients a couple things to do on their own can go a long way.

 

About a year ago, I came up with a great analogy that has really helped reinforce the importance of doing some minimal work to help clear up general, foundational movement. Like I said previously, in order to enhance our results, we’re going to need our clients doing a little extra reinforcement on their own. When I’m explaining the corrective exercise/s to clients, I’ll usually bring up the antibiotic analogy. Since I’ve started using this analogy, I’ve seen an increase in compliance. I think relating something new (corrective exercise or specific warm-ups) to something their familiar with (taking an antibiotic) helps them understand a little better…and with a better understanding comes an increase in adherence.

 

If you know anything about antibiotics, you should know that when you’re prescribed an antibiotic, you usually have to take it a few times a day for a set number of days, or until your prescription is gone. Even if you start to feel a little better within the first day, you’ll still take the prescription until it’s gone. The consistency of taking your medications helps your body heal. Corrective exercise is no different. Both mobility and motor control issues can take some time to clear up, and honestly it varies from individual to individual, so improving consistency is one of the most important things you can do. Their lifestyle and other non-gym related activities are more than likely a leading culprit to the way they move, so the more you can intervene and put in some reinforcements the better.

 

So, if you’re having any issues with compliance with your clients, I’d suggest using this analogy. The ability to relate this new concept to something they’re familiar with will help enhance your results while making your clients and prospects much happier. Clients and prospects are always happy when they understand things and feel comfortable. If you consistently talk over their head and fail to understand how to relate things to things they’re familiar with, you’re probably going to have issues with compliance. Hope this analogy helps improve your clients’ adherence to your programming and helps you get some serious results. As always, I’d love to hear any questions you guys have in the comments below.

Breaking down the T-Spine

Have you ever struggled with shoulder mobility issues…either with yourself, or with some of your clients? If so, the thoracic spine should be the first place to check. When we see limitations within shoulder mobility, one of the first things we need to do is to screen out the T-Spine. This will give us the information to help guide our programming. I’m going to write a different program and choose different exercises based upon my findings, so this additional information can come in to be extremely valuable when you’re developing a program.

 

When I’m looking at the T-Spine, I want to see a few different motions and see what it can and can’t do. I’m going to check to see how well you can flex your T-Spine and go into a flexion pattern. I’m also going to address extension and see how well the T-Spine tolerates extension patterns. Finally, I’m going to see how well the T-Spine rotates. The combination of flexion, extension, and rotation give you a complete snapshot of what’s going on with the spine. The screens I’m going to show you below will help you breakdown the T-spine and dial in your upper body programming.

 

 

In the videos, I talk about the range of motion you should be able to see within the spine. First things first…we need to find out if we’re dealing with a mobility issue, or a stability issue. If we find limitations, we’re going to address either the mobility or stability problem that’s limiting the spine to move well. Review the videos above to find out more about how to identify if it’s a true mobility issue, or if the limitation is coming from a stability or motor control issue. These findings will help guide your programming. Check out the videos below to see how we address both mobility and stability. These are a few of our favorite exercises and drills to help improve the way the T-spine moves:

 

Mobility:

Foam Roll TSpine

Tennis Ball TSpine

Bench TSpine Ext.

Assisted Lumbar Locked Reachbacks

Stability:

Prone T Spine Ext.

What’s That Back There?

Upper Rolling Prone to Supine

Quadruped Reachbacks

Kneeling Rotations

 

Getting the Most out of Your Medicine Balls

Medicine balls are one of my absolute favorite training tools out there. I use them all the time, and I use them with just about everyone. Since the medicine ball is one of our most popular training tools we use in the gym, understanding a thing or two about them comes in handy…especially if you’re training groups or have minimal equipment to choose from.

 

Size Doesn’t Matter

If you’re training for general fitness and not looking for any specific speed adaptations, choosing the ball size is simple…It Doesn’t Really Matter. Using some basic physics equations, you’ll quickly be able to see that we can get the same power output with two different size balls. Let’s look at a quick example:

 

Power = Work / Time

Work = Force x Distance

Power Equation

I’m going to make up a quick scenario to help explain:

John uses a 10lb. medicine ball to do some overhead slams, and Will does the exact same exercise as John…only he’s using a 5lb. ball instead. John and Will are about the same height, weight, and pretty similar in strength. So, if John and Will are using different size medicine balls, are they both able to develop the same amount of power?

The answer is YES!

