Tag Archives: mobility

Key Spinal Mobility Drills

Every month at Force Fitness and Performance, I pick out a “challenge” movement for our personal training crew. We all come together at the 1/2 hour mark through a session and work on something together to build movement literacy. I find this is a fantastic touch point to build community and share concepts ideas in the Semi-Private Personal Training format.

This month, we’re looking at Spinal Mobility. Your spine craves mobility – you are as old as your spine! Something that’s often overlooked in today’s training world is the ability to segment and move the spine in lots of different ways. As we continue to embrace a MOVEMENT CULTURE rather than a FITNESS culture, unlocking your spine is a key component and one way to break outside of the box ;).

How to Fix Scapular Winging PART 2! – Following Up with Tessa

Tessa and I received a TON of questions about our Scapular Winging video – how was she doing? How long did it take to “fix” her winging? Etc.  So, we shot a quick update video that explains my take on WHY scapular winging happens, what it will take to make a fix “stick”, and take a look at 3 more exercises you can add to your quiver when programming around scapular winging.  Enjoy!

Original Strength w/ Tim Anderson

Tim Profile Pic

This week I am so thankful to have long-time friend and mentor Tim Anderson on the pod. Tim is the co-founder of Original Strength Systems and Original Strength Institute. Original Strength is built around the idea that “you were not made to be broken” and seeks to “set the world free through movement.”  That message really resonated with me when I went to my first OS workshop over three years ago, and has inspired me ever since.

Quick story in case you don’t know – after the first Original Strength Level 2 (now Pro Reset) course, I was overwhelmed with info and reached out to Tim for help.  Not only did he take me under his wing, he helped me get to multiple events to help teach and put me on the fast track to becoming an Instructor for OS.  His door has always been open and it amazes me how he has done this not only for me, but for so many others.

We cover a ton of ground in this conversation – essentially it is me boiling 3-years of “What I’ve Learned from Tim” down into a 90 minute podcast.  We cover the resets, recharging your batteries, becoming your own chef, mentorship, and much much more!  I really loved this time I got with Tim and hope you do too!

For more info, check out the links below!
Website (blog and workshop schedule): http://originalstrength.net/
Youtube (for weekly movement snacks): https://www.youtube.com/user/OriginalStrengthSys
Book (if you don’t know, now ya know): https://www.amazon.com/Pressing-Reset-Original-Strength-Reloaded/dp/1624220290/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473098858&sr=8-1&keywords=original+strength+reloaded

When a Reset Doesn’t Stick

(Author’s Note:  I originally wrote this post for the guys at Original Strength, so the references are to pressing reset in particular.  Pressing reset, in Original Strength terms, is using the developmental sequence to re-tap into how we originally learned to move in order to restore movement.  However, the concepts I talk about below apply to any type of mobility or movement practice.  Enjoy!)

Once you’ve been pressing reset for a while, things just start to click.  Until they don’t.  Something that felt smooth and connected one day might feel awkward and disconnected the next.  So what gives?  How often do we need to press reset before the movement “sticks”?  In my practice and coaching experience, the amount of pressing reset someone needs to do tracks right along with the effects of their modern lifestyle and environment.

modern lifestyle environment.001

If we were to press reset and then spend most of our time moving like humans (i.e. squatting/locomoting/throwing/etc.), our “reset” would likely be maintained.  To keep with the computer analogy, we are running fully updated and integrated software and hardware so we don’t experience frozen screens or bugs that require us to press reset as often.

However, most of us don’t do these things as often as our genes expect.  Our modern lifestyle in many ways disconnects our minds and bodies rather than ties them together.  For me, this is a part of why Original Strength is so powerful – it gives us an entry point (THE first entry point for all humans!) into movement and the mind-body connection.

What else can we learn by critically analyzing our modern environment through the OS lens?  If we know the importance of sensory integration for motor output (i.e. being able to get a lot of rich information to the brain so we can make better movement decisions), and that by breathing, stimulating the vestibular system, and crossing the midline we can reset this system, what simple modifications can we make to our daily environments and habits to keep our software running smoothly, for longer?  That way, not only are we taking positive action by restoring our original operating system, we’re also doing our best to avoid spam and viruses along the way.

Eliminating the Negative

This concept isn’t a new one.  Those of you familiar with Gray Cook and the Functional Movement Screen will recognize this concept from Gray’s work.  Much of his time spent working with professional athletes is not prescribing MORE corrective exercise and movement, but identifying potential red flags and eliminating exercises that aren’t getting us anywhere.

