Pritchard: How to fix 2 common movement errors (column)
Better Version of You
In one of my recent articles, I highlighted the importance of corrective exercise and how to best implement it into a program.
If this concept remains foreign to you, that’s OK. It is simply a method aimed at enhancing movement quality and faulty kinematics. Additionally, I discussed how to both identify and insert these exercises into an already sound program for greatest efficacy.
In this article I will examine two common movement deficiencies, as well as exercises and progressions that can be used to correct them. This is by no means exhaustive, and it must be noted that if any movement causes pain or discomfort, it’s imperative that you be cleared by a medical professional prior to partaking in anything of the sort.
Unable to touch the toes
As we age, a common issue that arises is the inability to touch one’s toes.
While this may seem like a minor inconvenience, the consequences range from being unable to tie your own shoes, to serious back injuries while in a compromised position.
It is rudimentary to blame this issue on any one joint or muscle; the entire movement pattern must be fixed.
Whether it is the result of tight hamstrings, hip issues, or the inability to hip hinge properly, one of the best corrective exercise to help correct this is called “toe — touch — progression.” Start with a 2-3 inch block or weight placed underneath your front toes so that you are dorsiflexed. Place a foam roller or towel between your thighs and maintain a slightly bent knee position. Take a deep breath and reach upwards, then down towards your toes while squeezing the towel or foam roller between your thighs. Do this for approximately 10 reps and then repeat the process with both your heels elevated and then feet flat on the ground.
There are numerous video examples of this online at http://www.functionalmovement.com that can provide visual representation. If done correctly and implemented frequently enough, this exercise can greatly increase mobility in those who havee lost it.
Heel elevating during squatting
The squat is a difficult pattern to master, particularly when loaded.
One of the most common movement errors, besides knee collapse, is the heels leaving the ground.
While it can again be attributed to many factors, one of the best places to start is by working on some active dorsiflexion and ankle mobility. To start, assume a half kneeling position with one foot about a fist length away from a wall. Keeping an upright torso and the bottom of your foot glued to floor, rock your knee forward directly over your toes aiming to get all the way to the wall. If you cannot get there, this is a sign of perhaps some poor mobility. Do this for approximately 10-15 reps each side while holding in the stretched position for 3 seconds. Again, this may assist in reducing heel elevation during the squat pattern, but it is only one piece in the very large puzzle.
And there’s more
While the two movement deficiencies examined above are extremely common, several more exist and can be helped by similar simple exercises.
Whether the issue is lumbar flexion during a lunge, or excessive thoracic extension during an overhead press, qualified physiotherapists, athletic trainers, and even some strength and conditioning coaches can help assist. Remember that movement quality takes precedence over all performance parameters when training, and numerous resources are available to aid in the quest for better movement. As Gray Cook of Functional Movement Systems says, “Move well, and move often.”
Jimmy Pritchard has a BSc in Exercise Science from Colorado Mesa University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the director of strength & conditioning at Ski &Snowboard Club Vail. Contact him at 970-331-3513 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his website http://www.pritchardperformance.com.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.