Improving Movement Through Grip | The Coach's Corner
What's one cheap way to start moving better?
One simple technique is creating tension in the hands. Whether it's stretching, or in this case a strength exercise, creating tension through the hands can help us move better.
Learn more below!
When we’re trying to improve any movement quality, we want to look at appropriate posture or alignment, breath, grip, and foot connection. If we can’t make a change in the movement by manipulating one of these variables, then we’ll move down the developmental sequence, from standing to kneeling to quadruped then lying on the floor.
The 4 qualities and the developmental sequence can be used to improve higher level strength movements. Before we go into a real life example, I want everyone to understand a few things about grip..
1. Grip is about helping find proper alignment at the shoulder, getting all the shoulder stabilizers to reactively fire, and improve the overall stability of the core.
2. Once we are in a kneeling or standing position, grip can be challenged by holding a weight down, up in rack or goblet position, and then progressed to overhead.
In this week’s coach’s meeting, Jenna mentioned that she started doing Eccentric step-downs without weight, because she felt unsteady. To our eyes it looked solid.
But as coaches, just because the movement seems to pass the shit test, doesn’t mean the movement doesn’t feel like crappy.
In order to progress in a movement, you need to feel confident and Jenna didn’t feel safe with weight. Rather than continue to keep weight out of the equation, we took one step back in the developmental sequence, to a half kneeling position. Jenna felt unsteady in half kneel so we went back to a ground based move, the deadbug.
Jenna’s alignment, breath, and foot connection are easy for her, so we brought grip into the equation. By crushing the kettlebell, with the wrist in proper alignment and elbow straight, we can get the shoulder stabilizers to do their job. The combination of grip, breath, and a contralateral movement are like candy to the nervous system.
After performing the deadbug we went back and retested her eccentric stepdown with the same weight. Not only did she feel more confident, it just looked much stronger.
So what does this mean for you?
• If you struggle with balance, it would be a good idea to check your stability further down the developmental sequence. In order to improve movement, we follow the progression recommended by our friends at Functional Movement Systems
2) Static Motor Control
3)Dynamic Motor Control
Grip is a static motor control strategy for the shoulder and is a great way to help improve single leg balance and strength. Single leg stance and thoracic spine rotation are closely related. Every time you take a step, there is a portion of your stride where you are on one leg with your t-spine rotated away from the stance leg.
If t-spine rotation is asymmetrical or just doesn’t meet the minimum acceptable standard, and other strategies to improve your balance haven’t worked, you may want to look into improving t-spine rotation.