WHAT YOU TRAIN, IS NOT WHAT YOU GET

It takes your Central Nervous System lesser time to complete any task than it will take for me to explain it. But bare with me. This is fundamental to why you may not be getting the results you want from training.

For most functions or tasks we do, the brain must send information along our Central Nervous System (CNS)  where they undergo nerve impulses that travel along the spinal cord, use a reverse pathway to inform the brain that the task was done, either accordingly or not, wait to receive further information, and so on.

For the most part, these tasks are autonomic (do not require any thought). For example, when we execute a task or exercise, our muscles may require more nutrients or oxygen. Autonomically, our heart will direct blood flow towards working muscles away from muscles that require less, like your digestive system. Increased blood flow is therefor returned to our heart and can then be routed to where demand is greater.

Due to the Laws of Adaptation, over time, our Resting Heart Rate (RHR) will reduce accordingly because fewer beats will be needed to produce a larger burst of oxygen-rich blood flow. Hence why cardiovascular training is routinely advised.

That complicated process is what SHOULD happen in healthy people. The same goes for another autonomic response, Stretch Reflex. What we often see, in the case of Stretch Reflex, is that this function does not perform optimally in many people. There are multiple reasons for this - primarily sitting.

THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: STRETCH REFLEX

The Stretch Reflex is also known as "The Knee-Jerk Reaction", and is a preprogrammed, autonomic response that is triggered when a stretch stimulus is applied to our muscles and tendons. What should happen to healthy people is:

  • When a muscle is stretched, an impulse should automatically be sent to our CNS, along the spinal column
  • A message should be sent back without instruction from our brain to contract the appropriate muscles to resist or mitigate further stretching
  • These instructions can take as little as 1 to 2 milliseconds and are intended to prevent injuries, such as tearing by exceeding a "normal" range

In many individuals these responses are either negative or latent. So, now what?

FOUNDATION TRAINING: STRETCH REFLEX AND INJURY PREVENTION

Muscles that perform the same movement response are called SYNERGISTIC, and are inervated when the stretch stimulus is triggered. Deliberate practice using this methodology will strengthen the response, deepen the ability to contract, thereby improving the probability of injury prevention. This is due to the opposing restrictictive forces provided to the antagonist muscles. This is a complex sequence that is reinforced when FOUNDATION TRAINING (FT) is practiced.

Foundation Training is a movement modality developed by Dr. Eric Goodman, from Santa Barbara, California. At its core, Foundation Training is an exercise-based solution to reducing back pain, improving your posture and enhancing athletic performance.

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Image taken by Devon McGregor

The stretch reflex is essential to posture. Even a slight lean or postural shift should trigger the stretch reflex. The constant push and pull of both internal forces, such as breathing, and the external forces of gravity, wind or water should be countered by our stretch reflexes. That we don't respond to these essential forces is, in part, why many of us are in pain. Even worse, we embark on training missions without strengthening our ability to respond to these forces first. Adding more weight to a faulty structure is a terrible idea!

In a specialized way, FT targets these muscles, challenging either gently or aggressively, the stretch reflex. The end result: better posture and a stronger, more resilient, powerful and pain-free body. In addition, it builds a body that can better manage other forms of training, including but not limited to Yoga, Spinning, running and CrossFit.

 Dr. Eric Goodman, Foundation Training creator, explaining the 30 Day Founder Challenge.

Accept the Foundation Training 30 Day Challenge and please share your discoveries and progesses with me at any of the links below.

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