 

Let’s do the math real quick.

Since we need to know what Work is to determine Power outputs, we’ll start there.

 

John

Force = 10lb. medicine ball

Distance = Let’s say the ball travels 5 feet while doing the exercise

10 x 5 = 50

So…Work = 50

 

Power = Work (50) / Time

Let’s say the medicine ball slam took 1 second to complete

Power = 50 / 1

Power Output = 50

 

Will

Force = 5lb. medicine ball

Distance = 5 feet

5 x 5 = 25

So…Work = 25

 

Power = 25 / Time

Let’s say the medicine ball slam took half the time since the weight is cut in half, so .5 seconds

Power = 25 / .5

Power Output = 50

Even though John and Will are using different size medicine balls, they’re still able to generate the same power output with this exercise. So, if you’re working with groups, encourage your participants to grab different size medicine balls as they go through each round. If they used a 10lb ball the first round, have them switch to a smaller ball and encourage them to move the ball quicker.

 

Choosing the Right Ball

Medicine balls come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I definitely have a favorite, but the two common types of balls I use on a regular basis are:

 

Dynamax or Perform Better Padded Medicine Balls

 

PB Med Ball

 

These medicine balls have less rebound and are softer to the touch. Not only are these medicine balls softer to the touch, the larger size typically makes them easier to handle. This comes in great if you’re using medicine balls for partner exercises. The softer they are and easier to catch…the better.

 

Non-Padded Medicine Balls

If you take away the padding, you’ll typically get a ball that has lots of rebound. These medicine balls are great for long tosses into a brick wall, or they also help improve the speed of the rebound effect. If you’re dealing with a coordinated individual, this quick rebound can come in handy to promote a completely different training effect over what a padded ball can do.

 

Most of our clients use the padded balls above. However, I’ll specifically give some people a non-padded ball and work on tempo slams to give them a different training stimulus.

 

PB Med Balls 2

 

Slam Balls

These are another great option for the less coordinated individual. Since they are filled with sand, they will immediately die when they hit the floor. There will be little to no rebound, so if you are working with someone that has poor reactive abilities, this ball may be a good option for them. They’ll still be able to generate a lot of power with these balls, however, they won’t have to worry about the skill of catching a rebound. Slam balls are great, but they do require some mobility to pick up from the ground each time. If you’re having a tough time keeping good form to return the ball, simply try doing more kneeling medicine ball work with these. This will eliminate the repetitive bending of the spine or poor squatting mechanics to get the ball each time.

PB Slam Ball

If you have any questions about how to best utilize a medicine ball in group training, I’d love to hear it. Also, I’d love to hear some of your favorite medicine ball drills for group training. Feel free to post in the comments section below…I’d love to help or quite possibly get some cool ideas from you.

3 Tips to Become a Better Large Group Training Coach IMMEDIATELY

Over the past year, I’ve really been focusing on team development and trying to help the coaches at our gym continue to get better. I have no idea how many new coaches and interns I’ve helped coach up, but I can definitely say that it’s more than I can count on my fingers and toes. During our internship and new hire process, I always work on having new coaches work on three things specifically. These three things can be done by anybody, and they can be done immediately. You don’t have to get smarter, learn anything about form and technique, or take any time whatsoever to implement these three tips, and if you do…you’ll immediately become a better, more inspiring coach.

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  1. Project Your Voice – If you’re reading this article, I’m pretty confident you know exactly what I’m talking about. Whether you’re in the position to be training new coaches, or you simply think back to your first 10-20 group sessions you’ve ever coached, being quiet and timid is pretty darn common…especially if you’re having your supervisor or mentor sitting in the back scrutinizing your every move.

 

Being able to project your voice not only helps improve communication during the session, it also helps give the coach a sense of confidence that is noticeable to the clients. I’ve been coaching groups for a long time now, and being loud has become second nature. After you start to practice vocalizing and projecting your voice, the group sessions will have a new sense of energy, and the clients will know they have a leader helping guide the way. I can’t stress the importance of this. Get loud or get out! If you can’t project your voice, you won’t cut it at our gym. If being loud terrifies you, I’d recommend sticking to personal training.

 

  1. Be Conscious of Your Body Language – Believe it or not, what you say while coaching doesn’t matter all that much. The actual words that flap out of your jaw while rambling during the session aren’t even comprehended by a vast majority of the people that are training hard. Communication consists of three main components: body language, tone of voice, and actual spoken words.

