International Fitness and Aerobic Academy

PT TECHNIQUES MOVEMENT PREPARATION BY DEVRATH VIJAY

An efficient, systematic and purposeful approach to prepare the individual for the specific demands of the day’s training session or competition. In layman’s terms it is nothing but a ‘warm-up’.

If you visit any gym, sports arena, or even your neighborhood park you will see people doing their own version of a warm up. This warm-up will usually consist of either cardio or static stretches.

A cardio warm-up (walking, jogging, cycling etc.) will definitely increase the heart rate, increase blood flow to the working musculature, increase body temperature and decrease the viscosity of the muscles but will it really help you prepare and increase the performance of the exercise or sport that you’re warming up for?

A static stretch is something that’s ideal as a post-workout activity. Incorporating static stretching into your warm-up routine will reduce your neural activity and create a deficit in your strength and power output.

Movement Preparation thus goes against these age-old excuses of a warm up to fully prepare the athlete for the training that lies ahead of him/her and thus increasing the performance level of the athlete. As opposed to a traditional warm-up, Movement Preparation actually makes you stronger and helps yield long-term flexibility gains. You will actively elongate your muscles in a series of movements, which can improve balance, mobility and stability. Nearly everyone, including professional athletes, has at least one muscle group that’s completely shut off. This can cause other areas of the body to compensate, which ultimately leads to injury. An example of this would be the small muscles of the hips, the gluteus medius, which if not activated will lead to lower-back problems, knee pain, and groin strain. With movement Preparation, it takes only a day or two to reactivate these inactive areas. By strengthening muscles in this new range of motion, you stabilize all the tiny muscles around your joints that help hold the joints together. That will improve posture and performance and decrease potential for injury.

The three main components of Movement Preparation are glute activation, dynamic flexibility and neural activation.

Glute Activation

The glutes or buttocks are an essential part of your body’s performance. They affect movements both up and down your kinetic chain. Hip extension is a movement that is used during most exercises like the deadlift, squat, running, jumping etc. and the glutes are the muscles that are mainly responsible for it. The glutes are often neglected and are weak from sitting all day at the office, driving etc. Insufficient glute use can lead to lower back issues and that is the reason most working professionals complain of lower back pain. Glute strengthening and activation thus goes a long way in avoiding lower back niggles and increasing the performance of the body ten-fold.

There are a host of body-weight and free weight exercises to activate the glutes. A method that is used widely in the professional sporting circle is glute activation using mini-bands. You will see athletes and
sportsmen using these tiny miracle-workers that help in waking up the otherwise dormant glutes for increased performance on the field. The best example is the reigning football champions of the world, the German national football team that swear by these mini-bands.

Dynamic Flexibility

Dynamic stretching utilizes functional movements involving the body's momentum, using a controlled speed to take a joint through its full range of motion, intentionally using all the muscles involved in moving that joint. You move actively through movement patterns specific to the training demands of the day and do not hold dynamic stretches. It uses the concept of reciprocal inhibition (the process of muscles on one side of a joint relaxing to accommodate contraction on the other side of that joint). For example, a lunge could be considered a dynamic stretch. You would be dynamically stretching the hip flexors and quadriceps of the back leg while contracting the glutes to raise your body from the lunge position. Dynamic stretching is important to increase range of motion, active elongation of the muscles and nervous system activity, all of which prepare your body for enhanced movement. Movements generally integrate the whole body and involve multiple repetitions performed slowly. Foundational movements are utilized such as lunges, squats, balance exercises, loco-motor moves and more. It is useful for not just sportsmen but for everybody. For a person sitting all day at the office, taking breaks and performing moves such as posterior lunges with arm reaches overhead would be a great way to alleviate the compression forces that are placed on the spine from sitting in a chair all day. 

Neural activation

Neural activation helps in improving neuromuscular co-ordination, speed,  and recovering faster from workouts. It involves rapid response drills and quick short bursts of controlled movement that improve the athlete’s reactiveness (quick response to stimuli). Considering the fact that all movements originate with an order from the central nervous system to the specific muscle, it helps in keeping the brain engaged and alert during the entire training session.


Benefits of Movement Preparation

Priming the body for performance

  • Increases core temperature, blood flow, tissue extensibility and range of motion (ROM) around a joint
  • Improves body awareness and control, improves self-correction and decreases injury-potential
  • Actively elongates muscles and strengthens through ROM using movement sequencing and reciprocal inhibition
  • Activates the central nervous system and challenges the dynamic mobility/stability around a joint

 

 

 
     
For more information contact: Kez Klein, Email: kez@ifaa-india.com | Mobile: +91 98453 94872 Follow us on facebook\IFAA INDIA