How to: Complex movements to component pieces

How to: Complex movements to component pieces

It can be difficult to figure out why a certain action or activity is causing pain and dysfunction, or why something like a golf swing isn’t becoming stronger, more accurate or more powerful, no matter how much practice. 

It can be really helpful to take whatever that movement is and break it down into it’s component pieces. Here’s why:

  • We can identify what is moving well.
  • We can identify what isn’t moving well. 
  • We can identify which part(s) of the movement are hindering you.
  • We can come up with a plan to make movement patterns more efficient and less compensated.
  • We can improve range of motion if that’s something that is necessary and available. 
  • We can decrease pain (or other symptoms) and introduce ease into the activity. 

The result of all these things is better use of muscles, more comfort, better coordination between body parts… and more!

And from THAT comes a stronger golf swing, a more powerful stroke for swimming, better load through the legs and hips while running… Or being able to wash your own hair comfortably, get up out of bed in the morning, or get off the toilet. 

So, to give you an idea of how we do this, let’s break down a stretch that most people know and use for their tight hips.

  • Start off laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Notice how your back and pelvis meet the ground, and try to let any gripping in your body relax. 
  • Lift one foot off the floor by flexing your hip. Notice if any funky counterbalancing or, straining or bracing happens. See if you can find a smaller range where the movement happens with ease, or bring your feet up a slightly higher starting point like I demonstrate in the video. 
  • Start to play with the rotation you have available in your hip joint, so that our foot can eventually rest on your knee or thigh. Is your pelvis moving against the floor?
  • Rest your foot on the opposite leg and notice how things settle. Does your torso want to skew? Dip? Brace?
  • If you want to bring the legs in toward your chest for more sensation, notice if this requires you to peel your shoulders off the floor or lift your pelvis off the floor. If so, either stay in the grounded position, or use a strap around the thigh to support the leg in its flexed position.
  • If in stead of bringing the legs closer to the chest, you want to add a twist, let the raised foot start to lower to the floor, and notice when you spine stops twisting and your opposite shoulder starts lifting instead. 

This blog entry was written by Heather and is based on what she has seen work and not work for her clientele for over a decade. She is a career student who keeps her massage and yoga therapy training current, and does her best to keep up with the newest research and evidence that is constantly being released.

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