Classifications for Exercises

I have developed a system for classifying the exercises I will be posting on the site, and in developing the products that will come out of this system.  There are 7 categories to help you understand the goal of the individual exercise, while also sharing the big picture view of what is important in movement, exercise and adaptation.

1.  Postural Stability (PS):  These exercises are feedback based and 90% of your attention should be on spinal length, head balance, chest position/horizontalisation of the diaphragm and activation of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP).

2.  Postural Lengthening (PL):  These exercises challenge the length of the major muscle groups, while maintaining the organising principle of deep system stability (DSS).  These exercises will be based on developmental/evolutionary movement, yoga or come from a functional understanding of human movement.

3.  Dynamic Load (DL) :  Involves understanding how to load movement using the ways we have evolved to move.  Dynamic Load utilises;

  • acceleration/deceleration forces,
  • landings from jumps and hops,
  • accentuating changes of direction,
  • using uphill/downhill as a way of loading starting strength and eccentric strength
  • using crawling and climbing as load, some examples include crawling up/downhill, climbing a vertical pole, or other natural or man-made features.
  • utilising equipment that doesnt interfere with the pathway that the body wants to move in, this can include rubberised medicine balls, sticks, power clubs and kettle bells.

4.  Dynamic Coordination
Challenges the way we organise movement utilising all the different ways we can move.  For example, skipping is a step followed by a hop, so it is possible to see that skipping complexes movement.  To further load this, you can skip backwards, this challenges the nervous system because the length of the foot is not available in the normal way, but it is enormously beneficial because hip extension/dorsi-flexion is challenged from a reverse origin perspective.  The spine also automatically lengthens when we skip backwards.
Other examples include heel flicks, high knee running, marching, karioka step etc.

5.  Skill Coordination
Just as we can complex ways of moving, we can complex skill development, or said another way, give the brain and CNS another way to feel a skill.  I use weighted sticks or clubs in both hands to increase the feel of throwing, hitting, volleying etc.  By loading the non-preferred hand we increase its involvement in the cortical map.  From a movement perspective we may be facilitating ipsilateral (same side of the body awareness) or contralateral (diagonal quadrants of the body) patterns or both by paying attention to capacities within the overall task.
Sticks, Indian clubs, ribbons, medicine balls, different types of balls, bean bags, balance tools can all be used to provide the gift of feel to Skill Coordination.
Seeing Sam Mitchell from Hawthorn FC juggle an Aussie Rules Football in the same way that a Soccer player juggles a Soccer Ball, is a good example of how training for sport is changing. Sam has taken a drill that is well established in another sport and experimented with it in his own context, with the adaption being in movement, skill, coordination and perception.

6.  Skill Load
Skill load is the marriage of conditioning and coordination.  Ultimately we dont want skills to break down under fatigue, but in order for this to be the case we need to develop the refined attention of stillness or balance at the moment of execution.  To do this I cant treat all aspects of preparation the same, or I can understand that  execution is hierarchically higher.  To develop as an athlete, I need to learn when to accelerate/decelerate, stop, evade etc.  and I need to be able to do all of this in a context of accountability.
There are many ways to load Skill, by complexing the skill, or pre-fatiguing the athlete, or introducing more variables etc.  This area is starting to be trained better, but it remains poorly understood mainly because the coach will preference one over the other.  The skill in being able to manipulate this important capacity is to play with different amounts of load and information until the current threshold ability is reached and able to be maintained.

7.  Embodied Attention
This ability is the ultimate because embodied attention is the portal to the fullest expression of movement intelligence and learning to be satisfied by moving itself.  The development of this level of attention comes from fully inhabiting the body and being able to go with the contextual information as it presents.

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