Functional Training Part 2

To design an appropriate functional training program it is important to integrate the following components; core stabilization, neuromuscular stabilization training, speed training, strength training, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation training, dynamic and static flexibiilty training. When all these components are worked efficiently many of the biomechanical dysfunctions can be resolved.

To understand how to fix broken biomechanical patterns it is important to know what the kinetic chain is.  The kinetic chain is a synergistic unit that consists of muscle, ligament, tendon and fascia, as well as the neural and articular system of the body. We have all heard the old saying, “you are only as strong as the weakest link”, this holds true for the kinetic chain. We are only as strong as the weakest part of the kinetic chain. If one of the components of the chain is weak, damaged, or inhibited then the rest of the kinetic chain is susceptible of developing dysfunctional patterns.

In order to rehabilitate an injured area it is essential that a kinetic chain assessment be administered to identify to imbalances. Measuring anatomical balance, core strength, proprioception, reactive neuromuscular stabilization, flexibility, muscular strength, acceleration and deceleration skills are necessary for identifying the direct cause of a structural imbalance.

What is the Core?

Often times people will come up to me and ask me what exercises can they do for developing their core. For fun I will ask them to tell me what their core is. They say “i don’t really know but everyone is talking about core training”. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know what working the “core” means. Working the core doesn’t just mean working the abdominals. The core actually consists of the lumbo-pelvic hip complex, thoracic spine and cervical spine. Working the muscles, tendons, ligaments that support the integrity and stabilization of the core is essential for developing greater neuromuscular efficiency improving kinetic chain stabilization.

Neuromuscular efficiency is the synergistic relationship among the agonists, antagonists, stabilizers, neutralizers, synergists to help reduce force, dynamically stabilize and generate force through the kinetic chain in the sagittal, transverse, frontal planes of human movement.

Why should we train in a proprioceptively enriched environment? 

Whenever fixing a dysfunctional structure of the body it is important to challenge the higher brain centers by incorporating proprioceptive enriched exercises. When the proprioceptive receptors are stimulated they provide valuable information to the nervous system and brain. Two neural adaptations that are occuring during this type of stimulation is intra-muscular coordination and inter-muscular coordination. Intra-muscular coordination is the efficiency of a muscle through greater motor unit firing, rate coding and motor unit adaptibility. Inter-muscular coordination is the synchronized efficiency of the agonists, antagonists, synergists, stabilizers and neutralizers. 

Another factor for improving functional capacity is to develop greater reactive neuromuscular efficiency. It is important for the kinetic chain to adapt quickly to varying degrees of acceleration and decceleration and in different directions.  Reactive neuromuscular training takes advantage of the eccentric/concentric sequence of muscular contractibility to help improve neuromuscular efficiency, rate of force production, and reduced neuromuscular inhibition, and overall stimulation of the central nervous system. 

In the next blog I will be discussing various forms of strength and how it translates into functional training.

Daryl Conant, M.Ed