 

The words you actually say during any conversation only account for 7% of how the message will be interpreted. I’m willing to go out on a limb and guesstimate that percentage is less than 5% if you’re in the middle of a training session. The other 93% come from body language and tone of voice. 93%!!! Body language makes up 55% and tone of voice helps make up the remaining 38%. If you’re playing by the numbers, improving body language should be of the upmost importance. If you can enhance your body language and project your voice, you’ve just became a much more effective communicator and coach. Don’t put your hands in your pockets. Don’t cross your arms while coaching or talking to clients. This is a very closed off position and not very welcoming. Smile regularly. Use hand gestures and be a little animated. These are only a few things I want to see from all of our coaches. Work on body language and improve your skills in coaching with very little effort.

 

  1. Minimize the Quiet Time – Nothing kills the environment in a group training session more than quiet time. If the coach isn’t being loud or they’re not saying much throughout, the energy in the room can drop immediately. That cannot happen under any circumstance. A major component of the group-training environment is the high energy and competitiveness it provides. If the coach is continuously talking and making him/herself recognized, the session simply has more value. Your clients will work harder, the environment is just more fun, and your business will start to grow.

 

Girl making the sign of silence. woman with silence sign pop art illustration

Remember the percentages from above. It’s not really about what you say…it’s more about HOW you say it. I constantly talk throughout each session. If I’m not specifically coaching a client one-on-one for a brief period of time, I’m constantly saying something. So, I’m either fixing form or speaking to the group the entire time. The only time I shut the hell up is when I’m personally coaching somebody. It’s not really cool to yell in someone’s face, so I hold that for when I’m moving between stations and clients that need the adjustments.

 

If you have the systems in place to make a group training session that is replicable, understanding these three things will help you put out a better product, or session. If you’re using the Smart Group Training System currently, you should know exactly what I’m talking about. The SGT System has helped us put together an amazing training program that any new coach or intern can start to have major success with., very quickly. Even with our high standards, we’re able to put together pretty solid coaches within 5-6 weeks. The system takes care of the workout, so our new coaches need to learn how to run the system, which is extremely easy, and learn these three tips above.

 

If you haven’t checked out The Smart Group Training System, be sure to grab a copy today. The system we’ve created over the past 5 years has helped us tremendously and I’m confident it will help you as well. Check out the SGT System today!

The System Logo

How to Improve Stride Length and Gait Patterns with Simple Exercises

The vast majority of the people that come in to our gym for the first time can barely touch their toes or even simply raise their leg off the ground without compensating.  This is a pretty big deal, if you ask me.  Think about it…An Active Straight Leg Raise, as shown in the picture below, is simply a normal gait pattern of walking, only done on the ground.  Putting someone on the ground eliminates the need for stability since we gain that extra stability or support from the floor. If  you can’t do it on the floor, you’re probably not going to be able to do it while you’re on your feet.

leg

A normal straight leg raise should be done actively to somewhere around 70°,  or passively to somewhere around 80°.  If someone starts compensating before that, you can rest assured they’re going to have a limited gait pattern and have a tough time separating reciprocal hip flexion/extension.  Improving stride length is not only a way to make athletes faster and more efficient, it’s also a way to help every individual stay healthy and pain free.  We need to be able to flex and extend our hips in an alternating pattern without compensation, so I want to show you a couple of simple ways you can start improving gait pattern and stride length with minimal equipment.  These are very simple, but extremely effective, so if you’re working on improving your straight leg raise, enhancing your stride length, or making your gait pattern fluid and efficient, give these exercises a shot.

 

BAND LEG LOWERING

KB BENT KNEE LEG LOWERING W/ ROTATION

LEG LOWERING 2

These are just three examples I’ve pulled from our B3 bundle.  With this bundle, we’ve incorporated simple exercises that require minimal equipment and produce a MAJOR bang for your buck.  If you’re strapped for cash and can’t buy a gym full of fancy equipment, you can still get amazing results by incorporating some of the exercises from our B3 bundle.  We’ll help improve your movement, get you strong, and provide you with some workouts that you can do using nothing more than your own body weight, a resistance band, and a kettlebell.  It doesn’t take a ton of equipment to design a killer program, so check it out if you’d like to see more.  It’s on sale this week (November 3-6, 2015), so grab your copy by Friday and save $50.

sgt

 

FMS Systems Case Study

After reading Steve’s latest article, I felt compelled to elaborate a little more and to show you guys what we’re currently working on to improve our results. I’m going to explain a current client we have, what issues came up, and our solutions to addressing what we found.

