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Finding Your Potency: What May Be Missing From Your Core Workout

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Ordinarily, we learn just enough to function. But our ability to function with a greater range of ease and skill remains to be developed. -- Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais

When you address ways to promote strength, conditioning and power, it's important that you look at why you are doing this. Is it because you want to feel more robust? Drive a golf ball down the fairway with more power? Age well to prepare for a better future? Or do you just want to look good?

If you have been following the science and trends of exercise for self improvement, you are certainly familiar with the term core strengthening. You're also noting the shift away from isolating specific muscles to a more whole body approach to workouts.

In any case, movement mastery is important. Why? Whatever your goals are with exercising, you will not be able to accomplish them if you become injured or are unable to move freely and efficiently.

There are many ways to address optimal movement, but here are some recent and practical applications to explore for your own movement mastery:

Go Back to Your Youth: In your early development, you learned through movement and your relationship to the environment. The skills that emerge through this early experiential learning gives meaning to your future activities throughout life. Many movement investigators have been returning to the roots of movement by looking at child development or developmental kinesiology. As a child you were able to problem solve and create movement strategies that incorporate good respiration, balance, and coordination.

"An important part of movement development is core stability, and core stability comes from good respiration where your belly acts like an inner tube to support the rest of your body." -- Fred Onufryk, MS, PT, GCFP, DNS certificate of achievement, in phone conversation

A while ago, I watched this video to discover how parallel Ruthy's movement mirrored the movement of my infant son.

In the neuromuscular system, the brain is the hub. We use our brains to create the software to run the muscles and the joints. This starts very early. This starts during growth and development ... It's just a matter of problem solving, going out and doing things in the environment the baby's in -- crawling, rolling, holding the head up. -- Dr. Lee Burton, in lecture, "Core Testing and Assessment"

Strength Training Without the Gym: Using body weight or simple tools for conditioning can be tracked back many years. You may be familiar with the value of such works as yoga, martial arts and dance, but we can benefit from guided instruction with such things as kettle bell programs and the use of vibration with a Bodyblade.

Think Whole Body: Training now includes our fascial system and recognizes skeletal integrity for stability, support and resilience. Muscles are only a portion of what it takes to move well, and somehow we have placed most of our attention here. Movement science studies are now showing how our connective tissue-ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, etc. are highly relevant when we invest in a form of conditioning. Often referred to as the "movement brain," fascial fitness experts tell us that we can improve performance and reduce risk of injury by training our fascial system.

Whatever your fitness training is, it's vital to move! Move frequently with enjoyment and curiosity to ensure your potency in life. Better yet, pass it onto the next generation. They will need it.

Join Stacy Barrows and other Feldenkrais teachers at the 2013 Feldenkrais Conference: A Potent Practice.

Additional references:

Core Essentials: Andrew Heffernan, MA, Feldenkrais teacjher

Fascial Fitness Training

Smart Core Training: Staffan Elgelid, PT, Ph.D.

Gray Cook, MS, PT: Movement Philosophy

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization: Craig Liebenson, DC

Stacy Barrows, PT, GCFP, PMA-CPT is co-owner of Century City Physical Therapy, Inc. and the inventor and author of the Smartroller®, book and products.

For more information on Century City Physical Therapy click here.

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