Before starting a performance training program, it’s always best to go through the proper evaluations and preparations with a qualified movement expert, such as a physical therapist.
Whether you plan to lift weights, run on a treadmill, or play a sport, you should make sure your body is capable of properly performing these movements. You should also know when and how much to increase the resistance, intensity, repetitions and frequency of the desired physical activity.
A professional can help ensure that you are prepared and ready for the exercises, and that you progress the program at an appropriate pace. They can also train and condition your body to move the right way without always having to think about it.
Many people do certain types of exercise just because everyone else is doing them. But, in order to minimize your risk of injury and maximize your potential, an exercise program should be tailored specifically for you. This program should be customized according to your current ability level, to any physical limitations or health conditions, and to your personal health and wellness goals.
Here are some of our evaluation procedures that go into the development of a customized performance training program at Activcore:
The first step is a thorough discussion of your current health status and your past medical history. We will ask if you experience any pain at rest. We will ask if any movements or positions produce pain. We’ll also inquire about surgeries, injuries or physical limitations at any point in your life. For example, if you have any recurrent back, neck or shoulder issues.
We’ll also discuss your sleeping habits, diet, work ergonomics, and other factors that can influence your readiness for a physical activity.
Lastly, we will go over your personal goals and a realistic time frame to reach them.
All of this information is essential in determining what types of exercises are appropriate or inappropriate for you.
Functional Movement Screen (FMS)
The second step is a functional movement screen where we assess the quantity and quality of some basic movement patterns. For instance, when bending over to touch your toes, we will check hip and knee flexion, whether you round or flatten your back, any lateral or rotational deviations, and if this movement produces pain.
Another example of a basic movement is a shoulder mobility test. We’ll have you reach one arm over your head and down your spine, while the other arm will go behind your back and up your spine. Then you’ll switch arms and repeat the movements. If there’s a dramatic discrepancy between these movements on either side, we know to avoid some overhead movements.
If you experience any significant pain during the functional movement screen, a physical therapist can also take you through further evaluation to better understand the underlying source of those symptoms, and immediately start addressing it.
So we’ve gone through an injury check and we’ve seen how you can perform basic movements. But how well do you control those movements? In other words, you might be able to display normal ranges of motion, but can you remain stable and pain-free throughout these ranges?
Movement-based and neuromuscular control are intertwined. Movement-based refers to your mobility and ability to perform a movement. Neuromuscular control refers to your stability and the quality of that movement. For example, suppose you lie on your back and can lift your leg straight up without bending your knee. But when you stand up and bend over to touch your toes, your hands stop at the knees. The different ranges of motion tells us if this restriction is more due to a mobility issue versus a stability issue.
At Activcore, we take this examination a step further by also having you go through a series of standardized movement tests on the Redcord suspension system. This can help us determine where along the kinetic chain you have trouble controlling the movement (i.e., the weak link). You think it’s down in the knee, but further testing reveals that the dysfunction is actually higher up in your back. Oftentimes, we find that a totally different myofascial chain, such as weakness in the gluteus medius (i.e., lateral chain), can affect how you bend forward to touch your toes or how well you balance on a single leg.
Sometimes we even find that a deeper core control issue (stemming from the pelvic floor) can also affect your ability to perform these and many other movements.
These are some of the evaluation procedures that we go through to prepare you for physical activities, and to help you achieve your health and wellness goals in the shortest period of time.
Did you know that you can see a physical therapist without a prescription? Yep, this is called direct access and you have it in the states where Activcore exists: Colorado, Georgia and New Jersey.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.
Learn more about how a physical therapist and performance specialist can help you by clicking here to find an Activcore location near you.
Also check out our Telehealth offerings to get help from the comfort of your home.