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The science behind the most important part of yo r !or"o t
(Don't just go through the motions)

# $ree %&Report by Todd Har'ro(e


1uo#es i' revie/s( This re$or# is 'o# i'#e'ded #o #rea# disease or as a subs#i#u#e -or &edi*al #rea#&e'#( 2se a# .HOW TO DO JOINT MOBILITY DRILLS Published: Blog: )o'#a*#: Todd Hargrove. be used or re$rodu*ed i' a'. e0*e$# -or brie. &a''er /i#hou# /ri##e' $er&issio'.our o/' ris3( !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .#his re$or# &a.ll righ#s reserved( No $ar# o. !" h##$:%%be##er&ove&e'#(org #oddharg+g&ail(*o& .

– $ran" $orencich !!!)bettermo(ement)or' . and the easy elegant. sedentary life is unnatural and unhealthy. consult your doctor. the hard easy.Make the impossible possible. – Moshe $e*den"rais Before starting a program of inactivity.

Table of contents Introd ction Joint Mobi*ity Dri**s Defined Ho! do Joint Mobi*ity Dri**s Wor"+ Mobi*ity Dri**s and the Body Mobi*ity Dri**s and the Brain B* rred Maps .reates Sensory .reate -ain Mo(ement .an .atin' .onc* sion/ Ho! to do Joint Mobi*ity Dri**s !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .

Introduction Dynamic 0oint mobi*ity dri**s are becomin' (ery pop *ar1 and are startin' to rep*ace static stretchin' as a !ay to !arm p1 train hea*thy mo(ement patterns1 and 2p3rehab in0 ries) If yo are interested in fitness and performance1 chances are yo ha(e heard of the benefits of mobi*ity dri**s for increasin' mo(ement s"i** and decreasin' pain) 4nfort nate*y1 there are many misconceptions abo t ho! mobi*ity dri**s sho *d be done1 and this can ma"e them dramatica**y *ess effecti(e1 or e(en detrimenta*) In this report I5m 'oin' to e6p*ain !hat they are1 e!actly ho! and !hy they pro(ide benefit1 and most important*y1 ho! to do them and ho! not to do them) The r *es of th mb described be*o! can be app*ied to any mobi*ity dri**s1 dynamic !arm ps1 m sc*e acti(ations1 or mo(ement prep !or" that is c rrent*y part of yo r trainin' ro tine) In fact yo can app*y most of this ad(ice to the mo(ements yo do in a pi*ates or yo'a c*ass1 or e(en the !ei'ht room) Here !e 'o) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .

usually without resistance) %6amp*es inc* de !a** s*ides or arm circ*es for the sho *ders1 c*am she**s or *e' circ*es for the hips1 and cat7co!s or rotations for the spine) One 'ood !ay to nderstand mobi*ity !or" is to contrast it !ith static stretchin') In static stretchin'1 yo ta"e a certain 0oint to its end ran'e of motion and then stay there for a !hi*e) In a mobi*ity dri**1 yo are a*!ays mo(in' as opposed to stayin' sti**) $ rther1 yo typica**y mo(e from the ne tra* or midd*e ran'es of motion o t to the end ran'es and then bac") The point is not so m ch ho! far yo 'o b t ho! smooth*y and easi*y yo 'et there) $or these reasons1 0oint mobi*ity !or" promises to ha(e far more carryo(er to rea* !or*d acti(ities than static stretchin') Most of *ife and sport ta"es p*ace d rin' movement thro 'h the midd*e ran'es of motion1 not d rin' rest at the end ran'es) Th s1 hea*thy ath*etic mo(ement at most 0oints has far more to do !ith "uality of motion than "uantity of motion) So the trend to!ard mobi*ity dri**s is a (ery positi(e de(e*opment) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' . done repetitively.Dynamic joint mobility drills defined $irst a definition/ Mobility drills can be defined as deliberate movements through a defined pathway.

How do joint mobility drills work? The mainstream idea is that 0oint mobi*ity dri**s !or" by ma"in' chan'es to the *oca* m sc *ar and connecti(e tiss es in(o*(ed in the mo(ement) The (ision seems to be that the 0oints and connecti(e tiss es 'et 8' mmed p9 or st c"1 and that repetiti(e mo(ement can 'et those 0oints freed1 oi*ed1 smoothed o t and a*i'ned) There may be a sma** 'rain of tr th here1 b t as disc ssed in more detai* be*o!1 there are not rea**y any p*a sib*e physio*o'ica* e(ents that !o *d s: are !ith this (ision) In fact1 mobi*ity !or" has on*y a *imited abi*ity to ca se si'nificant adaptation in the act a* str ct re of the 0oint) #nstead.1 eno 'h !ith the metaphorica* distinctions) Here<s a detai*ed e6p*anation of !hat I mean) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' . it $orks by changing the $ay the brain organi%es the movement of the joint) In other !ords1 mobi*ity !or" is abo t/ • • • • • • f nction not str ct re the brain not the body the soft!are not the hard!are the (irt a* 0oint not the 0oint the ectoderm not the mesoderm the dri(er not the car O.

