Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I know... I know... Updates are coming soon

And they'll be well worth the wait, folks.

I know I've been more than a bit lax with blog updates. While I can join the rest of the crowd and blame it all on my new microblogging habits on Facebook & Twitter, the reality is that I've been hauling a$$ all over creation like a Chinaman with a burning rickshaw.

What have I been working on?

Aside from a plethora of changes in my personal life, my current area of deep investigation is centered around the FMS mobility correctives. One of Gray Cook's constant exhortations is "mobility FIRST". Yet many of us are far too quick to assume that we're moving just fine and fast forward ourselves to strenuous exercise, such as strength training.

I used to think that exercises like high kicks would cause the body to reactivate lost mobility. Unfortunately, the reality is often otherwise. If joints necessary for achieving the high kick (such as the hip joint) are compromised in their mobility, your body's going to borrow mobility from somewhere else that isn't supposed to move in the manner that it's being forced to.

Say for example your hip is a little locked up, guess what's going to have to do double duty to get your foot up that high. Most likely, your lower back will be paying the price the day afterwards, and your hamstrings will be so full of microtrauma that you'll be walking around like mummy instead of martial artist.

What other areas, aside from the hip, are crucial for performance?

While Functional Movement Systems talks about the lumbar spine being stable, the thoracic spine being mobile, and the cervical spine being stable, ALL joints need to START with MOBILITY. Stability has to be reflexive, not immutable. So if you heard the joint-by-joint approach and confused "rigidity" for reflexive stability, you probably either ran into limits with performance or just got hurt.

For me, inadequate mobility in certain ranges of motion in my hips, lumbar spine, and neck have caused me to compensate in countless ways over the years. Even as a child, I was ridiculously stiff. By 9 years old, I was unable to touch my toes. So martial arts training helped me to regain some of the lost mobility.

However, without regular practice of some of the fundamental exercises that were much less appealing than the combat skills development, my body merely learned to compensate its way through the movements and training. So as you heard me say in a previous blogpost, I've been going back to the basics, relearning how to move well in ranges that I've not moved through in decades and investing the time & resources to get therapy & treatment to deal with adhesions & locked up joints.

OK... back to work now. More later, and rest assured that it'll be worth the wait! :)