Human Movement is a complex system, where even simple movements require different muscle groups to work together to produce a required movement.
Skeletal muscles are attached to your bones by tendons. The tendons on the end of the muscle attach firmly to the bone. As the fibers in a muscle contract, they shorten and pull the tendon. The tendon, in turn, pulls the bone and makes it move. Simple.
Physical trainers, Strength and conditioning coaches, PTs, physios/sports therapists all know that muscles don’t work in isolation and that human movement occurs as result of a group of muscles working together to create motion.
If we look at things in this perspective of then it wouldn’t it make far more sense to train movements – not muscles?, especially when working within a high performance environment.
Here is a little experiment to demonstrate this:
1) Grab a piece of paper, or across the screen if you are reading on a phone, PC or iPad, and move your index finger across the page or screen, drawing an imaginary straight line.
2) Do the same again, but concentrate on moving JUST your index finger across the page/screen? What happens now? A curved line?
3) Repeat the process, this time just using the wrist to move the index finger access the page/screen. What happens now? A long curved line maybe?
4) Now try again, using your elbow to move your forearm and index finger across the page/screen. What happens here?
So how is this relevant?
Well, to move your index finger across the page/screen in a straight line it requires the movement of at least two joints – the elbow and shoulder joints!
What appears to be just a finger moving across the page is in fact the product of other joints creating the movement.
Most good training programme will include some form of screening as starting point to help identify dysfunctional movement patterns within the human movement system, and allow training to be programmed accordingly and address these imbalances.
Some movement screens claim to be good predictors of injury and this is something that has been debated vigorously over the last few years. I don’t have anything against the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), but thats all it is – a movement screen. Can the findings of this subjective test be interpreted as a predictor of injury?
As these studies suggest probably not:
One of the issues here is that the FMS doesn’t replicate the high velocity movements that occurs within a sport. Personally, I don’t think there is much in the way of being able to “predict” injury, however we can certainly look at the “probability” of injury occurring, and FMS has some uses – but can be a length process especially in a team environment.
However, this post isn’t about comparing different screens and tests – thats for another discussion.
An example of a movement dysfunction would be a lack of movement at the ankle leading to dysfunction at the lumbo pelvic hip complex, or vice versa.
This initial phase of training will in turn allow you to develop the crucial movement patterns required to reach your goals, develop the skills required for good movement such as co-ordination and motor control, and add longevity to your training programmes allowing you to get the best results.
Spend that extra time learning to move well, and the results you want will come