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Stop Doing Brainless Exercise (Here’s How!)- Episode 436

Video Highlights

- Introduction to movement automaticity
- Exercise strategies for improving adaptability
- The importance of adding cognitive load to your exercise

Hi, I’m Dr. Eric Cobb of Z-Health Performance.

Today, we’re going to be talking about breaking out of your movement trance.

If you’re new here, let me tell you a little bit about the company first. Z-Health for the last 20+ years has been focused on educating world-class movement coaches, trainers, therapists and doctors who are specializing in movement, pain and performance.

That’s what we do.

We also have been creating free information for people who are not in the field, to also help with those issues. We have over 400 blogs. We have e-books. We have an 8-hour online course, you can take for free, just to learn more about how your brain and body will interact, so make sure to check all that out.

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Now, for today, we want to talk about this concept of movement, variety, variability, and movement resilience. When I watch people train, and I find this on myself because we all fall prey to it, if we are in a habit of exercising in a certain way and moving in a certain way unless we intentionally alter that at some point we start to fall into what I call a movement trance.

So, as an example, if I were to say, hey, stand up, get nice and relaxed.

Now, look to the right. If I had you do that for 4,5, 10, 15 times, it’s highly likely that you would initiate that movement in the same way every time.

Now, it’s not going to be exactly the same, because no movement is exactly the same every time.

However, the driver for us is our brain maps, right? We actually map certain ways of moving because for us in the course of our life, that becomes very efficient.

So, one thing that I emphasize regularly is that in order to challenge the brain to add some cognitive load to exercise, which is often a good thing, to increase our movement capacity by training differently, you want to do some movement variability training, when you get an opportunity. So this is a very simple idea. So for now, I’m going to have you actually practice full-body rotations with me. So, stand up, get nice and tall, take a breath in. Try to relax the body. Now, first I’m just going to have you rotate to the right. And then rotate to the left. I want you to do that four or five times and I want you to notice how you are initiating that.

Are you starting from your shoulders. Are you starting from your eyes?

Are you starting from your feet? Because once you have identified your current habit, I want you to now progressively try some new ways of beginning that movement.

So now I’m going to stand, get nice and tall, and I want you to start rotating to the right, but I want you to begin that rotation from your feet.

So you’re going to roll the feet.

The knees follow, let the hips follow, spine, shoulder, head and neck. Just notice how that feels.

Now you go up a joint.

So now you’re going to start from the knees.

So start moving the knees to the right, let the feet and hips and pelvis follow spine follows, etc.

From here you just work your way up.

Start from the pelvis, rotate from the pelvis, you have to relax the knees and feet so they can continue and the spine follows.

Now start from your eyes. Eyes right, head right, shoulder, spine and let everything follow.

In general whenever we’re moving in the real world, most of us think about the things that are further away from the midline of the body.

So we call this distal.

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So if I’m moving my hand, I will usually have a distal focus. If I’m moving my foot or leg, I will typically have a distal focus.

So one kind of simple thing that you can do is your next training session, take two or three minutes and just try moving differently.

Add some initiation variety into this mix and see how it makes you feel.

We always recommend, obviously, assessing and reassessing after every exercise.

The goal here is not to change dramatically how you do anything.

But instead to give your brain a different viewpoint on movement by adding in some variations.

From our study of brains and how brains function, this is an incredibly valuable tool because we want to build resilience in our movement.

So if I’m injured, I’m going to have to automatically figure out a new way to move around that injury.

In this case, we’re working on what’s called metaplasticity for the brain, which is the plasticity of plasticity, which means that the more you practice doing things differently on a regular basis, the better your brain becomes at adapting.

So guys break out of your movement trance this week.

Give it a shot. Let us know what you think. Thanks.

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