By Todd Hargrove

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I'm an author, bodyworker and movement therapist. I write about coordination, pain, complexity, play, the nervous system, body/mind issues and more.

Some Good Quotes from "Movement" by Gray Cook

I recently picked up a copy of Gray Cook's new book called Movement. I have only read a few chapters, but I have already seen some excellent quotes that I want to share below. In case you haven't heard of Cook, he is a well-known physical therapist who developed the popular functional movement screen (FMS). Although I don't agree with everything Cook has to say, and have some reservations about the FMS and some of the movements used in the screen, I have enjoyed the book so far and wanted to share some quotes that I thought were right on the money.

On the necessity of training for movement quality as a foundation for movement quantity:

Whenever possible, we must separate movement dysfunction from fitness and performance. Aggressive physical training cannot change fundamental mobility and stability problems at an effective rate without also introducing a degree of compensation and increased risk of injury.

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Movement pattern corrective strategy is a form of exercise that focuses more on improving mobility, stability, basic motor control and whole movement patterns than the parameters of physical fitness and performance. Once established, the movement patterns create a platform for the general and specific parameters of fitness, including endurance strength speed agility power and task specificity.

As a Feldenkrais instructor, I noted that the following paragraph is quite consistent with Moshe's ideas about global movement patterns:

Patterns and sequences remain the preferred mode of operation in biological organisms. Patterns are groups of singular movements linked in the brain like a single chunk of information. This chunk essentially resembles a mental motor program, the software that governs movement patterns. A pattern represents multiple single movements used together for specific function. Storage of a pattern creates efficiency reduces processing time in the brain, much as a computer stores multiple documents of related content in one file to better organize and manage information.

In regard to the issues of mobility and stability, I like Cook's statement that mobility must come first. I also enjoyed his description of what would constitute good training for improved stabilization:

Common strengthening programs applied to muscles with the stabilization role will likely increase concentric strength but have little effect on timing and recruitment, which are the essence of stabilization.

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Stabilizer training goes far beyond isometrics found in popular stability exercises such as side plank. In this isometric exercise model, conscious rigidity and stiffness are the goal, but true authentic stability is about effortless timing and the ability to go from hard from soft to hard to soft in a blink.

Stability is also confused with strength, where concentric and eccentric contractions build massive endurance. The muscles do become stronger and shortening lengthening, but again they lack the timing and control needed for true functional stabilization. We should train muscles in the way we use them. Stabilizers need to respond quicker than any other muscle group to hold position and control joint movement during loading and movement.

Well said.

Perhaps I will write more when I finish the book and hear what he has to say about the FMS. I don't expect to be convinced that the FMS is the ideal way to correct movement patterns, but I do agree with his ideas about what good movement looks like, and the importance of prioritizing it as a training goal.

What do you think? Please share any thoughts you may have about the book or the FMS in the comments.

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