Last Friday was another big step in my Movement education. Charlie Weingroff was speaking on “Understanding Joint Centration”, which was part of a 3 day seminar hosted by MSK+. Though I had heard his talk back in the summer at Chicago Perform Better, it was just as (if not MORE) fascinating the second time around.
How Charlie sees himself as a “strength coach who knows how to deal with pain and dysfunction”, is how I also describe myself, and where I strive to be. Since Chicago, I had now established a foundation to absorb all the knowledge bombs this time around.
Dr. Weingroff’s materials and talks are widely available. Here are a couple of quick points and/or my thoughts from the lecture that you probably won’t find in a DVD or on the internet.
Fat people with no rolls
When you look the top athletes who can generate ridiculous amounts of force and power, a lot of them aren’t ripped, shredded or have a tight midsection. What if the very fact that they’re not cut up is the reason why they perform well?
Any rolls, hinges or creases in the midsection is a sign of dysfunction. A tight midsection means you can’t establish that full diaphragmatic breath necessary for creating intra-abdominal pressure.
Joint Centration can be a symptom
Joint centration is the optimal position where there’s an ideal balance of muscle tension acting on a joint. Thus, joint centration allows maximal load bearing due to this equal distribution through the muscles. This now gives us a logical way to determine what “good form” or “neutral” actually is.
Loss of centration anywhere in the body is a stress to the CNS. Conversely, stressors cause loss of centration. I couldn’t stop thinking about how this ties all systems and types of inputs of the body together.
The body reacts to ANY kind of stress the exact same way, whether it’s physical or mental. Or chemical. Or nutritional. This gives us the basis of understanding the teachings of the more holistic-minded coaches out there and how something like a gluten sensitivity could be the cause of your neck pain.
Even if we coach the patient/client into the proper position, we may not be getting at the root cause.
Don’t train to reinforce faulty reflexes
Reflexes like Moro’s or Babinski’s sign normally occur in the infant but are inhibited as we age. If they don’t, that’s an indication of a neurological problem.
However, when we train, we mimic these reflexes that should not longer occur by extending our neck (Moro’s) or lifting our toes (Babinski’s). This gives reason for why an upright row may be a poor exercise choice (mimics a common arm position in a upper motor neuron lesion) and why supine unstable/partially-supported surface training may be ill-prescribed (body is ‘falling’, lack of sensory input from ground)
“Little girls who can do pull-ups don’t break their ankles”
Charlie brought up a story of how a mother questioned him on why her daughter was doing pull-ups for an ankle injury. He cleverly responded with the above.
The biggest dysfunctions people have is that they’re just damn weak. Training hard with pull-ups or an area distant of the injury will allow grip, core stability and general strength to develop without irritating the site of injury. I thought that was pretty damn cool.
Be sure to check out the amazing seminars hosted by MSK+!