It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been busy with a lot of little happenings in my life. I graduated from school. I went deer hunting for the first time, but wasn’t successful. I took my state practical exam for my license. I have been at the gym more for a combination of covering other trainers’ classes, on ramps, and personal training. I’ve been preparing my future massage room at the gym. I’ve been doing some of the wedding stuff, like putting a deposit on our location, meeting with an officiant, and getting an engagement/save-the-date photo shoot organized with my fiance. And napping. That always feels glorious.
Even though I’ve been busy, I still try to catch up on the interesting postings that appear on my social media. I also have certain blogs email me updates, so I’ve had to catch up on those, too. During this process, I’ve had some things cross my mind. Some are rhetorical, but some are me being genuinely curious.
It seems that every person has some sort of asymmetry or imperfection when it comes to movement. This is sort of the premise with PRI – to optimize the body’s natural asymmetries. Therefore:
1. Is it okay to train in what some would consider “improper” patterns to strengthen that line of movement? Dr. Andrea uses the example of a rock climber in this interview he did that he posted the other day. The body positioning necessary to make a climb will require things like hip and knee extension with your femur internally rotated. But wouldn’t many consider that pattern “improper”? I guess context matters.
2. Is always training neutral joint positions good? Imagine if your body was never prepared to tolerate forces that were outside of “neutral”. Taking the words of Ido Portal at the end of this clip and asking in question form, is there such a thing as improper alignment or just improper preparation?
3. Is it always beneficial to go full range-of-motion? I think it was a post by John Meadows on Facebook that got me thinking about this, so I did some Google searching and found this article he wrote titled: Only doing full ROM is crazy! It was after attending a RockTape seminar that I started thinking about full ROM. The host of the seminar, Dr. Le Cara, stated that he wouldn’t have his ball players perform full ROM of squats because of their long lever angles. Again, context matters, and posterior chain strengthening would be high on my priority list with squats that weren’t full ROM.
4. Thinking about movement and range of motion, it would seem to me that not being able to demonstrate a certain range-of-motion would be worse than training an improper ROM. Let’s go back to the rock climber. Let’s say the rock climber trained internal rotation of the hip. Is that worse than a rock climber who always trained in hip external rotation and abduction who had limited hip internal rotation? It would seem that a rock climber who can’t perform full hip internal rotation will end up injuring themselves climbing a mountain. Take, for example, this photo that I found using Google search.
Both of hips are in internal rotation. If she presses up with her left foot to make keep ascending up the side of this rock, and she lacked the necessary internal rotation to be capable of that, don’t you think she would injure herself? If you always train external rotation and lose the capacity to internally rotate, that leads me to my next point.
5. If one extreme is “bad”, why is the other extreme “good”? Let’s say you’re tying to work on your hip mobility and you’re trying to be a Supple Leopard with the goal to externally rotate your hips like a boss a the bottom of your squat. What if you end up losing some hip internal rotation range-of-motion because of it? Is one extreme okay because the other is labeled as “bad”? What if we went back to point #2: is it really about proper alignment or is more about proper preparation?
I don’t want it to seem like it’s okay to start training “improperly”, but that with proper progression over time (like any training adaptation), you can strengthen a certain movement pattern to be better prepared for handling a certain load. In this video, Dr. Spina says that injuries occur when the load imparted exceeds the load absorbing capabilities of the body.
How prepared are you for any unknown load that may be imparted to your body?