When looking to improve a movement you need to consider both Sequencing and ROM.
Sequencing and ROM are both components of skill so lets look at them individually…
Sequencing is a description of how our bones move in space – direction, rotation, speed – and how that movement relates to the bone next to it.
For example, in a squat the pelvis usually moves first – down, back and with a forward (anterior) rotation. The next bone to move is the femur which will move back, down and with a backward (posterior) rotation.
Obviously this is just one plane of motion and two bones, but hopefully you get the idea.
Range of motion (ROM) is a reference for how far we can go when performing a movement…with or without the same sequencing.
Sometimes when trying to display more ROM within a movement the sequencing of that movement can change to keep the movement going – this is what is known as a bail-out motion. A good example is the famous ‘butt wink’ in the squat.
When looking to improve a movement optimal sequencing first needs to be defined (ie. your best version of that movement) and then that sequencing needs to be kept consistent.
If a movement is not optimal from from the outset, skill development must take place to help improve that skill. The purpose of skill development is to improve the sequencing of bone motion within a movement to produce a better outcome.
Skill development can be lead by coaching or exploring other movements first that will later improve the target movement.
In the video above you can see that in Huw’s first squats the spine is rounding and the pelvis is disappearing underneath – the butt wink – and afterwards the spine is keeping straight and the butt wink has disappeared.
We improved Huw’s squat with a combination of coaching cues and skill development exercises to help increase end range hip flexion and ankle dorsiflexion, as well as improving Huw’s ability to keep his midline in tension.
You may also have noticed that there is no mention of ‘mobility’ here. This is because mobility is an outcome of a movement and should therefore be addressed as part of skill and not treated separately!
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