Case Study: You Can’t Move Where You Can’t Move

If you read our previous articles, you know that your body moves—and has moved—because of the information it has received since the day you were born. You move based on what your body has perceived it needs to accomplish a given task. 

Therefore, your body as a movement system is beholden to the inputs that have been put into it over time; this includes everything under the sun, but some easy examples are workouts, injuries, daily activities (e.g., work), etc.

It’s a difficult concept to grasp because we want to think our bodies inherently do what’s best for our conscientious selves, but that’s not always the case. The body’s goal is to accommodate to its environment to maintain equilibrium; it is not to make you the healthiest, most mobile person you can be.

THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE

You can think of your body as trying to find the path of least resistance through anything. So it will do what’s easiest to maintain homeostasis; it only accommodates when it has to.

We see this all the time in the gym. People move how they know how to and not any way else. When we get them to do things they’re not used to, we often see limitations in movement or unfamiliarity with movements that are tricky to tackle.

This is why I love this quote by Dr. Andreo Spina, Founder of Functional Range Conditioning,

“You can’t move where you can’t move.”

Putting this into more context, your body might not be able to access specific joint ranges of motion because they were never exposed to them, or you relied on what you knew (i.e., the path of least resistance).

Our Goal Is To Give You More Options.

Meet Sarah, an entrepreneur and mom of 3 that came to Motive Training to get back into shape and learn to move her body. Sarah’s main goal was not to increase her mobility, per se. Still, we showed her (through our assessment process) that given her limited range of motion, especially in her hips, she was only able to move in particular planes.

A lightbulb immediately went off for Sarah. When she did yoga, things never felt right. When she took boot camp classes, she felt like she couldn’t achieve what was asked of her.

Why?

Because Sarah’s body accommodated to a specific way of movement and then stuck to that.

All Joints Are Rotational.

Without getting into too much detail, it’s safe to assume that almost every joint in the human body is rotational aside from the spine (it is a flexion-/extension-based joint system). Thus, the priority of movement lies in creating and maintaining joint rotation to have a healthy body.

This is why we look at a joint’s ability to rotate during our Functional Range Assessment (FRA) and how we found out Sarah had significant hip rotation limitations that needed work.

Editor’s Addition: This seems redundant, but I can’t stress this enough. If a given joint can rotate, it can accept variable inputs better because it has more freedom to do so. Conversely, if it cannot rotate, it will inevitably be less likely to move freely in all planes of movement. Rotation means everything when it comes to moving well. -Brian

What Did We Do Next?

Over the next few months, we used principles from Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and more directly attacked Sarah’s hip external rotation.

We showed how her lack of rotation led to other issues (e.g., awkwardness when trying to squat and deadlift) and taught her the essentials of stretching and CARs. Finally, we did deep hip work, focusing on opening her hip from the inside out (see video below).

We increased Sarah’s hip range of motion by a significant amount six months later, which you can see in the picture. And what happened?

Sarah felt better, moved better, and generally felt stronger. Not because we hammered her with squats and deadlifts, but because we showed her how to make her body and hip more complete to achieve more tasks like squatting and deadlifting.

Boom!

Our goal is to show you how to actually move your body in a way that leads to real, sustainable change.

You don’t have to spin your wheels anymore. If movements feel awkward like they did for Sarah, reach out, and we’ll show you a better way. Guaranteed.

Brian Murray, FRSC, FRA

Founder of Motive Training

Fight Pain. Gain Strength. Get Results.
Personal Training and Online Coaching in Grand Rapids, MI, and Austin, TX. 

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