The article I’m referring to is on the Functional Movement SYSTEMS. The FMS is more than just a movement screen. Their entire organization is based around creating “Standard Operating Procedures” designed to improve movement, both in terms of communication and practical application. They’ve done an amazing job at creating IF/THEN scenarios, creating flow charts telling you where to go, and creating solutions based upon individual findings.

There are countless variables that come into play when you’re working with a human being, but the Functional Movement Systems have helped narrow down the process and give you WAY more information to work with. A skilled fitness professional, strength coach, or therapist is always going to get more out of the system. However, since we’ve got systems in place, our younger and more experienced coaches can now replicate what the skilled professional is doing…to a certain extent. Essentially, using these systems will help narrow the gap between the best-of-the-best. We’re still learning a ton on a daily basis, and using these systems within our business has proven to be our most valuable asset. Teaching these systems to our trainers has allowed us to get amazing results without having to do all the work ourselves. Let me show you an example of how we used the Functional Movement SYSTEM (combination of FMS and Y Balance) to work with one of our clients recently.

Here’s a quick recap of what’s going on with Toni. One of our clients, Toni, recently complained of mild, acute back pain. Occasionally her low back would hurt after a long day on her feet, lack of activity, and sometimes from her workout. She really couldn’t pinpoint anything that was directly related to her low back pain, so our first action step is to set up a movement screen to see what’s going on. This not only allows us to look at her movement patterns, but it’s also a great session to set aside some time to talk to her about what’s going on in her life and get lifestyle issues that may be relating to the pain. Win/Win. So that’s what we did…we set up the initial session and started screening.

Here is what her screen looked like:

 

FMS Case Study

After taking Toni through the initial FMS, we found her only red light or dysfunctional pattern to be the push up. She’s had this issue for awhile now, but she also used to have a rotary stability dysfunction but recently cleared the pattern. After taking her through the screen, I still wasn’t convinced she had adequate stability. We already found out that her Trunk Stability Push Up was dysfunctional, but I wanted to find out more. So, I decided to run a couple quick breakouts and a Y-Balance Test with her. I am definitely no expert with the Y-Balance Test yet, but I’m getting some interesting information and seeing a ton of value.

As Steve said in his previous article, The Functional Movement Screen has a bias towards mobility. Stability is addressed, but mobility and basic motor control are the main drivers behind the screen. Adding the Y-Balance Test to the equation allows the Functional Movement Systems to exploit both areas…Mobility with the FMS and stability with the Y-Balance Test. In my short experience with the Y-Balance Test, I can see a ton of value moving forward.

The Y-Balance Test allows us to narrow down stability or motor control issues to a specific quadrant or quadrants. Just like the Functional Movement Screen, there are certain criteria that must be met. If you find a dysfunction, simply mark it and move on. After doing the test with Toni, we found two specific quadrants to be of concern. Her upper left quadrant and her lower left quadrant. Basically, her left side didn’t function like the right. There was a pretty obvious asymmetry, and the Y-Balance Test exploited that.

 

Jared_Quadrants

Now that we have results from both the FMS and Y-Balance Test, it’s time to start to use that information for her programming. Here is the selection we gave her for correctives:

Lower Rolling (left side only) – This was one of the breakout screens we did prior to the Y-Balance Test. We found an asymmetry here on both upper and lower rolls to the left. The Y-Balance Test confirmed the rolling breakout.

 

Upper Rolling (left side only)

 

Stability Ball Rockback w/ Arm Lift (raise right arm only)

 

 

 

Half Turkish Get-Up (bell in right hand)

The only other thing I’d like to note with Toni was how it affected her program. You can see the correctives we did with her, but her programming was also affected slightly as well. Since she’s a group client, we went through the group program we’re currently in and made some minor changes. I had her eliminate most, if not all, bilateral work and started to exploit that asymmetry with her program. For example, one of the programmed exercises was a progression of Goblet Squats or KB Front Squat, a bilateral squatting exercise. All I did with her was switch it from doing the KB Goblet or Front Squat to an Offset Front Squat, doing more on that left side we found to be dysfunctional.

All in all, I think that was a solid hour spent with one of our clients. I was able to find a major asymmetry, dial in her corrective strategy, and make minor changes to her program to help her improve. I’ll re-screen her within a few weeks and see what happens.

