When you are doing joint mobility drills or otherwise exploring movement at a particular joint, do you spend more time at the end ranges of motion where movement is stiff and limited, or in the neutral zone where movement is easy?
Of course movement in each zone is a potentially beneficial way to map the joint for the brain. But often the neutral area get ignored in favor of the end ranges and this can be a mistake.
I was reminded of this the other day when I heard an interesting bit of advice from Paul Rubin, a Feldenkrais instructor. He was talking about his thought process when moving a client’s limbs through some mobilizations.
He said that his first order of business in exploring movement at a particular joint was not to find the end ranges of motion where movement becomes more difficult (and potentially threatening.)
Instead, he tries to find the joint’s exact neutral points where movement is easiest, smoothest and safest. After clarifying exactly where these “sweet spots” are, he proceeds to explore outward a little further, always making sure that the pathway back to home base is available and understood.
I liked this idea. It's good to explore the outer limits and master them, but it can often be just as important to make sure that home base is accessible and in good working order. That’s where most of life occurs anyway.