Progressions & Regressions

“Ground Up”

We like to use the “ground up” approach, building safe and efficient movement through the use of developmental positions to improve our clients’ abilities. These positions are in reference to the ways in which infants learn to move. Infants learn to move by putting in months of work and progressing from position to position – supine/prone, sidelying, quadruped, half/tall kneeling; until finally they have developed the necessary mobility and stability to stand, walk, squat, run, jump, etc.

As adults, using these positions allow us to revisit and retune our movement skills and patterns that for most of us are thrown out of whack. Since many of us have a highly sedentary lifestyle, are under a ton of stress and often do not think about how we move, we lose the ability to do them well. Ground up positions such as tall kneeling, ½ kneeling, in-line kneeling and standing offer us the opportunity to improve our stability and how we move. For us, these positions also create a system of progressions and regressions that we use to rebuild stability while appropriately challenging clients. A system that is considerably different and arguably more effective than the conventional method of adding weight and reps.

A Strong Core is Needed

“Ground up” progressions like Tall Kneeling and ½ kneeling are a fantastic tool to improve your motor control and movement patterns. Great minds such as Gray Cook, Charlie Weingroff and Mike Boyle who have really made this stuff mainstream, have shown us the value of these positions. They have demonstrated that we need relative stability through the trunk/ core to make full use of the range of motion available in joints such as the hips and shoulders. In other words, a strong core that activates at the correct time is the prerequisite to having arms and legs that perform well. It doesn’t matter how much force you can generate with your extremities if your trunk is not strong you can’t use your strength.

Strength, Stability, & Authentic Movement Patterns

These progressively challenging positions shape our system of progressions and regressions so that we can appropriately challenge clients to progressively build strength, stability and develop authentic movement patterns. In these positions typical compensation are less likely for a couple of reasons. 1) The pelvis is tucked to neutral, which helps to minimize overextension and use of the lumbar spine (which is common in a standing position). 2) Because the ankle and knees are taken out of the equation in the Tall kneeling and half kneeling individuals are forced to stabilize with intrinsic musculature throughout the body and put greater demand on the core, as opposed to simply widening their base of support (as in standing or some other compensation pattern. Using these positions allows us to accurately determine when a client has created the true stability and movement patterns where we can then progress them to a more challenging exercise.

This video

serves as an example of how a shoulder press can be progressed from Tall kneeling, Half Kneeling, Standing and Single Leg Stance.

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