At Results Driven, if we’re anything, we’re thorough. From our health history questionnaire to movement screening and coaching practices, we make sure we’re doing the absolute best we can for our members. To maintain a high level of quality, re-evaluation is necessary.
Recently, Jane scheduled a movement screen to check if her movement profile had improved. She has been a member for a few months and the movement pattern we had been working on was now clear (Huzzah!). There are layers to the movement screen, and now, during the re-screen the Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR) showed an asymmetry.
To give context, during this assessment, the coach is looking for the leg to raise to a certain point. We don’t want to see compensation from the other leg, and both sides are supposed to be symmetrical, within an acceptable range. For Jane, one side of her ASLR scored a 2 (we’ll call this “good enough”), while the other scored a 1 (which is considered dysfunctional or “in need of improvement”).
Where do we go from there? Deeper assessment. The ASLR assesses hip function, so we performed some deeper screens. The conclusion we reached was that this issue was stemming from a lack of external rotation in one of Jane’s hips.
The corrective sequence we follow in most cases, as advised by the crew at Functional Movement Systems (www.functionalmovement.com), is as follows:
Static Stability (aka Static Motor Control)
Dynamic Stability (aka Dynamic Motor Control)
Through our assessment we came to this corrective sequence to further restore Jane’s movement capacity. Mobility first. Step one for Jane was soft tissue work to increase the external rotation of her hip (lacrosse ball on glute). Step two was a breathing exercise in 90/90 position to further increase external rotation. After these 2 strategies, we reassessed, and sure enough her external rotation opened up and her leg raise improved to a 2/2 (good enough on both sides).
Now that Jane has access to the appropriate level of mobility in both of her hips, the next step is teaching her to control the new range of motion. Static Stability exercises like the half kneel (one knee up, one down) anti-rotational (AR) press ingrain control of the hips when they are not in motion. During the AR press, the hips stay stable while the resistance band tries to pull the upper body, and subsequently the hips, out of position. Jane’s goal is to maintain position in half kneel, showing her neurological system that it can trust this new hip position.
Last in the corrective sequence comes dynamic stability. As opposed to the previous static stability exercise, a dynamic stability exercise teaches the body to control hips in motion. For this, we used the kettlebell deadlift. This drill helps teach the hips to hinge, which is a great way to learn to move the hips while maintaining a stable spine. It’s also a great starting point for building full body strength.
In the past, Jane has lifted her kettlebell from a 6” step. That was the lowest she could go and still maintain good form. After she performed the drills above, Jane was able to not only perform the deadlift, but was able to lower to a 4” step. #progress.
In the last round of strength training, split squats were on the menu. We have avoided split squats and opted for sled pushes because Jane’s knees would consistently make a “cracking” noise. Joints making noise don’t necessarily mean something bad is happening, but we were not willing to risk anything. Jane has a history of knee discomfort and we knew we could still build great lower body strength with a similar movement - the sled push.
Since everything else was moving better, we decided to test out the split squat. Now, after assessing and addressing her hip dysfunction, Jane was able to split squat without her knees cracking. After performing the set, she mentioned discomfort in her big toe, which may hint at a lack of range of motion in her ankle and/or big toe. All that means is we put split squats on the back burner a little longer while we make sure we lock down all the great changes that were made with her hip mobility.
Moral of the story, fat loss and strength gains aren’t the only things that show progress. Improvement in the fundamental human movement patterns show great progress and ultimately lead to fat loss and strength gains. No one is above the basics. That’s why we use the Functional Movement Screen and test/retest. The more joints that move well, the better the body feels, leading to a higher quality of life. We want Jane to have a higher quality of life, especially since it’s her birthday!