A movement progression is a set of exercises that help improve performance in subsequent lifts. They’re intermediary steps between one activity and another that allow you to gradually strengthen your weak links while challenging your strongest muscles so they grow faster than they would otherwise.
Hey guys, Tyler Bramlett here from GarageWarrior.com. I made this special video for Rick and everybody over at ExercisesforInjuries.com about the best way to warm up to reduce your client’s chance of getting injured and how to do this properly.
Someone who does strength sports tends to get injured quickly when they go and try to do something that requires flexibility. And vice versa. Not many people understand the dynamic relationship between getting someone stronger and more flexible simultaneously, and that’s precisely what I will talk to you guys about.
I want to cover the first topic using a movement progression. Now some of you guys might have heard of this before; the thing that comes to most people’s minds is gymnastics. In gymnastics, one of the moves everybody wants to learn is the Iron Cross, where you hold your body out like this in the rings.
But if you are a beginner and walk into a gymnastic studio, no one will tell you to jump out there and start going for it.
You’ll start with beginner exercises like:
- iron cross
That is the perfect example of what I am talking about when I say a movement progression.
Movement Progressions for the Bridge
Now something called a bridge or Yoga bridge, where you are doing a backbend over the top, is an essential topic of discussion in the rehab community. Many people are saying that it’s poor exercise because people are going to injure themselves. They are not keeping their center in line, so that’s a common way for people to cause injury to themselves.
Now, the one problem that I have with that is it’s one of the best positions to increase strength in a complete range of motion. I’m going to show you guys a movement progression that you can use with your clients to get them from doing a simple shoulder bridge to a more advanced gymnast bridge with safety so that they get stronger and reduce the chance of them injuring their spines in the long run.
Examples of Movement Progression Exercise
I will start with a beginner exercise that almost everybody should be able to do. We are going to work with the Shoulder Bridge first.
So palms through the sky and feet under your butt; you guys probably have seen this one before many times. Lift your hips and hold that perfect alignment position.
For this particular position, you want to think about the line from your knee to your shoulder as one perfectly straight line. We also want to test our clients to see if they are correctly firing their glute muscles.
If you stick your hand in here and there’s nothing but jelly down here, you need to work on getting your client to fire their glutes actively so they are using those for a hip extension rather than just pushing it to the ground with their quad muscles.
Once your client can hold this position for about 60 seconds, they are ready to move on to the next position. The next part takes it and focuses on Contralateral Stretch.
We will lift again, and you can have your client do the same thing, or they will lift one leg, extend through the heel, and try to hold this position without twisting and turning. That is one of the essential parts of this more advanced bridge.
If I am put in this position, and I stick my leg out, and I can see my body turned down like this, you want to redirect your client so the hips are parallel and the shoulder and the hips are perpendiculars. Everything stays in the same plane of motion because that level 1 is the shoulders, and level is the part where we can hold a single leg bridge for 30 seconds for each side.
Two ways to Stretch Full Bridge Position
From that point, you can ensure that your client has adequate thoracic mobility to get into a full bridge position. So there are two ways to stretch this: a Simple Shoulder Stretch.
If you have a box in front of you, or you can use a downward dog position, getting the clients to the point where they can bring their shoulders and arms behind their body –, and you see that stretch in their thoracic spine.
You are looking for an extension through the bottom of their lumbar spine to the top of their thoracic spine, as well as that flexibility from the shoulders where they can come through with their chest. That’s what you need to prepare them to be able to do the full bridge.
And finally, you can start moving them to a spotted full bridge or use a swiss ball or yourself underneath to get them to the full range of motion and finally be able to hold the Full Bridge, which looks like this:
Starting in the same position of the shoulder bridge, hands underneath your shoulders, and slowly, like I said, overtime working out to being able to hold the entire position.
Why Movement Progressions are So Important
Before we go on, I just wanted to make sure that you guys understood why that movement progression is so important.
They didn’t have the core strength and the core flexibility, anything ready to make that move.
So that’s why I prefer to start my clients and keep them from anywhere between 1 and 6 months on a simple bridge before moving them on to the next complicated bridge. These are some excellent exercises that you can use in your warm-up, and people will thank you for a year or two years down the road when they weren’t able to bend and touch their toes, or they couldn’t bend backward, and now like hold a perfect gymnast bridge which is going to strengthen them in that full range of motion.
So that’s just one movement progression you guys can use in your clients to improve their flexibility and strength and eventually make them safer and more resilient against injuries.
For more great movement progressions, check out the warrior warm-up.
Here are a few other articles from Tyler:
- Importance of Movement Progressions for Post Surgery Knee Recovery
- Goblet Squat as a Gluteus Maximus Exercise