At Functional Patterns, everything done has a foundation rooted in science. This page is dedicated to giving you a better understanding of the my method. There will be a weekly Vlog of techniques on the Functional Patterns youtube channel. Stay tuned as there is much to learn!
When we repeat dysfunctional patterns over and over again, our bodies get used to staying within the dysfunction rather than changing. For example:
If i was to sit in a desk for 8 hours a day, I would probably end up with a slumped posture, as a result of protracting my shoulders and hunching over to reach the keyboard. Within time, my body would memorize these patterns, tightening muscles throughout the body, until that bad posture was set as a new neuro-muscular pattern. Poor Neuro-muscular patterns increase the chance for injury anytime you move, because they constrict your natural movement.
Correction of these problems is not optional! If you expect to get any kind of sustainability within your movement/exercise regimen, I put alignment techniques at number 1. Also, major muscle groups responsible for strength, explosiveness and agility become inhibited when muscular deficiency is present. You can’t have safety without athleticism because they go hand in hand with each other.
I am a huge advocate of people fixing their own physical problems, all we need is the information mixed with a bit of discipline and we are good to go. Here are a few strategies to you can utilize own your own:
Myofascial Release (massage)
A technique utilized to make muscle tissue that is bound up, unbind. All muscles in the body are wrapped in a web called fascia. When dysfunctional movement patterns are created in muscles, the fascia will effectively develop knot like properties that will impede range of motion in the body. After Myofascial release is implemented, muscle tissue becomes more pliable and will effectively become maliable once again to improve functional movement. Tools of choice: 1.) Lacrosse ball 2.) Medicine Ball 3.) Foam Roller 4.) Theracane 5.) Han Bo with rounded end.
If practiced enough with the right strategy, static stretching can become a very useful tool in the re-alignment process. The problem I see most with people utilizing static stretching, is stretching muscles that don’t need to be stretched. For instance, most people who stretch their hamstrings all the time may not understand that the root foundation to their tight hamstrings has to deal with another set of muscle groups called, the hip flexors. Your Gluteus Maximus and Hamstrings are the primary muscles involved in hip extension (opposite to hip flexion). The dominant of the two is the Gluteus Maximus. If you happen to have the habit of sitting a few hours a day, there are these muscles on the front part of your pelvis that are going to become tight. These muscles (hip flexors) constrict the movement of the Gluteus Maximus when they are tight, because they work in the opposite motion. Once this happens, the Hamstrings have to take over and become overworked a tight. So the origins of the Hamstring tightness never had to do with the Hamstrings at all. Now if we wanted to correct this problem with the hamstrings, we could use several static stretches to open up the hip flexors. This would allow the Gluteus Maximus to mobilize, and now the hamstrings wouldn’t have to overwork anymore. If we can understand why we stretch the muscles we are stretching, static stretching can be an immensely useful tool in your arsenal.
Corrective exercise deals with the rewiring of old, imbalanced muscular patterns and replacing them with more natural ones. It is this aspect in the process that determines whether you are going to move correctly or incorrectly. The importance of understanding the proper biomechanics of how to do this cannot be overemphasized.Â If you don’t understand the concept of pelvic extension and you are trying to correct a lower back dysfunction, you might just make the problem even worse than what it was. If done correctly, corrective exercise can work miracles. If Static Stretching and Myofascial release are strategically implemented before to allow for better mobility, Corrective exercise can be optimally utilized.
Multi-plane Ballistic Movement
Over the years of studying the maximization of Propioception (body’s automatic sense of movement), I have come to realize that the majority of exercise regimens only go so far, when real-time physical stimulus is placed upon the body. After re-alignment techniques were taught to me, I began utilizing textbook exercises that targeted one plane of motion at a time.
They were great at the moment for the purpose of setting a solid foundation to build around, but then I didn’t know where to go after that. If I didn’t want to have to add more weight to an exercise, then what do I do? It was here that I began tinkering (consciously and unconsciously) with the dynamics of putting planes of motion together, and momentum and rhythm coming along for the ride. I began figuring out that athletes, like offensive linemen in American Football, move loads while in motion, while having to be graceful, all at the same time. I was seeing this pattern in all athletics, and it was becoming obvious to me that what I learned from books wasn’t going far enough.