$e $ould e!pect similar benefits to accrue from almost any repetitive non'harmful motion in the !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .Mobility drills and the body There is *itt*e reason to be*ie(e that 0oint mobi*ity dri**s ha(e any notab*e effects on the *oca* tiss es that are bein' mobi*i=ed) We can see this by comparin' it to (ario s other forms of e6ercise that ha(e si'nificant impacts on the physica* tiss es) 4n*i"e !ei'ht trainin' or end rance trainin'1 mobi*ity !or" does not create eno 'h tension or demand eno 'h ener'y to ca se adaptations in the si=e or metabo*ic capacities of m sc*e ce**s) So mobi*ity !or" !on5t ma"e yo b ff or fit) 4n*i"e stretchin'1 mobi*ity dri**s do not in(o*(e eno 'h time at the end ran'es of motion to permanent*y add more m sc*e or connecti(e tiss e *en'th) Mobi*ity !or" doesn5t chan'e yo r shape) 4n*i"e sports or other habit a* physica* acti(ities1 mobi*ity !or" !i** probab*y not create eno 'h mechanica* stress to the tendons1 *i'aments and 0oint caps *es to ca se any si'nificant connecti(e tiss e remode*in' 2 n*ess yo did tho sands of repetitions at a pretty 'ood speed)3 Mobi*ity !or" doesn5t chan'e yo r str ct re) So !hat does mobi*ity !or" do+ Joint mobi*ity dri**s $ill pro(ide circ *ation and !armth to the *oca* tiss es and syno(ia* f* ids1 !hich is 'reat and tota**y necessary for hea*th) &o$ever.

same area.oordination happens in the brain not the body) Some "ey net!or"s in the brain that sense and coordinate the m sc*es are ca**ed the body maps) The body maps are discrete parts of the brain that are or'ani=ed in s ch a !ay as to represent the different body parts1 0 st as *ines on a map represent roads) %ach part of the body has a separate area of the brain dedicated to mo(in' and sensin' that body part) Body parts that ha(e 'reater sensory motor demands ha(e bi''er maps) Not s rprisin'*y1 the map for the hand is si'nificant*y *ar'er than the map for the e*bo!) Th s1 *ar'er and more detai*ed maps means better coordination) The information necessary to maintain and b i*d the maps is pro(ided by propriocepti(e si'na*s from the body) -roprioception occ rs !hen mo(ement or to ch stim *ates ner(e mechanoreceptors1 !hich are *ocated a** o(er the body and primari*y in 0oints) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' . Which is pretty easy to come by) So !hy !o *d the specific form of a mobi*ity e6ercise matter+ Why not 0 st mo(e a** yo r 0oints thro 'h a** their ran'es of motion in any o*d !ay+ The ans!er is that mobi*ity e6ercises !or" by comm nicatin' !ith the brain1 and it !i** on*y comm nicate effecti(e*y !hen it sends the correct si'na*s) $o**o!in' is a disc ssion of some ne ra* mechanisms by !hich mobi*ity dri**s co *d impro(e coordination and red ce pain) Mobility drills and the brain .

Yo can sense the effects of mechanoreception on yo r maps instant*y by doin' a simp*e e6periment) Try to ima'ine or sense the e6act position of yo r third toes) No! r b 0 st the *eft midd*e toe for a fe! seconds and then compare yo r abi*ity to sense the *eft midd*e toe and the ri'ht) Yo !i** note that it is m ch easier to form a c*ear menta* pict re of the *eft toe) The simp*e reason is that to chin' the toe acti(ated its mechanoreceptors1 !hich sent a si'na* to the brain1 !hich e6cited the ne rons in the map for that area) Of co rse1 the additiona* c*arity in the map is on*y temporary1 and after a min te yo r toes !i** fee* the same) In order to ma"e *on' term chan'es in the maps1 yo need to p*ace demands on them consistent*y o(er a *on' period of time) When a certain mo(ement is sed repeated*y in a coordinated and mindf * fashion1 there are actual physical and observable changes in the part of the brain that controls that movement) $or e6amp*e1 the fin'er maps in a brai**e reader<s brain are obser(ab*y *ar'er than the co nterpart of the a(era'e person) Whi*e mo(ement !i** c*arify maps1 lack of movement $ill tend to blur them) In a famo s e6periment1 researchers fo nd that se!in' a mon"ey<s fin'ers to'ether for a fe! !ee"s ca sed it5s brain to map the fin'ers as one unit1 not as t!o separate parts capab*e of indi(id a* mo(ements) We !o *d e6pect simi*ar map b* rrin' to occ r !hen any 0oint mo(ement is ne'*ected for a certain period of time) This *oss of contro* o(er pre(io s*y accessib*e mo(ements is the ne ra* (ersion of the 8 se it or *ose it9 princip*e1 and is sometimes ca**ed sensory motor amnesia or SM#) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .

