Movement Principle # 2

Written by Gray Cook FMS

Principle 2: The starting point for movement learning is a reproducible movement baseline.

Professionals working in physical rehabilitation, exercise and athletics must adopt systematic approaches that transcend professional specialization and activity specificity. Movement professions need movement-pattern standards. The book Movement develops two systems that logically rate and rank using movement­-pattern fundamentals.

We all come to movement from different places. God bless those places—kettlebells, Pilates, yoga, military boot camps, athletic conditioning, strongman competitions, wrestling, gymnastics, dance. I could go on and on.

We come to movement from many different methodologies, but movement doesn’t serve those methodologies. Those methodologies serve movement. I can see how every one of those disciplines, and even more than those, could still agree on a movement baseline.

A movement baseline just creates a foundation. What do I mean when I say foundation? I don’t mean strength, endurance or skill training. A foundation for movement demonstrates that you have an appropriate perception and capacity for behavior. This means you can feel what’s happening on the outside and do what’s necessary on the inside. When I say foundation, I’m talking about alignment, mobility, stability and functional proprioception.

What I’m really saying is that your movement system has the capacity to learn.

If we see deficiencies, dysfunctions, asymmetries, mobility problems, motor control, stability or balance problems, we really shouldn’t expect the Pilates routine to arbitrarily fix the problem. It might, and it might not. You’re just hoping it’ll work or you’re just hoping that Turkish getups, strongman training or a little more cardio will fix the problem. But you haven’t clearly defined the problem yet.

It’s very important to me that even though we come at movement from different disciplines with different skill sets and different methodologies, we should at least agree on the fundamentals and basics of opening the sensory pathways and assuring that the motor pathways work.

There are a lot of different kinds of chemists, but they all work off the same periodic table of elements. Mechanics working on internal combustion engines all agree on the principles of internal combustion, even though one may be endorsing Toyota and another may be endorsing GM.

Different disciplines can still have some of the same fundamental baselines. It’s really funny—when we get into fitness, performance and athletics that all use movement, for some reason we invent tests that support our discipline, but that may not create those fundamental parallels.

Believe it or not, a lot of the strength and conditioning techniques we use with NFL players is used in the clinic with people who have total knee replacements and vice versa. A lot of the stuff we talk about at the RKC from a Turkish getup to an arm-bar, I have used in neck therapy at the appropriate time and place. I’m not stuck using one exercise within one discipline.

I see exercise and movement as this beautiful continuum that starts with a child learning how to roll and winds up with somebody winning a Gold in the 100-meter dash. Everything involved requires establishing better sensory input, better motor pathways and better command of movement patterns.

This second principle is my way of saying, ‘Do what you do. Specialize in what you want to specialize.’ However if we can’t all agree that some fundamental cornerstones need to be in place before we build the building to honor our movement discipline, we’re missing the boat. We have a lot more common ground than we think we have and we need to acknowledge that.

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