That’s the kind of SYSTEM I’m talking about. The Functional Movement Systems have helped us dial in our programming and getting better results with our clients. We’ve taken what works for us in our gym, created a system around it, and made a process easy to follow with our coaches and trainers. Smart Group Training: The System will help you learn how to use a system like this within your gym. If you want more information and want help dialing in your programming like that, check out SGT: The System today!

 

P.S. – SGT: The System just launched this week and is currently on sale. Pick up a copy before midnight Friday, August 14th and you’ll be able to save $100.

 

FMS – The S Stands for Systems

FMS is More Than a Screen

I recently attended the Perform Better Summit, and once again it was great. After each seminar or workshop I always try to think of the one biggest takeaway that I got from that particular event. After this summit I was most excited about how the FMS team is starting to talk more about the system.

I think we all the know the FMS as the Functional Movement Screen, but what most people don’t realize is that the FMS screen is part of a bigger FMS. Functional Movement Systems.

The FMS screen is just one part of a bigger system including the SFMA, Y Balance Test, and FCS. Let me quickly explain each one of these integral parts of the system.

Functional Movement Screen (FMS) – The FMS is the foundation screen in which the rest of the system was created. The FMS is your pre participation screen to see what your clients should and shouldn’t be doing. For the most part, the FMS should be done with people who are NOT in pain going into the screen. The goal of the FMS is to find any painful or dysfunctional movement patterns in order to make sure you don’t make things worse with a fitness or training program. There are different breakout screens for each of the movements in the FMS if you want to dig deeper into finding out how to quickly fix a compensatory pattern. The FMS is not a tool used to diagnose pain. That is what the SFMA is for.

Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) – The SFMA is an assessment system used by clinicians to dig deeper when client are in pain. When a trainer finds pain on the FMS it is great to have someone on the same page to talk with to be able to effectively help your clients. The FMS and SFMA compliment each other well as part of a bigger system. When a client has a SFMA clinician and an FMS trainer you can bet they are in good hands.

Y Balance Test (YBT) – I originally learned about the Y Balance Test quite a few years ago, but never really dug too deep into using it. Honestly, I said that I don’t want to use something that required another kit. That was a stubborn way to think, because the Y Balance is definitely worth the price of the kit. The biggest knock on the FMS is that it’s not comprehensive enough. Most people who say that don’t fully understand the screen, but in some ways those people are correct. Gray said over the weekend to think of the FMS as more of the mobility test and the YBT as more of the stability test. After doing just a few Y Balance Tests in the last week, I can already tell this information is the missing link for those few people who score satisfactory on the screen, but you can tell still need work. There’s not much more I can say about it at this time because I’m still a rookie, but you can bet I’ll be mastering the YBT in the near future.

Fundamental Capacity Screen (FCS) – The newest addition to the system as a whole is the FCS. This is more of your performance testing when needed. Once your clients are pain free, have cleared the FMS, and have acceptable Y Balance Scores, the FCS screen comes into play. This is honestly brand new stuff, and the company is still setting the standards, but I think this is a great compliment to the system. With the addition of the FCS, you have a screening and placement system from people that are broken down and in pain with the SFMA, all the way up to high performers with the FCS.

Those are quick explanations that really don’t do the entire system much justice. I highly recommend checking out functionalmovement.com and look into taking a course to get certified. That way you can start using a system with your practice, because things start to become clearer and easier the better the systems you use.

 

 

 

– Steve Long

 

PS – If you are thinking of becoming FMS Certified and want to do the online study course we have a great deal for you. Due to our great relationship with FMS we have secured a 10% discount for you on the FMS HSC. Just use coupon code SGT10 at checkout for the special SGT discount.

Here is a link to the FMS Home Study Course http://functionalmovement.com/store/fms_home_study_course

Putting the PERSONAL in Group Personal Training

Justin Yule, owner of Chanhassen Fitness Revolution and Smart Group Training Advisory Board Member, gives us an insight to their client management system and how they personalize the experience for each member, and literally walks us through the process.  Justin was one of the first people using the Smart Group Training system and he’s been one of the driving forces to help push the system along.  He’s taken our system, made it unique to his own business, and he’s had tremendous success because of it.

