Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Athletic Body In Balance

A few years ago, I ran across the book, Athletic Body in Balance, in Barnes & Noble. I flipped through it pretty quickly and didn't think that much of it "Yeah, ok, some movement screening tests... That's pretty cool. Yeah, I could probably use that with some kids"... and then I ran across the following which made me immediately stand up straighter and take notice:

A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and makes the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost.

Is this a revelation? Well, it was to me at the time. Up until then, I had always started teaching beginners how to squat from the top down, and adding box squats where necessary. After reading that one paragraph, I began spending more time in the hole with my beginners and even some intermediate lifters and almost all of them showed immediate progress.

Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook has been out for a while now and you can see his influence as far as functional movement screens and assessments all over cyberspace in S& C articles and in bodybuilding message boards, but if you haven't read this book, do so ASAP.

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