Warrior Practice: Joint Longevity Prt 2

This course Bulletproof your Joints starts today Tuesday 5th September 2017. You can book your place by going to www.mindfulguernsey.com

“Force is the language of cells.  Whether those forces are applied by external means by way of soft tissue therapy application, or internal means by way of active muscle contraction and movement, the cells ultimately don’t know the difference.  They simply receive ‘communications’ (forces) from their environment, and then adapt to those messages accordingly.” Dre

In part 1 of this blog we looked at reasons for becoming interested in our joint health (longevity) and range of motion (ROM), and key differences between active mobility and passive flexibility. It is not always the case, but under-performance can often be linked to under-performance of the joint, which is linked to lack of space in the joint and the ability to control ROM at the short and long end. When we undertake activity a lack of control of the ROM can result in injury and the inability to come back to full strength post-rehab. This then results in a lack of resiliency in the tissue, which can then play out as a negative mental aspect in performance or activity, and a lack of mobility as well as reoccurring injury.

Bullet proofing the joints will improve your mobility and flexibility, create healthier and stronger joints, decrease injury rates, improve balance and body control, and improve your all-round movement. When we take time daily to work on our joints not only do we expand the body’s range of motion but we also teach the nervous system how to acquire those new ranges.

With movement practice we may want to look at developing joint mobility, body control, and strengthening the joints in an integrated manner. Basically we want to be developing all three as part of our practice or training. In part 1 we discussed that joint mobility refers to the active range of control. Can you control the end range of motion of your joints? As the ability to generate force across a joint lessens, then chances are that the ability to actively control the ROM will also lessen. Joint tissue then starts to lack the ability to absorb load and forces, (this can look like instability, imbalance, lack of strength, poor posture etc.) which commonly results in injury. So we want to capture that passive range in the joints, and turn it into an active range, which means strength, stability, and resiliency of the body. It is important to note that flexibility by itself does not improve function or improvement of movement potential as there is no guarantee that the nervous system can control those joint positions. Mobility on the other hand is flexible control of a joint through its articulation, which is under the direct control of the central and peripheral nervous system.

When we use joint mobility as our baseline for movement work and creating joint strength we are then much more prepared for stronger adaptations to the joint and connective tissue such as loading, complex movement patterns, or the ability to control the impact of stronger forces. Progressive adaptations to joint strength then continuously strengthen all the connective tissue such as fascia, bone, tendons, ligaments, vessels and nerves. Working with your joints in this way improves tissue quality and resilience in the all the components that make up the joint complex, as well as improving neurological control.

Starting with joint mobility we are looking to move and condition our bodies in a way that goes beyond the simple benefits of the muscular system. We are looking for health and longevity alongside a strong and resilient body and mind which brings confidence to do the things we want rather than be hindered by injury or fear of having a lack of capacity.

Quite often in todays movement based systems there is a misunderstanding between mobility, flexibility and agility. Increased mobility, as we have discussed, unlocks greater ROM, which can lead to gains in strength and neurological control, but it is also a vital ingredient of agility. Agility is the use of ones mobility, and can be seen as the ability to rapidly change from what looks like stable or unstable positions into other stable or unstable positions – total body control whilst on the move.

See you in class