I was relatively early in my physical therapy career when I first heard Kelly Starret (thereadystate) say that everyone should have a movement practice. Doesn’t matter if that practice is yoga, crossfit, Olympic weight lifting, but all humans should have a movement practice. I didn’t really understand why it wasn’t enough for individuals to just get the recommended amount of exercise and move on? Why do we have to add language like a practice or be really focused in a certain discipline?
Since that time, the research of Mike Leung and Ebonie Rio on focus and how it relates to exercise has opened my eyes to what Kelly Starret was on to a decade ago. First, when we focus on an exercise deeply, trying to make movements precise, smooth, and controlled it does something different to the motor cortex in our brains compared to exercise without focus. There is now study after study showing that when we move with this amount of focus and precision, the connections between our brain and muscles fire better. Our muscles become more excitable and significantly less inhibited. This is a good thing no matter whether you’re in an Olympic lifting competition or trying to get your luggage overhead on an airplane.
And I believe it goes much deeper. Having consistent movement practice gives a great baseline. In physical therapy, we often ask the question of what were things functioning like before the pain? How is your movement different now prior to your symptoms? Often individuals are unable to answer. They are unable to answer because they honestly don’t know. Without a consistent focused movement practice how could you?
We can not predict injury based on movement patterns. Humans have variable movement. However, if someone has a consistent movement practice they will be able to feel the variance in themself and can modify based on that information. Maybe the overhead press just isn’t feeling quite right today compared to the thousands of reps performed over the years. This is an easy check in for someone with a consistent movement practice and will allow them to modify their workout accordingly. If they did not have that consistent practice they would never be able to make these small adjustments.
If you are lacking a movement practice and need help starting, we would love to help. Click here and schedule your first appointment