Aug
03

Deep Core Stability Drives Mobility and Mobility Challenges Deep Core Stability

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I try to stay away from "guest blogs" but my good friend (and in many ways mentor) Dr.Patrick Davidson of Springfield College wrote up some notes regarding mobility/stability and asked what I thought. How could I not publish it! He is one of the smartest exercise scientists I know and he has a good wealth of knowledge in a plethora of subjects. Enjoy!
 
Deep Core Stability Drives Mobility and Mobility Challenges Deep Core Stability
 
  Oftentimes exercises are categorized as being mobility focused or stability focused. Individuals are deemed to be in need of either mobility or stability as their primary area for improved movement quality. This divisive thought process may lead to less than optimal results when utilizing exercises that are intended to improve movement qualities. Quality fundamental movement lies on the foundation provided by mobility and stability. Movement is the motor display of integrated mobility and stability. Mobility and stability work together in synchrony to provide for desired movement. Indeed, mobility and stability support one another to allow the human organism to display movement qualities. This article will focus on how individuals can drive thoracic spine and appendicular mobility via enhancing deep core stability.
 
  The author was introduced to the concept of the rib tack maneuver via the influence of dynamic neuromuscular stabilization methods. The rib tack maneuver involves consciously trying to drive the ribs in an inferior and lateral direction. When the ribs are moved inferiorly and laterally, they prevent the appearance of the flared rib look. Flared ribs are indicative of developmental dysfunction in infants. Adults with flared ribs likely will display a host of movement dysfunctions, most notably excessive lumbar spine movement coupled with inadequate thoracic spine movement during global pattern performance. The tacking of the ribs tenses the inferior portion of the thoraco-abdominal deep line myofascia. The closed packed neck position tenses the superior portion of the deep line fascia. The combination of the rib tack and the packed neck leads to enhanced deep core stability. When individuals achieve deep core stability, the likelihood of achieving a diaphragmatic breathing pattern is greatly enhanced.
          
  Dr. Lewitt contends that no movement pattern can be optimized unless the diaphragmatic breathing pattern is in place. It is the experience of the author of this paper that this contention is valid. Furthermore, the author believes that the ability to display mobility from the thoracic spine and appendicular skeleton is greatly enhanced whenever deep core stability is increased. The greater the focus the moving human organism diverts towards increasing the packed neck position, the inferior movement of the ribs, and the inflation of the diaphragm during inspiration, the greater the ability to gain mobility from the segments deemed to be highly mobile joints. These methods are primarily used during slow and controlled performance of global patterns.
           
  The appendicular skeleton and thoracic spine range of motion displayed during movement patterns involving multi-segmental flexion, extension, and rotation, along with the deep squat pattern, and all locomotion related patterns can be enhanced by increasing the effort involved in stabilizing the deep core. As thoracic spine range and appendicular range of motion increase, the ability to stabilize the deep core will be increasingly challenged. Based on this, we can say that as deep core stability increases, the ability to display mobility elsewhere increases, and as range of motion of mobilized segments increases, the challenge to stabilize the deep core increases.
          
  As an example, take a movement such as the downward dog from yoga. In this movement, the individual presses the hips up and back from the upper push-up position. Typically people focus on driving the movement with the hips or pushing the ground hard with the hands. Rather than focusing on solely on these actions, the individual should attempt to drive the ribs towards the hip simultaneous to driving the neck into the closed pack position. Such an action will increase deep core stability, and the ability to go deeper into the downward dog pose will happen in a fairly automatic manner; however, as the pose deepens the difficulty of maintaining the position of the ribs and neck will be increased. All of the benefits that are derived from a movement such as this, including serratus anterior activation, upward rotation of the scapula, thoracic spine extension, and hip flexion should all be enhanced by increased deep core stability. These benefits may be taking place as a result of structural phenomena such as an improved relative flexibility ratio between the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton, or they may be taking place due to functional phenomena related to improved proprioception from centrated joints.
 
 

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