The Basics of Good Movement
What is good movement? How do you know that you are moving well? If a given movement hurts, what kind of strategies would you employ to learn a better, more functional organization that would work? Is there such a thing as a ‘work around”? Many years ago I tore my quad. You can still see the dent in my thigh. I could immediately go up and down stairs and even run without pain because I had a way of bypassing the loading up of the injured leg.
In the accompanying video I explain these things, and demonstrate one of the more basic movements, which is how do you make your leg light by combining the lifting leg with the rolling pelvis. It is called “pelvic tilt knee to the chest”. This is one of the first lessons that I cover in almost every treatment I do. The simple reason for this is that most of my patients cannot even lie comfortably on the table without the knees bent or a support under them. Doing this move properly will relax and lengthen the low back..
Good movement is comfortable. It is easy to do. The effort is distributed amongst enough body segments so no one structure ends up straining. It is enjoyable. You can breath, smile and do it many times without effort. On the other hand, bad movement is a strain. If you monitor your breath you may find that it stops. If you are talking, your voice quality may change. These are signs that you are straining something.
For the purposes of learning, a new movement should be done very slowly with very small amplitude. I like the idea of doing the lightest one inch move that you can. You may even do a millimeter. That small movement has to be done so well that it is super easy. It requires you to be mindful. Some people find that the meditative mindset is a good place to initiate the action. The smaller the effort applied, the more you notice. If you lift a piece of paper you will notice when a fly lands on it. If you lift a chair the weight of that fly will not be detected. This is called the Weber-Fechner law.
It is very important to notice the first moment of increased effort. It is at this point that you can make a different choice than your usual habit. For example lifting a leg can strain your back. If you do it too fast you won’t know this until too late. Over time it can easily lead to a muscle ache.
A simple idea that you can use in modulating effort is what I call the Fred and Ginger principle. This refers to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, two famous dancers of the 1930s. He initiated the move and she effortlessly followed. It was almost instantaneous. In the leg lift example if you find it a strain to lift the left leg, then there are lots of other parts of your body that can initiate the movement. In this case, if you are on your back and you wanted to lift your left leg you could press down with your right foot and this will make it easier. The right leg becomes Fred and the left is now Ginger. So whenever you want to move a painful area do it” Gingerly”. This is the work around. This is all demonstrated in the accompanying video called Pelvic Tilt, Knee to the chest”. It is one of the many exercises on my DVD Core Movement Integration.
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