I spent much of the Summer and Fall going through the FASTER Global Specialist in Functional Performance and Specialist in Functional Therapy courses. It’s been a fantastic experience. At times it was incredibly challenging but such is life with anything worth learning and doing. I’ve come away from the experience with a tremendous movement analysis skill set, and a systematic way of thinking that I didn’t have before.
Sometimes I think I know something, that I’m a fairly knowledgeable trainer. Then I’m exposed to new information and I think, “I don’t know anything!” Whenever I dig into something new I have my old beliefs challenged by new concepts. That’s very much my experience with FASTER.
In this post I’m going to cover a few things I’ve learned. I’m going to try and keep it concise. I could meander all over the place….
The Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand (SAID) principle is always at the top of the FASTER thought process. We consider the client’s or athlete’s goal(s) and then we build a program that very closely resembles that goal. If we’re working with a skier then joint motions and body position should look a lot like skiing. Similarly with a bowler, kayaker, runner, rock climber, pitcher, someone who has trouble waking up and down stairs–whatever. So with that we start with some questions.
Two big questions & another question:
- Can the athlete get into the position required by the activity?
Asked another way: Does the athlete have the range of motion for the task?
- If yes, can the athlete control that ROM?The above two are big. If we get two yeses then we ask:
- Can the athlete control the ROM at the speed required of the sport?
Look at these activities. Lots of interesting poses here. Notice how the bodies are positioned. Notice the knees, hips, trunk, arms and head. Take note of all the angles between the joints. Here’s a question: Do any of the exercises you see or do in the gym look anything like any of these? How much of what you do in the gym puts you in an athletic or “real life” position? Does a standard squat, deadlift, kettlebell swing, sit-up or any type of machine exercise fit the bill?
In my exercise toolbox I now have the observational skills and knowledge to address those previous there questions with my clients and athletes. I know how to progress people from very simple movements to far more aggressive movements. I feel confident in my ability to help my clients solve their own movement problems via what I hope are fun, challenging and safe exercises.
(BTW, this also applies to anyone who “just wants to work out.” If he or she has no athletic goals but wants to feel like they’ve worked hard, I can instruct them on exercises that will be both challenging and safe. If I think a squat is the type of exercise that will satisfy his or her requirement to “feel” a workout, then I still will ask those questions.)
In following posts I’ll discuss progressions and variations on traditional exercises. By playing with joint angles, foot positions and hand/arm positions, and by employing impact (stepping, hopping, jumping) we can create an infinite number of exercises that closely resemble sporting activities. With this process we can probably better prepare for sports than if we simply employ traditional exercises like squats, bench presses and deadlifts. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself an “athlete.” These exercises tweaks can be a lot of fun, very challenging and never boring.