The Bend-To-Extend Pattern + Your Pregnant and Post Natal Client
Whoo hoo! Let's begin! I've wanted to do this for ages but I guess NOW is the right time. So in this first episode of Burrell Education TV, the aim is to provide more of the WHY behind programming as opposed to just making a video full of some cool exercises for you to copy. There's just so much power in knowing WHY that movement is part of your prescription for your clients and the why also provides the foundation for the progression and regressions of the movement too. Hugely important when you're working with the Pregnant and Post Natal woman.
In all Burrell Education courses that involve MOVEMENT, we teach the principles of Motherhood Movement Patterns®, integrated functional exercise that looks like the movement that moms do naturally, day in and day out. If we're programming for moms and moms-to-be in a 'fitness' scenario and the exercise prescription doesn't actually help them to move with painfree efficiency in their daily life then we're kind of not fulfilling the brief. If we said we were offering a 'Birth Preparation class that involves Functional Exercise but have them sat on Swiss Balls throughout, then we're also not fulfilling the brief if the woman wants to birth 'actively'.
So, what are the Functional Movement Patterns? Years ago, I studied courses with the CHEK Institute (I still love Paul's foundation text Eat, Move and Be Happy) and that was really my first introduction to the principles whereby exercise prescription needed to involve the squat, lunge, push, pull, bend-to-extend and rotation patterns as well as balance and gait/locomotion. I now would add a more 3-D flavour (movement into the sagittal, transverse and frontal planes and all degrees in between and add varying heights to reaches) to those basic 7 patterns but overall the message is that 'exercise' just needs to look like how people want to, need to and actually move throughout their daily life. What about that for a thought 😉
So with this in mind, let's explore the Bend-to-Extend pattern ie., hip flexion to extension. It's a fundamental movement pattern for moms, simply because which mom doesn't need to bend over a kazillion times a day. But so many moms are doing this poorly and whilst feeling pain when with a little coaching and a re-introduction to their innate functionality this could be easily avoided in most cases.
To help moms stay in 'athlete mode' and to perform this movement well throughout the Natal period we always need regress this movement right back to its foundation, and help the client to LEARN THE MOVEMENT BEFORE WE LOAD THE MOVEMENT. When working with the Pregnant client, we're are up against her changing centre of mass throughout the Trimesters and the accompanying changes to proprioception and loading especially through the Lumbar vertebrae. Whilst in the Post Natal period, especially early on, when vital tensegrity throughout not only the Core but the global system is lost alongside the ability to transfer load well is compromised.....we really do have to start from ground up and rebuild not only strength but in the first instance neuro-motor control patterns, muscle firing sequences (moms notoriously have 'sleepy butts' caused by the changes in their Biomechanics and a reduction of 'stimulus' aka as dedicated posterior chain exercise) and THEN integrate the Core system with the Global system before loading with not much more than bodyweight THEN we progress to load and more challenging/ballistic movement that we typically see in the gym.
I love these 5 movements, the hip flexion phase immediately 'turns on' the lumbar and low thoracic stabilizers - our innate protective mechanism. The muscles included the Multifidus and the fascial elements include the Thoracolumbar Fascia which is absolutely intertwined with optimal Core function. Whether we start that re-connection in the supine position with relatively little elevation/ability for flexion to extension or we progress onto performing a full on heavy straight leg deadlift, the Core-connection and breathing strategy is EXACTLY THE SAME. We coach that the client EXHALES ON EXERTION or the concentric/hardest part of the movement ie., moving the load away from gravity. To this I always add a deeper Pelvic Floor activation visualization, esp in the early PN recovery days when our job is to help the client to reconnect and consistent coaching is essential.
In these modern times, I think that some of our clients are in such a hurry to 'bounce back' after birthing or stay in the game if Pregnant that we as professionals are slightly bullied to progress or programme inappropriately forgetting that that there are many ways to skin a cat and at all times we need to find that balance between giving the client what she wants but in a way that's supportive and appropriate to her level of recovery or level of gestation. Sometimes too, we're held back by our own lack of imagination and ability to think outside of the box regarding the use of functional exercise tools and principles that we are using everyday with other clients. !00% the heavy straight leg deadlift is inappropriate for a women who's 7 weeks PN but 100% you can start rebuilding her connection to that pattern at 7 weeks PN by boxing clever and regressing smart. Trust me, the Foam Roller Butt Activation Lift looks really easy but a) if you're deconditioned and your butt has been off-line for the last 6 months, IT'S NOT and b) slow it down and ask for some real mind to muscle connection and suddenly this move becomes way more challenging. Give them a go, and let me know how you get on and don't forget to LIKE my BURRELL EDUCATION FACEBOOK PAGE as this is where I'll be posting these weekly episodes of Burrell Education TV. Thanks for joining me for No 1 of hopefully many. See you next time.......and remember #learnbeforeloading. Help the client to learn the pattern/movement BEFORE you load it up as 'exercise'.
1. Foam Roller Butt Activation Lift - does what it says on the tin!
2. SL Bridge with Whole Body Vibration - accelerated muscle contractions means more work and faster results in less time plus all the benefits for bone health, improving circulation etc., PS NEVER FOR USE WITH THE PREGNANT CLIENT and obviously only by those certified to use it.
3. Mega Band Deadlift - the Queen of B2E, progressed using a Mega Band which you can purchase in various strengths and so work your way through the band thicknesses to progress or regress.
4. Rip Trainer Waiter's Bow into Horizontal Row - looks simple but extremely challenging as you need to resist the concentric phase or be pulled to the machine.
5. Straight Leg Dead Lift - Heavy - the eventual (or maybe not) goal for many but unfortunely where some people start!! We truly need to prepare the body for this load....it's not for the deconditioned, those with PF Dysfunction such as prolapse, those with hernias, those with the extremes of poor bone density etc., but you know that don't you and of course your DEEP Pre-Screening would have ruled all of those conditions out before you even went there :-). You can download my Post Natal one here.....
If you loved this blog, you'll LOVE this Online Global Certification, check out the contents by clicking the meme......it's just been updated for 2017 and now includes content on Adapting Functional Exercise Kit such as Kettlebells, ViPR and Mega Bands to the Post Natal woman returning to athletic endeavours!!