Athletes have to be agile and graceful, while having to be centered and powerful, all at the same time. If the athlete loses footing, in conjunction to the rest of his body, he will have no force output in anything he does. The stronger the he is in this realm, the less compensation happening within real-time, the better the performance. This also applies in the aspect of getting injured while training. If bad compensation occurs because of a poor center of gravity during movement, the joints take the load because there’s no one else to take it for them.
My system of Multi-plane Ballistic Movement takes the elements of real-time agility, resistance and flow and puts it all into one. Mastery of this is crucial if you expect to increase your physical performance and have sustenance within your training regimen. Without grace your stuck!
Planes of Motion
Sagittal Plane: Moving from front to back (basic squat, bicep curl, lunge)
Frontal Plane: Moving side to side (side lunge, lateral shoulder raise, lateral flexion of spine.
Transverse Plane: Rotational Movement (Baseball swing)
Movements through every plane of motion are essential to any exercise regimen. Biologically we have evolved to move in multiple directions. If you analyze how muscular anatomy works by looking at most athletic sports, you will see that we are supposed to challenge our bodies in all planes. Sadly, over the last few years I have witnessed many exercise regimens that seem to be obsessed over one plane of motion before all others. That plane of motion is the Sagittal Plane.
Now why would this be, especially if you consider the variety of exercises you can create in the other planes as well as the Sagittal. Simple explanation: the Sagittal plane is by far the easiest to teach of all planes. Why? Because its something we are used to doing every single day of our lives. Everything we do in our realities is forward and back, so training that plane makes things very easy on the trainer. When I first started as a trainer, I was set in the Sagittal Plane.
All my personal workouts, as well as my client workouts, consisted of primarily forward to back motions. Looking back, I probably would have been appalled by my lack of knowledge. After years of research and thousands of hours of obsessive experimentation, I realized that this needed to change.
It wasn’t until I started analyzing combat sports that the significance of the other two planes came to my complete attention. After participating in Boxing and Muay Thai, it became glaringly obvious that Transverse plane (rotation of punches, kicks) and Frontal plane (lateral movement, head movement) motions were extremely important to implement within my personal routines.
Further confirmation of this came when I started to look at Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Baseball and pretty much all sports and the importance of the other two planes. I began to learn about lower back and knee injuries occurring in people, because of joints abruptly moving in way they weren’t used to being put in before.
After learning the information, I brought it to my attention that all my clients, as well as myself, need to implement this with every person if I ever expected to master my craft. Over the last few years I have developed a system called Multi-plane Ballistic Movement, which incorporates all these planes put into each exercise.
Pendulum Movements have become a major staple in my system of movement, because they specifically adapt us to the random stimulus our planet places upon us. One of the main challengers to our proprioceptive nervous system is the rhythmic movement involved in locomotion (walking, running, most sports, etc.). All movements within locomotion are really just controlled falling.
After many years of analyzing the martial arts and many other sports, one thing has become astonishingly clear to me: the athlete with better adaption in locomotion generally is the winner in most sports. If you analyze a boxing great like Floyd Mayweather, you will see that this guy relies greatly on rhythm and timing when implementing his strategies. He’s rarely in a bad position, so he is seldomly ever hit by a punch. His conditioning is rarely ever off, because he never really wastes any movement in the entirety of a boxing match.
As the great Larry Merchant stated : “He fights as naturally as a fish swims.” Floyd Mayweather’s success in the ring is a result of how well his body maintains its structural integrity while moving in different planes of motion, all while having to deal with random forces happening during a fight. This is the case when it comes to the majority of all athletes in the majority of all sports. If your body can’t adjust on the fly, your structural integrity will be compromised and you won’t be efficient anymore and that leads to poor performance and injury.
Pendulum movements specifically train you for these random actions happening within a sport. These exercises provide the stimulus necessary to engage the right muscle systems at the right time. Timing is everything in all the actions of life, and my pendulum exercises will ensure that you are adjustable to the rhythms of our planet.
If you want to talk about maximum functionality with one piece of exercise equipment, nothing tops my Cable-bar system. The cable-bar allows the transverse plane (rotational motion) to be maximized to its fullest potential, because both sides of the upper body are working together at the same time, a push and a pull are involved in each motion. Mix this in in with some Multi-plane Ballistic Movement and you have yourself one of the most efficient exercise systems ever created. There’s more information to come, stay tuned!