Monday, August 3, 2009

Kinesiologic Assessment, Movement Deficits, and Restoring Your Body's Function

Over my twelve years of training clients, the most important thing I have found is that movement efficiency trumps all. That means, you should always move efficiently. Always. If you don't move efficiently, you will limit your physical abilities, either in the short-term or long-term. If you have movement deficits (such as short or lengthened muscles, muscle imbalance, joint misalignment, poor motor patterns, weakness, poor lifting or running technique, etc.) then you will not reach your potential and/or you will increase your risk of joint pain and injuries. If you don't know if you have any movement deficits then you definitely need guidance.

The other thing that I learned is that just about everyone has some, if not, many deficiencies. Inactivity and prolonged sitting contribute to the prevalence of deficiencies, but also, improper training technique and bad training programs also contribute. Many "Cookie Cutter" training programs (those that people see in a magazine, the internet; or just copy what others are doing in the gym) are not tailored to you and your needs. Many of these programs are 'muscle-building-oriented' or fat-burning-oriented'. With these very specific goals, it is easy to see how movement efficiency is overlooked. It is usually not even addressed. Take a look around the gym. Most people just walk in and start exercising. There is no gradual progression and they sure don't address their weaknesses (although they think they do by doing hundreds of crunches to try to burn fat off of their abdomen).

With all new clients I perform a Kinesiologic Assessment to address this very issue. This includes a client injury history, exercise/sports history, static & dynamic posture, passive & active individual joint movement analysis, and active movement analysis. This assessment gives me a ton of information about where you are starting from and what deficits need to be addressed. It is a lot easier to develop an appropriate program when you know where the client is starting.

Many people are probably thinking" I just want to lose a few pounds and get a little muscle tone, do I need to do all this? " Yes. If you want to be able to exercise consistently and at an intensity that will change your body, then you should do a Kinesiologic Assessment and train to improve your weaknesses. The older you get, the more deficits you will accumulate. If you learn how to train correctly, then you probably will not be spending any more time in the gym than usual; 90-135 minutes per week is enough time to see the results you want and keep yourself healthy for the long-term. A win-win situation.

Below is a mobility drill for someone who was assessed and found to have tight hips, poor lumbar spine stabilization, and weak glutes (fairly common). After a few sets, they may move into a similar strength exercise and then, possibly a speed-strength exercise (depending on their training history and needs).

Sumo Deadlift - Squat Mobility from Dan Hubbard on Vimeo.

This is a good exercise to promote or restore hip function. It teaches spinal stabilization, hip flexibility and proper muscle function.

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