Archive for April, 2011

Great Info from the Gray Institute Newsletter

TWEAKOLOGY is the transformation of the notion (what we know about function) into the motion (what function looks like).  Knowing that every “tweak” will create a different reaction, mindfully chosen “tweaks” provide the foundation of the exercise strategies that are specific for each individual.

This month we highlight the BALANCE REACH as our exercise and use SPEED as our “tweak”.  Before we further describe the exercise, let’s discuss balance in general.  Balance is a state of equilibrium, it is dynamic in nature, it requires a combination of stability and mobility or “Mostability”.  Balance does NOT require stillness and is hampered by rigidity.

Back to the task at hand…SINGLE LEG BALANCE REACH.  Two things to look for when observing this exercise are: 1) how far the individual can reach their and 2) the ability to transform the direction of the movement.  Let’s perform three different foot reaches at ground level using the three cardinal planes 1) Sagittal Plane (click HERE to view) 2) Frontal Plane (click HERE to view) 3) Transverse Plane (click HERE to view).  Perform 3-5 repetitions with each foot at a self-selected speed.  Observe not only the reaching foot and leg, but observe the “balance” leg.  Also observe the reaction of the trunk, the shoulders and even the head and hands.  Does each side react the same?  Is there similar control demonstrated?  Similar ranges of motion throughout the body?   Similar quality of movement through the Chain Reaction™?  Now let’s tweak it.  Repeat the balance reaches with decreased speed.  How does decreasing the speed affect control, range of motion, and quality of movement?  If the body senses a loss of stability and control, with the simple tweak of increased or decreased speed it will react with an immediate neurological stiffening to add control back into our system – to prevent one from falling.  Remember, it is always about preserving ourselves within our environment.  As you experience a stiffening effect, do not worry – but note the difference between fluidity in motion versus rigidity.

Find the speed of your success.  Also find the speed of success for those that you are assessing, training and rehabilitating.   Depending upon the function that they are looking to improve, condition the movement with slightly decreased speeds and slightly increased speeds, over time without sacrificing fluid efficient movement.

As always, safety is the number one concern.  Any time you believe you are not able to complete the movement without the need for additional stability, make sure that you are performing the balance foot reaches in a doorway, next to a wall, or next to a chair or even having someone else control you through hand stability.  Remember to provide the same safety net and opportunities for your patients and clients.