Improving Movement Quality: Training to Move Better

The importance of movement quality cannot be denied – we know that how we move as individuals can greatly impact both our risk of injury, and our capacity for physical performance – within this it becomes obvious that those who demonstrate higher measures of movement quality are less likely to get injured, while also having a higher capacity for performance.

And when we take a bit of time to think about it, the reasons for which become quite obvious.

If we move better (read: more efficiently), we will place less load through the passive support structures of the body and more load through the active structures of the body (muscles and tendons). This allows us to load the muscular system more efficiently, reducing energy leakage and injury risk – increasing both our physical performance and resilience to injuries.

On the opposite side of the proverbial coin, if we demonstrate poor movement quality (and as such move inefficiently) we are likely to have an increased risk of injury, while also having less capacity for performance.

And it is important to note, that the vast majority of us do not have optimal movement. In fact, I would go as far as to suggest that 99.9% of the broader population, athletic or not, have significant room for improvement when it comes to movement quality specifically.

This ultimately means that too many of us are at an unnecessarily high risk of developing an injury, in which we are also leaving all sorts of performance improvements on the table.

So the million dollar question becomes what?

 

How do we improve movement quality?

 

Targeted training interventions

 

While this answer may seem incredibly broad (most likely because it is), that doesn’t make it any less true.

You see, there is no cure all when it comes to movement quality. The way in which we move differs significantly between individuals, and subsequently, where we see limitations in movement quality also differs greatly from one person to the next.

While there are some targeted areas that often do need work irrespective of the individual (often more related to mobility than anything else), this doesn’t hold true for everyone.

On this note, more often than not, we need to take an individual approach with everyone – this means undertaking an individual movement quality assessment that highlights areas of dysfunction (typically requiring either improved mobility or stability), and then designing an individualised corrective exercise program targeted at improving those areas of dysfunction.

For most, this will start with improving the range of motion at specific joints that have been identified to be lacking in mobility, while also improving stability at those joints that are lacking stability. During this time, we will also take care to ensure that key muscle groups are firing properly, producing the movements that they should be producing.

And in combination with these more ‘corrective’ exercises, we will also focus on returning and improvising muscle strength and stability using large compound movements – ensuring that we not only improve function, but that we also carry those improvements over into real world scenarios.

And while this may sound like a somewhat length process, we can still see real change in a relatively short time.

With this in mind, I will use a client of mine as an example: for the sake of this post, we will refer to her as ‘Susan’.

Susan came to us with the intent to improve strength and general fitness, and improve upon her knee and low back pain – which had been quite constant over the last 5 or so years.

Her initial movement quality assessment suggested that she was lacking hip and trunk stability, while also showing limited ankle range of motion. Combines with this, she was extremely asymmetrical, showing very limited stability when loading through her left leg.

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So for 12 weeks we worked on restoring the range of motion at her ankles, improving her trunk and hip stability, while also placing a premium on restoring single leg strength and stability. Combined with this, we also focused on improving activation of the gluteal muscle groups, while developing strength through squat and deadlift regressions.

And ultimately, the results speak for themselves:

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After 12 weeks Susan saw HUGE improvements in both strength and stability, and her asymmetries were greatly improved.  Combined with this, Susan is now deadlifting her bodyweight for reps and can complete 3 chin ups completely unassisted – all with significant reductions in lower back and knee pain.

This provides a clear demonstration of not only how we can improve movement quality, but also how these improvements impact us on an individual level – effectively causing improved performance combined with significant reductions in pain and injury risk.

 

Now these results are not limited to just Susan. In fact, we are now taking on new clients, and would love to help you on your training journey.

We will help you improve performance, reduce injury risk, and increase function, through both a movement quality assessment and a serious training intervention.

And if you book through our online system we will give you 20% of your Movement Quality Assessment.

So take the first step to improved performance and book HERE.

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