PRACTICAL MOVEMENT SKILLS
Soft Tissue, Sports & Remedial Massage Therapist; Running Coach,
56 London Road Clinic
As a qualified UK Athletics endurance running coach I have attended various seminars and technical workshops over the past few months which have featured some excellent content on fundamental movement skills and physical preparation for sporting activity. They have explored correct movement patterns based on posture and balance; how we set ourselves to run, jump or throw; and to consider the ‘shape’, or body positions, we need to adopt to perform the actions effectively. This correct sequencing facilitates performance, but importantly too it helps minimise inefficiency and the risk of related injury.
A stable starting point allows us to remain in control of our movement and forms the bedrock of subsequent movement patterns through an activity. There is a connective chain of flexibility and stability up through the body which gives us this control; get this wrong and you can start to see how poor movement patterns develop and pain and discomfort set in. For the exercise minded, think in terms of squats and lunges, both excellent exercises for developing this control and stability, but it is vital to do them correctly in terms of posture and balance otherwise they can be counterproductive in teaching the body poor movement patterns with quite contrary effect to what is intended.
All this led me to consider the practical implications in the context of our busy daily lives and how we set ourselves for any given task; the shapes we assume to carry out these tasks and, importantly, the appropriate use of which muscles we engage for the action required. Manual handling techniques don’t just apply to shifting big heavy loads, setting yourself correctly to carry out even minor activity may well save you from the aches and pains we regularly subject ourselves to in the form of work about the house, garden, workplace or through sport and other leisure activities. Sore shoulders can equally result from hedge trimming as from golf; sore hips from running sports or digging; ….sore backs from just about anything! This is particularly poignant when we mix a hard days effort with other strenuous activity and we ask our bodies to go beyond their comfort level. Muscles that have reached their maximum tolerance can be overloaded by quite innocuous actions, such as pulling on a sock or reaching out for something when postural muscles in our back may have reached overloaded and seize up accordingly. Setting yourself posturally will go a long way to avoiding such discomfort.
Where this coincides with my main activity as a Soft Tissue, Sports & RemedialMassage therapist is in understanding the day to day movement patterns of the people I treat, and how this relates to the subsequent treatment process and advice. Soft Tissue, Sports and Remedial Massage therapyis appropriate for treating many musculoskeletal conditions, however acquired. It safely assesses minor and chronic injuries, applies a range of advanced massage techniques to treat them and offers practical advice on rehabilitation through postural, movement and performance improvement.
At this time of year, sportsmen and women are training hard in preparation for the summer months ahead, for a specific event or are perhaps patching up tired bodies after a long winter season. By the same token, many of us are embarking on the physically demanding domestic jobs and leisure activities that place similar wear, tear and overload on our bodies. And, as is often the case, many of us will mix them all, as it is us who label an activity, our bodies just recognise actions. Much is written on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, but we can easily assist with this by improving our practical movement skills, employing movement patterns based on posture and balance and how we set ourselves to perform any task at hand.
By Ian Pollard, Soft Tissue Sports & Remedial Massage Therapist LSSM / ISRM
Running Coach UKA CIRF