Over the past decade, outside of the Functional Movement Systems (FMS, SFMA, Y-Balance), the Postural Restoration Institute, or PRI for short, has been another system or methodology we’ve adopted into our training programs. We don’t go all crazy with PRI specific correctives, unless specifically told to do so by our trusted resource, Nancy Hammond. However, we do look into posture and how people are positioned, and PRI helped us understand how to look at people and gave us a better understanding of what anatomy and position should look like to be in neutral.
We recently had Nancy come into our gym to give our team a brief overview of what PRI is and why it matters in the training world. Long story short…it’s all about position. If you’re in the right positions, you’re going to move better and minimize compensation. Check out the in-service and open your eyes to the world of “left-stance.”
I’ll be breaking out how we use this info in our gym and in our training in some upcoming articles, but let’s start with the in-service.
As a PRI certified physical therapist, Nancy Hammond can help you address your pain, perform better and/or prevent injury. After graduating from St Louis University as a physical therapist over 20 years ago, she has helped many patients achieve their goals. She sees PRI as the “missing tool in her toolbox”. Nancy utilizes PRI to discover “why” clients’ pain exists and address its root cause. She has a passionate interest in the science of postural restoration.
As an avid marathon runner, she has personally benefitted and experienced firsthand how system balance improves performance. In addition, PRI has enabled her to empower clients to take control of their health, so they understand how movement patterns can help prevent injury. Finally, as a mom of four active boys, PRI helps her appreciate that balance means more than managing busy lives. It also means understanding that every change (e.g., gait, braces, glasses, physical environment, puberty) impacts the harmony of their growing bodies.
The pelvic tilt is one of the most basic, low-level exercises you can do in any position. Simply taking the pelvis through a series of anterior and posterior tilts in multiple positions can add a tremendous value to your warm-ups. I’ve seen this exercise drastically reduce back pain, open up the hips a little, and teach people how to control their pelvis and lumbar spine.
If you’re stuck with some of your clients, check the pelvic tilt and see if they have the ability to control the pelvis as they take it through anterior and posterior tilts. They should be able to naturally tilt their pelvis forward and back without much effort. If there isn’t hardly any movement, this is no good. Also, if they CAN do it, we want to observe the effort level. We’ll see a lot of people that can take the hips through both forward and backward tilting. However, when they go through the posterior tilt portion, they’ll do a little “shake and bake.” The hips/lumbar spine may shake a little and you’ll notice that it’s a little challenging for them to control the movement…so the movement is there…it’s just hard to control.
Simply adding these into warm-ups, rehearsing during active recovery time, and sneaking them in periodically can have tremendous value. Try them in prone, supine, quadruped, kneeling, sitting, and standing. In each one of those positions, we’re looking for the ability to maintain proper breathing and the ability to do a series of pelvic tilts under control. If you’re not able to maintain a normal breathing pattern and have the ability to control your pelvis, lumbar spine, and rib cage (pelvic tilting), than you’re not going to progress to the highest levels in that position. You’re body may be able to do training in that position, but if breathing and low level posture is difficult or altered, you’re simply surviving the exercise and not truly adapting.
Start checking this with your clients and you’ll be surprised at how many people have issues with this. If you can retrain their brains and give them the awareness to control the pelvic tilt, they’re going to see the benefits. Give it a shot!
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:
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.
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.