but to the $ay that the brain maps the vertebrae for sensation and movement) Some common other areas for SM# are the feet1 hip 0oints and sho *der b*ades1 !hich is !hy most mobi*ity dri**s foc s on these areas) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .In my opinion1 most of the benefit from 0oint mobi*ity dri**s comes precise*y from their abi*ity to c re sensory motor amnesia) $or e6amp*e1 a common area for SM# is the thoracic (ertebrae) Most peop*e probab*y ha(e at *east one (ertebrae in their pper bac" that hasn<t mo(ed in a certain direction !ith respect to its nei'hbor in years) The mo(ement isn<t physica**y impossib*e1 it<s 0 st not part of the brain<s c rrent mo(ement pro'rams d e to ne'*ect) # 'ood ana*o'y mi'ht be a *an' a'e that yo co *d once spea" f* ent*y that yo ha(en<t spo"en for years) The "no!*ed'e is in there some!here1 b t a 'ood portion of it is not readi*y accessib*e !itho t some br shin' p) # !e** desi'ned thoracic mobi*ity dri** !i** force yo to mo(e the tr n" in !ays that yo habit a**y a(oid) This re: ires the brain to br sh p on its thoracic mo(ement s"i**s and reacti(ate some r sty mo(ement pro'rams) This can be (ery beneficia*) If the brain remembers ho! to mo(e a c rrent*y static (ertebra1 a !ho*e ne! set of mo(ement options is ret rned) The res *t is an immediate : a*itati(e chan'e in the mo(ement of the entire spine) (he decisive change is not to the physical tissues of the vertebral joint.

Blurred maps can create pain #cc rate maps a*so ha(e important conse: ences for ho! !e fee*) -hantom *imb pain is a dramatic e6amp*e) Many peop*e !ith an amp tated *imb e6perience pain in the missin' body part) This is beca se e(en tho 'h the arm is 'one1 the (irt a* arm in the brain *i(es on1 and can be stim *ated by cross ta*" from nearby ne ra* acti(ity) When this occ rs1 the brain creates a sensation of the missin' arm that is incredib*y rea*istic and often e6cr ciatin'*y painf *) Some pain researchers be*ie(e that *ess se(ere instances of mappin' errors may be in(o*(ed in many chronic pain conditions) N mero s st dies ha(e sho!n that sensory motor i** sions ca sed by mirrors or other tric"s can ca se pain) $or e6amp*e1 if yo immerse yo r inde6 and rin' fin'ers in !arm !ater and the midd*e fin'er in co*d !ater1 this !i** often ca se yo r midd*e fin'er to fee* painf **y hot) Other st dies ha(e sho!n that pain from these i** sions can be a**e(iated !ith propriocepti(e inp t that corrects distortions in the maps) $or e6amp*e1 an ama=in' treatment for phantom *imb pain in(o*(es p*acin' the remainin' *imb in a mirror bo6 in s ch a !ay that it foo*s the brain into thin"in' the missin' *imb is a*i(e and !e**> Based on these and other st dies1 many pain researchers be*ie(e that c*arifyin' the motor sensory maps is a promisin' treatment for many forms of chronic pain) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .

Movement creates sensory gating Mobi*ity dri**s can a*so red ce pain by sensory 'atin') Sensory 'atin' means that the processin' and perception of sense information is red ced by the presence of competin' sense information) If yo r ner(o s system is b sy tryin' to process si'na*s res *tin' from mo(ement or to chin' 2proprioception31 it has *ess abi*ity process si'na*s ca sed by tiss e dama'e 2nociception3) Ima'ine tryin' to hear !hat someone is sayin' in cro!ded bar !ith *ots of other (oices) -ain is the same !ay) It can be dro!ned o t by other interestin' con(ersations) Most peop*e !i** instincti(e*y ta"e ad(anta'e of sensory 'atin' by r bbin' a painf * area) The r bbin' sends sensory si'na*s to the brain !hich compete !ith the dama'e si'na*s) Ha(e yo e(er e6perienced temporary pain re*ief after a massa'e1 e6ercise1 or yo'a+ Sensory 'atin' is probab*y a ma0or reason !hy) #nd 0oint mobi*ity dri**s are an idea* !ay to acti(ate it1 especia**y if they create no(e* and interestin' sensory inp t) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .

Conclusion: how to mobility drills Based on the fore'oin'1 there is 'ood reason to be*ie(e that the brain sho *d be the primary tar'et for 0oint mobi*ity !or") With this in mind1 here is a : ic" *ist of r *es that !i** he*p yo hit this tar'et !ith mobi*ity !or") void pain and threat If yo create pain !hi*e doin' 0oint mobi*ity dri**s1 the brain !i** attend to the pain and i'nore the potentia**y interestin' propriocepti(e information that can he*p b i*d better mo(ement maps) $ rther1 the brain is not interested in adoptin' a ne! mo(ement pattern that is threatenin') Therefore1 ma"e s re the mo(ement does not ca se discomfort or create other si'ns of threat s ch as ho*din' the breath1 'rimacin'1 co**apsin' yo r post re1 or sin' nnecessary tension) Be mindful and attentive to what you are doing The brain recei(es massi(e amo nts of sensory information each second and m st be se*ecti(e in decidin' !hat information to process) #s s ch1 it !i** i'nore any inp ts it deems irre*e(ant1 ninterestin' or red ndant) If yo pay caref * attention to !hat yo are doin' d rin' mobi*ity dri**s1 this !i** act *i"e a spot*i'ht or microphone on the propriocepti(e information that he*ps to b i*d yo r mo(ement maps) If yo !ant yo r brain to rea**y !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .

notice the interestin' sensory data yo are sendin' it by mobi*i=in' yo r 0oints1 p*ace yo r attention on !hat yo are doin' and ho! it fee*s) J st 'oin' thro 'h the motions isn5t eno 'h) !se novel movements The brain is more *i"e*y to pay attention to a stim * s that is no(e*) Most 0oint mobi*ity dri**s incorporate no(e*ty a*ready and that is !hy they !or") Ho!e(er1 end*ess*y repeatin' the same dri** !i** ha(e diminishin' ret rns) So yo mi'ht !ant to chan'e thin's p from time to time to "eep the brain interested) "tart slow The benefits of mo(in' s*o!*y and 'ent*y to impro(e coordination ha(e been reco'ni=ed by martia* artists1 e*ite ath*etes and m sicians for a *on' time) The scientific e6p*anation for !hy s*o! and easy !or"s re: ires a post of its o!n1 b t here is a start) S*o! and easy mo(ement !or"s beca se it/ is inherent*y non threatenin'? is *ess *i"e*y to ca se pain? a**o!s yo to find mo(ement an'*es that !o *d be missed at hi'her speeds? impro(es the propriocepti(e si'na* to noise ratio? a**o!s 'reater opport nity to foc s on the s bt*e differences in 0oint mo(ements? and1 nder the Weber $echner r *e1 *ess force e: a*s 'reater abi*ity to discriminate in the amo nt of force sed) !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .

ore Mo(ement1 a(ai*ab*e at bettermo(ement)or'7prod cts7) If you have any $uestions 1 p*ease fee* free to contact me at toddhar'@'mai*)com Than"s for readin' and best of * c" !ith yo r mo(ement> !!!)bettermo(ement)or' .Be curious.ood * c"> If you want to try some movement lessons !hich !ere specifica**y desi'ned !ith a** these considerations in mind 2and many more3 chec" o t Better . e#ploratory and playful Motor *earnin' is 'reat*y faci*itated by a c rio s p*ayf * attit de) #** anima*s en'a'e in the most p*ay d rin' the times of their *i(es !hen the ed cationa* demands are the hi'hest) This means that p*ay is the best so* tion to diffic *t ed cation prob*ems that e(o* tion has fo nd) With this in mind1 se mobi*ity !or" as a !ay to e6periment !ith s bt*e (ariations of ho! to mo(e and fi' re o t !hich ones !or" best) Thin" of 0oint mobi*ity !or" as !ay to e6p*ore ho! yo r 0oints !or"1 and find o t !hat fee*s 'ood1 !hat does not) In s mmary1 ne6t time yo do some 0oint mobi*ity dri**s1 mo(e s*o!*y and caref **y1 comp*ete*y a(oidin' any discomfort) Red ce speed and ran'e of motion as necessary) 4se the minim m amo nt of force and effort to 'et the 0ob done) -ay caref * attention to e6act*y !hat yo are doin' and p*ay !ith s bt*e (ariations to assess !hich are most efficient and comfortab*e) Try a fe! repetitions at the s*o!est speed yo can possib*y mo(e) Then see ho! yo are mo(in') I thin" yo !i** see some impro(ements) .