 

Watch the video below to see how Justin’s using Smart Group Training within his gym.  He’s definitely done a good job of making group training an individualized experience.  We’re proud to have Justin on our Advisory Board and he truly embodies our motto: “Putting the PERSONAL in Group Personal Training.”  Hopefully Justin can help give you a pointer or two on personalizing the group training experience.

Breaking Out the Rotary Stability Screen

With our next breakout we are moving on the Stability Pod with the Rotary Stability Screen. I’ve definitely seen this screen scored incorrectly quite a bit, so even if you are not new to the FMS I highly recommend clicking the link below to watch a quick video on performing and scoring the Rotary Stability Screen.

Smart Group Training – Rotary Stability Performing and Scoring the FMS

So why do we use the rotary stability screen anyway? Why should you care if your client can do a bird dog over a board?

The rotary stability screen is the first of two screens in the FMS that check core function. We use the rotary stability screen to check “inner core” or “soft core” function and we use the trunk stability push up to check “outer core” or “hard core” function. The inner core is more of the reflexive core that requires subconscious timing and is the core that is rarely specifically trained in the gym. You can’t train your inner core with sit-ups, crunches, or planks. It needs to be reflexive and subtle.

So what do we do when someone scores a 1 on the Rotary Stability Screen on the FMS? What are we looking for? How should we break it out?

One thing to keep in mind when someone scores a 1 on the Rotary Stability is the FMS Hierarchy. It is important to note that if someone has a 1 on the Active Straight Leg Raise or the Shoulder Mobility screens, you are in the wrong place trying to work on the Rotary Stability screen. We want to get the mobility issues off of the table before working on this pattern so make sure that is the case before proceeding. So technically, the first two breakouts for the Rotary Stability screen are the Active Straight Leg Raise and the Shoulder Mobility screen on the FMS. The only mobility issues that should affect the Rotary Stability screen are:

The ability to extend the hip: This is covered in ASLR

The ability to flex the shoulder: This is covered in SM

The ability to touch the elbow to the knee: This should be covered if you have 2’s on both the ASLR and SM. If they have the mobility to pass the ASLR and they have the mobility to pass the SM but can’t touch the knee to the elbow in quadruped its most likely not a mobility issue, chances are it’s a stability issue, and we would be in the perfect place to start correcting the core. Sometimes it’s possible that the stomach is too large to touch the knee to the elbow as well, but this should be very rare.

So we should be in a place at this point where mobility is not an issue and we are deciding how to correct the Rotary Stability dysfunction. From here I will look at a few things

Breathing

Supine Breathing

Crocodile Breathing

Quadruped Breathing

Depending if the breathing needs work I will give them breathing exercises in the position that they are struggling with. You can see examples of those breathing corrections below in the breathing track.

From there I will look at their rolling patterns. I want to look at all four rolls to see what they can and can’t do and in the also determine which roll needs the most work.

Rolling

Lower Rolling

Upper Rolling


 

So here’s how it all works. If they can’t breath they go to the breathing track. If they can’t roll we go to the rolling track, and if they can roll perfectly in all patterns they go to the quadruped track.

 

Breathing Track

Supine Breathing

Crocodile Breathing

Quadruped Breathing

 

Rolling Track

Lower Rolling

Upper Rolling

 

Quadruped Track

Bubblegum Farts (Stability Ball Rockback)

Bird Dog Arms

Bird Dog Legs

Bird Dog

Bird Dog Hold

 

Once we get the pattern corrected and have symmetrical 2’s on the Rotary Stability Screen you want to incorporate that stability in some functional patterns such as:

 

One Leg Elevated Push Up (one leg elevated, one leg on floor)

½ Kneeling Chops and Lifts

Offset Deadlifts, Squats, and Carries

This is the strategy I use to dig deeper into Rotary Stability 1’s and get people’s cores working in synergy with their extremities. I hope this gives you a better understanding of the Rotary Stability Screen and what to do when someone has dysfunction in that pattern.

Hard and Soft: A New Way at Looking at the FMS

If you’ve been following Smart Group Training for any time whatsoever, I’m sure you already know we’re all about the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and the results it can deliver in your training programs.  We use it on a daily basis at our gym and we’ve had a TON of success by using this screening tool.  Honestly, without the screen, I’m not even sure where I’d begin with developing an individualized program anymore.  I hate being reliant on a tool, but the FMS is one tool I don’t mind hanging my hat on.