That’s the same concept I want to use now, only applied to our daily standard of living through the OS lens.  In particular, three things jump to the forefront of my mind.  Let’s call them the 3  S’s.

Screens – Screens have become ubiquitous in our culture.  Computers, smart phones, tablets, televisions, you name it.  While this technology enables us to do amazing things, it also keeps our eyes and vision tied to one point for most of the day – straight ahead.  Our bodies our built so that the eyes lead movement, followed by the head, and then the body.  By locking our eyes/heads into one location with very little tracking or subsequent movement, we allow our reflexes to atrophy.

Action:  I won’t suggest that you try to completely eliminate screens from your life as that’s not reasonable for most of us.  However, simply taking breaks from looking at your screen to do some neck nods and re-integrate your eye/head movement will go a long way towards maintaining this connection.  Try installing a simple program such as TimeOut (Mac) or Workrave (Windows) which gives you preprogrammed breaks whenever you’re on your computer for an extended period of time.  Use the 15s breaks to look around and the longer breaks to do some resets or get up and walk around and connect with those around you.

Shoes – Our hands and feet are how we interact with and manipulate our environment.  As such, they have a high concentration of muscles, bones, nerves, and proprioceptors that allow us to sense and react to a world with changing conditions…until we put shoes on.  Shoes create a “one size fits all” sensory signal and reduce the complexity and richness of the proprioceptive feedback from that region.  It gets increasingly difficult for our brains to organize automatic “reflexive strength” if we deprive it of information about our current position in the world.  How much dexterity do you have in your hands when you put gloves on?  Apply that concept to your feet and you’ll see we have a ton of room to grow here.

Side note:  If you’re a strength coach, try this:  if you have someone who has trouble balancing in a squat, try having them remove their shoes and do the exact same movement.  It might throw them off for the first couple of repetitions, but as they gain a better sense of where they are automatically, you’ll see their form improve without any feedback from you.  Pretty cool.

Action:  Ease into barefoot.  It will take time to recondition the muscles in your feet just as it would if you had your arm in a cast for a while.  An easy first step is to go barefoot when at home or during your warm ups and resets in locations where you aren’t concerned about injuring your feet.  If you haven’t tried rockbacks while barefoot yet, you are missing out!

Sofas – …and chairs…and anything that promotes sitting in the “disembodied head” posture.  This is a term I coined to describe positions where the head moves but doesn’t dictate any reaction in the body, or when the head and body are completely disconnected from each other.  When we are sitting in sofas or chairs, we allow the shape of the furniture to passively keep us in a position instead of actively using our vestibular system and reflexive stability to keep our eyes on the vertical horizon.  That sounds like some detraining to me.  Note: this does not include sitting on the ground which is a very active and reflexive movement…yes I just called sitting a movement, because it is!  Which takes us to our action step.

Action:  Sit on the floor as much as possible, and use as little assistance as possible.  Change positions often.  You will feel how much more “active” this position is – you are constantly shifting your weight slightly in order to stay balanced and in control.  As with shoes, it is wise to ease into this practice.  In the beginning, it may be very challenging or uncomfortable.  Work within what your current capabilities are and they will expand.  Force yourself outside of them and you tend to stagnate or degrade them.

What about you?  What things do you notice about your environment and routines that could be dulling your reflexive strength?  Is there a simple change you can make to clear the path for better movement?

Warrior Poets w/ Josh Halbert

Episode 55: Warrior Poets w/ Josh Halbert

Today I am very happy to bring you a conversation with my friend and fellow coach Josh Halbert.  Josh (AKA “Get Chimpy”) brings a unique perspective to the table, blending philosophy with his own physical practice to create a holistic style of training for himself and his clients, who range from NFL Players to figure skaters and beyond.

I really enjoyed chatting with Josh about:

  • the importance of managing the nervous system
  • how environment affects all training inputs
  • float tanks and other ways to manage your autonomic response
  • how philosophy blends with coaching
  • handstands as an entry point to the movement culture
  •  and principle-based training

Check out more of Josh’s stuff on his facebook page or on instagram.  You won’t regret it!

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Want to join the conversation?  Have suggestions for future topics or guests?   Hit us up at thehumananimalpodcast@gmail.com, or like us at freefitguy on facebook, instagram, or twitter. (though really, I mainly post to facebook :).  Who can manage all these different social media accounts plus take care of your kids and family and coach full-time?)