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In both my random and intentional thoughts on fitness, I have been thinking about the need for control a lot lately. As you may be aware, I train a lot of athletes form the age of 8 all the way into their fifties and the one common thread that I have seen in all of these age groups is a lack of control especially (but not limited to…) their lower bodies. They usually lack the ability to control their ankles, hips and knees and or all of the above and as a result may possible be more prone to injury. Now please be aware of the fact, that most of these people are not noobs and some of them have been “working out for their whole lives.”

As then as you can see just training for fitness may not in most cases be enough to help counteract these potential risk factors for injury. What then can we do to improve this needed factor?

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To answer this question we have to first understand the role of the brain in this quality. The brain is the control center of the body in that role is the ability to control joints and movement patterns. This works by learning and experience, for example your foot learns how to respond to terrain by walking over it. When you hit a hole it will shift and try to protect your ankle and other parts. But this will only work if have hit a hole before. This is one example in way that the brain learns to control a joint or to stabilize from an outside force that could cause harm if it wasn’t dealt with.

Another example is when a baby stabilizes his or her should when they are picked up by their arm.

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So what happens when the brain doesn’t do this important reaction?

Usually it leads to some kind of injury such as when a foot over inverts and ends up “rolling” the person’s ankle or spraining it as a result.  So you see that this type of control is very important for our health and performance, especially over a lifetime of fitness and or sports.

Being aware of this fact and the need for this type of control should lead to the question of how we can improve this neurological quality and to increase our ability to get long-term fitness results.

I will endeavor to briefly answer this question and then follow it up with some practical movements in the next post to help improve this needed control.

Training this quality is not that complicated and pretty much is done in the same way that you: build strength, muscle, power and conditioning. You train with specific moves in mind for quality reps over time to develop this skill.

 

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You go from the floor as means to help you easier learn how to control your extremities. Then to more of a loaded spine position, all the way up to standing and choosing exercises that make you control yourself. In fact you can even do this with one move: The Turkish get-up.

 

This complex exercise takes you from the supine posture all the way up to standing with the added benefit of strength development, cross patterning, shoulder stabilization and mobility. It however, is not the only way to do so.

Then you will want to continue that process and add in some gait related simple to complex movements such as (but not limited to) marches, skips, hops and jumps.

As you do and focus on quality movement with fewer reps to avoid break down, you will help yourself develop better control of your body and possibly your joint health and freedom as a person.

Come back next week for part two if this post that will give you some videos and explanation how to work this process in you training and for some ideas how to put them in without neglecting your fitness goals!

 

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  1. […] How to Improve Your Control part 1 February 11, 2016 […]

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