There are several reasons why I love the FMS, and the improved communication is towards the top of that list.  If I’m trying to discuss a training program with another professional, using the FMS’s scoring criteria drastically helps create an understanding of what’s going on with an individual.  If we’re talking and you’re able to tell me a client of yours has a 1/1 on the Active Straight Leg Raise and has another pair of 1’s on the Rotary Stability screen, I’m going to have a much better idea of what’s going on with that person. For those of you unfamiliar with the scoring criteria of the FMS, it’s pretty simple.  All the movements are scored somewhere between a zero through a three.

0 = Pain with the movement

1 = Major Limitations and Dysfunction with the Movement Pattern

2 = Acceptable Movement Pattern.  Performed w/ some compensation.

3 = Perfect Movement Pattern.  Zero compensations present.

Understanding the scoring criteria is the first thing you need to do when it comes to the FMS.  I’m not here to go over what’s a one, two, or three with this article.  We have that covered in our Performing and Scoring the FMS section on our blog.  You can find out how to score the FMS here. However, I do want to discuss the clients that score a one on any given movement pattern.

Since my return from the Perform Better Functional Training Summit in Chicago this last June, I see at the people scoring 1’s on the screen in a whole new way.  Charlie Weingroff, a huge believer in the FMS, helped paint a picture in my head that makes perfect sense.  During his presentation, he talked about something he called hard and soft.  If someone scores a one on the movement screen, he wants to know if the score is hard or soft.

Hard or Soft?  What the hell does that even mean?

Let me explain by giving an example.

John and Jane are new clients coming in to work with you.  You performed the FMS and found that both of these individuals have a pair of one’s on the Active Straight Leg Raise.  Sweet.  You found the weakest link…now what?

If you’re using the FMS and having great success, I’m sure you’re well aware that there are breakout screens/assessments that can help identify why the dysfunction is there in the first place. After performing these breakouts, you can usually find out if the dysfunction is a true mobility issue, or if the problem lies in stability or motor control.

Let’s get back to John and Jane.

John got a pair of 1’s on his straight leg raise.  After doing the breakouts, we found out that mobility was his issue.  He had a dysfunctional straight leg raise, so we had him try to touch his toes while standing…he couldn’t.  He then could not touch his toes while sitting on the floor.  It looked identical to the standing toe touch.  Finally, we checked his passive straight leg raise by doing a simple “hamstring stretch” only to find out that passive versus active were identical as well.

This is what we would call a hard 1 on the Active Straight Leg Raise.  If you’re a hard 1 on the screen, this simply means there is something going on in the body that is preventing full range of motion or inhibiting the movement pattern.  It could be one, or a combination, of multiple factors leading to the mobility issue like: soft tissue restrictions, trigger points, scar tissue, bony restrictions, and structure of your joint capsules.  Some of these things can be changed, while others are never going to change without surgery.    The important thing to know is that there is something going on in the body that’s limiting the pattern.    When you get a hard 1 as a trainer, a good physical therapist or chiropractor can be your greatest friend.

 

Now let’s look at Jane.

Remember, Jane also scored a pair of 1’s on the Active Straight Leg Raise.  Being that both her and John had the same weakest link, we did the same breakouts we did w/ John.  However, the results were different…

John wasn’t able to touch his toes, standing or seated.  Jane, on the other hand, could.  She was able to touch her toes both standing and seated.  When we checked John’s straight leg raise passively, it was the same as his active straight leg raise.  When we checked Jane’s, it was substantially different.  She was able to go another 20-30 degrees passively.

After doing these simple breakouts, we were able to find out that Jane is what we classify a soft 1 on the Active Straight Leg Raise.  She’s still a 1 on the screen, but her training and corrective strategies are going to be different than John’s.  If we’re working with John, we’re going to need to address the tissue restrictions and joint limitations before training.  Maybe we can’t change something.  Maybe John has a spike in his leg that he has to get surgery on (true story).  Cool.  We just need to know this because now we can program around that.   If we’re working with Jane, we may take a different approach.  With Jane, she has the freedom of her joints and body to move in the way we’re looking for.  She just doesn’t have the stability or motor control to translate that into good movement.

We’re in the process of building out a section on the blog that covers these breakouts in depth.  You can check out the breakouts and determine if someone is a hard 1 or a soft 1 on the screen.  Understanding this truly helps separate yourself from the rest of the pack and will dramatically help improve your results.

Check out the one we did on the Active Straight Leg Raise here.

Hope this helps!  It’s been pure gold for me!