Functional Movement & Corrective Exercise, James Williams MS, ATC

This past Sunday (1/15/12) Charlie Weingroff, DPT held a one day clinic on “Corrective Exercise for the Rehab Professional.”  This clinic focused on body movement.  From the time we are babies we begin neuromuscular development.  As babies we start on our back cooing and cawing and playing with our toes.  As we develop we learn to roll over onto our bellies.  Next we learn to push ourselves up and stand.  As we begin to walk we take wobbly steps and usually fall backwards several times.  At that point we roll over, push ourselves up and eventually, after several tries, we finally take that first big step.  To be clear, this course took us back to basic fundamental movements.

Dr. Weingroff explained how every movement, we as individuals make, is a derivative of the first year.  We learn to do things a certain way.  We train our brains that this is the way we are going to do things.  But through corrective exercise we can change our subconscious dysfunctions to a subconscious function over time.  It will make us all feel better from our toes to our head.

Dr. Weingroff began by defining corrective exercise.  Using corrective exercise we can train our brain to perform a new task.  This is also known as motor learning.  There are joints in our body that are designed to be mobile and joints designed to be stable.  Dr. Weingroff showed that if a stable joint is mobile or a mobile joint is stable, it can change the integrity of each of the other joints up the chain.  He then explained that our movement patterns might occur in one plane or another or it could occur in multiple planes.  He showed how our legs might be moving in one plane and our hands in another.  He finally showed that our upper body and lower body might be moving in multiple planes and multiple directions.  At this point we began to warm up and be interactive with our movements.  First Dr. Weingroff had us do movements in a single plane.  Maybe that was stepping or lunging or hoping or jumping.  This was seemingly easy.  Then he had us do similar movements with multiple planes.  This was a little more of a challenge.  Finally, Dr. Weingroff showed us a movement such as a skip on the left side and a run on the right side.  I’m glad he did not have us do that one because I can only imagine what that would have looked like.  But it does show that if we use corrective exercises to retrain our brain, we can do strange but productive things with our bodies without getting injured.  Sometimes we put our bodies in weird positions trying to do things at the house or playing the weekend sport and this showed that corrective exercises might help reduce the chance of injury with everyday activities.

The afternoon session focused on introducing the principles of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  If you don’t know about the FMS, I recommend you look into it.  We can use the screen to assess our risk of injury, whether we are changing a light bulb or running the 400 meter hurdles.  After you have your score on the screen we first look at asymmetries, correcting ourselves so the left and right are moving together and equally.  We also looked at dysfunctions in the movement pattern and how we could do exercises as simple as lying on the floor and breathing to correct these movement dysfunctions.  Dr. Weingroff focused on the shoulder mobility test and the active straight leg raise (ASLR) test during our session.

Dr. Weingroff focuses most of his therapy on the FMS and how we as humans move.  It was interesting to see that correcting dysfunctional movement patterns can make us more productive on the field, in our rehab and just in our daily lives.  Movement is the basis of us as humans.  If we are not moving properly, we will have an increased risk of injury.

If you are interested in the Functional Movement screen, call one of our professionals today at 770-237-3475.