Author: Jonathan Ross
Are you flexibly strong and strongly flexible? Strong and flexible together wins. Every time.The strength and mobility to move well with the stability to fluidly control movement makes life and exercise better.
Strands keep you strong and mobile, because they are both strong and mobile. A strap is rigid and inflexible while a band is elastic. The combination of strap and a band is a SPRI Strand.
Mobility is how much motion you have in a joint – think of this like a hinge. A well-lubricated, healthy hinge will have just the right range of motion. Flexibility is the amount of extensibility or stretch you have in a muscle. Joints don’t really stretch that much, but muscles do.
Most of what we commonly term flexibility comes from the ability of muscles to lengthen, rather than from the connective tissue and bones of a joint. Optimal mobility and flexibility leads to confident, capable, enjoyable movement. And this presents the opportunity to properly activate and strengthen muscles.
The Dancer and the Bodybuilder
The dancer often has excessive mobility and flexibility without the ability to control it.The bodybuilder can have excessive strength without an ability to fully apply the strength through a full range of motion. This is oversimplification is simply to illustrate the concept of having these qualities out of balance and is not meant to imply that this applies to all dancers and bodybuilders.
You want to move and stabilize certain parts of your body, so that other parts can produce strength. At SPRI we want you to have it all. Strands help you mobilize, stabilize, and activate various parts of your body at the right times. The combination of elasticity (when less stretched) and rigidity (when more stretched) in Strands can be used to develop those qualities in your body.
- Mobilize: Increase joint mobility and muscular flexibility.
- Stabilize: Control some parts of the body as a solid base in good alignment allowing other parts to move.
- Activate: Turn on muscles that express strength in movement
To enhance mobility of a joint, increase blood flow by repeatedly moving into and out of a full-range position. This lubricates, nourishes and warms the joint with blood. To enhance muscular flexibility, a static hold in a stretched position to allow the contractile units of muscles to receive a trigger which causes them to essentially “add links to the chain” over time.
We at SPRI use Mobilize strategies on individual sections of the body that need specific attention. Next, we use Stabilize techniques to develop the coordinated stability of multiple sections of the body. This allows us to Activate other parts of the body in movement or strengthening. In summary, we get individual parts more mobile to line them up together for optimum stability to allow for better activation of other parts.
Free is Good
Life is better when you get stuff for free. The combination of mobility with strength that is a feature of Strands can help you have it all with less “trying” to get it. Strands stretch – so they can provide some resistance to automatically turn on muscles as the Strand is stretched. If you are standing on a train, your body and muscles will automatically react to shifts in your body position to keep you from falling over. With your feet on a stable surface, the rest of your body can contract and relax to maintain balance.
The Variable Bucket
You can’t hold a plank in a pool. While floating in water with nothing to stable to ground you, maintaining stability is impossible. In much the same way as lifting an empty bucket will automatically turn on less muscles in your body than lifting a bucket full of rocks, Strands help automatically turn on muscles to maintain stability in lengthened positions. Further, with an empty bucket, there are almost endless ways to successfully lift it, many of them not ideal. With a bucket full of rocks, there are fewer ways to lift it, and most of them are closer to correct simply because your body knows that to get the job done, more coordination of strength and mobility is necessary.
Begin a movement with your Strand close to resting length, and it’s like lifting an empty bucket. However, the moment you begin to apply any stretch to the Strand, it is like adding rocks to your bucket – a few more rocks for each bit of stretch – and as a result, the Strand provides more automatic activation of muscles to create and control the movement.
Local Stability = Global Mobility
Both the elastic and rigid properties of strands can be used to enhance joint mobility and muscular flexibility. For joint mobility, the elastic quality of Strands allows you to softly explore more range of motion. The rigid quality of Strands presents you the opportunity to enhance muscular flexibility. The elastic property can then be used again to strengthen the coordinated action of muscles.
When you move, stability in one place allows movement somewhere else. When that movement is coordinated well and expressed with strength, your movement experience becomes more ideal.
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