All purposeful movement has to first begin with stability. Even simple tasks such as picking up a glass of water requires stability of the spine.   Not as much stability in comparison to deadlifting or squatting a heavy weight, or even pushing open a heavy door; but the process for creating stability for all movement is the same.   Without even thinking about it, when you go to move your body activates a stabilization strategy to allow you to move your arm, leg, foot, etc. The quality of this stabilization strategy is the most important thing.   Ideally, the deep stabilizing system (diaphragm, abdominal wall, and pelvic floor) would act together in order to create stability milliseconds before movement of the extremities occurs. This strategy is seen early on in development and is completed around the 5th month of a normally developing infant. However, most of us lose this ideal stabilization strategy and trade it for a more costly stabilization strategy that utilizes superficial muscles and compression to stabilize our spines. With this strategy there is an upregulation of tone seen in the body during simple activities that shouldn’t require much effort. Concentric contractions, or tightening the abdominal wall is more costly to the body.  

 

When the diaphragm is directly over the pelvic floor and we create 360 degrees of load into our abdominal wall the abdomen eccentrically lengthens. Eccentric contractions cost less energy and create a cylinder of pressure around the spine.   If we are able to use our diaphragm, pelvic floor, and abdominal wall synergistically there is no superficial tension. The body appears relaxed and the extremities are able to move freely. During a non-ideal stabilization strategy there can be muscle tightness, trigger points, decreased range of motion, or even pain with easy movements.  

 

It is important to train proper stabilization with the use of the diaphragm in co-activation with the pelvic floor and entire abdominal wall to allow for proper movement of the entire body. Everything starts with being able to stabilize the spine properly. The body is a compensation machine. It’s like Christmas lights; if one goes out then they all go out. If one joint is not functioning properly it can have an effect on the entire system.   Start with a solid base. Start with proper breathing and spinal stability, then learn to move your body with proper regulation of the pressure inside your abdominal wall.      

Ryan Crandall

Ryan Crandall

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