Due to our habitual life style choices, our bodies develop specific tendencies and movement compensations. Those of us who are sedentary, as well as those of us who are active, tend to exhibit similar mobility and stability problems. Of course, exceptions exist, but in general we see these common tendencies, patterns and problems. When these common tendencies, patterns and problems are not addressed, and/or inadvertently contributed to, we experience various degrees of pain and injury. After decades of training and treating a wide variety of individuals, master physical therapist Gray Cook and elite strength coach Michael Boyle developed the Joint by Joint Approach.

 

A quick summary of this approach follows:

1. The foot has a tendency toward instability and therefore benefits from greater amounts of stability and motor control. We can blame poor footwear and weak feet, but the point is that the majority of our feet could be trained to be more stable.
2. The ankle has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore benefits from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility.
3. The knee has a tendency toward instability and therefore benefits from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This tendency usually predates knee injuries and degeneration that actually make it become stiff.
4. The hip has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore benefits from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident in the range of motion of hip extension, medial and lateral rotation.
5. The lumbar and sacral region (low back) has a tendency toward instability, and therefore benefits from greater amounts of stability and motor control. In most people, this region is exposed to excessive mechanical stress, and has a lack of motor control, this often replaced with generalized stiffness as a survival strategy. When tightness or pain occurs in this region people mistakenly try to create mobility, which may provide temporary relief, but is very likely creating structural issues when repeated over time.
6. The thoracic (upper back) region has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore benefits from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. The architecture of this region is designed for support, but poor postural habits promote excessive stiffness.
7. The middle and lower cervical (neck) regions have a tendency toward instability, and therefore benefits from greater amounts of stability and motor control.
8. The upper cervical region (neck) has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore benefits from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility.
9. The shoulder’s scapular (shoulder blade) region has a tendency toward instability and therefore benefits from greater amounts of stability and motor control.
10. The shoulder’s glenohumeral joint (ball and socket) has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore benefits from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. risk of injury while meeting the demands of life and sport.

 

Note how the body’s stability and mobility needs alternate. Trauma, structural issues, poor posture / body alignment/ movement quality, and inappropriate exercise choices negatively impact this precise interplay between mobility and stability that the body needs to move well. These negative adaptations become observable and result in many common movement pattern problems, pain and injuries. With the Joint by Joint Approach in mind, it is highly recommended that orthopedic evaluations should assess the function of joints above and below a symptomatic joint/ region. It would be illogical to expect to improve knee stability in the presence of ankle and hip mobility restrictions. Likewise, it would be impractical to assume that a recent improvement in hip mobility would not return to stiffness if improved stability were not also simultaneously achieved in the lumbar and knee regions.

Bottom Line: Joints do not operate in complete isolation; each joint is affected by the joints above and below it. Our body will adapt to the postures we are in most often. If these postures encourage poor joint alignment we will have to compensate when we engage in the movement patterns necessary to live our lives. Over time, these movement compensations increase our risk and occurrence of pain injury, and decrease our ability to perform daily activities. We must choose our exercises wisely. The goal is to select exercises that give each joint the opportunity to develop and maintain what it needs to function efficiently both independently and when integrated with the other joints of the body. Movements, activities and exercises should be executed with excellent posture and biomechanical technique, and in an appropriate order to help address movement compensations rather than contribute to them.

Would you like to learn more about how to develop and implement an exercise program that enhances your movement quality, durability and resilience? Email me. Being aware of the joint by joint approach, and giving the body the mobility and stability, it requires at the appropriate joints enhances your performance and reduces your

Note how the body’s stability and mobility needs alternate. Trauma, structural issues, poor posture / body alignment/ movement quality, and inappropriate exercise choices negatively impact this precise interplay between mobility and stability that the body needs to move well. These negative adaptations become observable and result in many common movement pattern problems, pain and injuries. With the Joint by Joint Approach in mind, it is highly recommended that orthopedic evaluations should assess the function of joints above and below a symptomatic joint/ region. It would be illogical to expect to improve knee stability in the presence of ankle and hip mobility restrictions. Likewise, it would be impractical to assume that a recent improvement in hip mobility would not return to stiffness if improved stability were not also simultaneously achieved in the lumbar and knee regions.

Bottom Line: Joints do not operate in complete isolation; each joint is affected by the joints above and below it. Our body will adapt to the postures we are in most often. If these postures encourage poor joint alignment we will have to compensate when we engage in the movement patterns necessary to live our lives. Over time, these movement compensations increase our risk and occurrence of pain injury, and decrease our ability to perform daily activities. We must choose our exercises wisely. The goal is to select exercises that give each joint the opportunity to develop and maintain what it needs to function efficiently both independently and when integrated with the other joints of the body. Movements, activities and exercises should be executed with excellent posture and biomechanical technique, and in an appropriate order to help address movement compensations rather than contribute to them.

Would you like to learn more about how to develop and implement an exercise program that enhances your movement quality, durability and resilience? Email me. Being aware of the joint by joint approach, and giving the body the mobility and stability, it requires at the appropriate joints enhances your performance and reduces your risk of injury while meeting the demands of life and sport.

Jason Dougherty’s mission is to upgrade lives, empowering all of his clients / athletes with simple strategies to enhance their performance and reduce the risk of injury in activities of daily living and/or sport. If you would like a FREE fitness consultation give Jason a call 610.918.2900 ext200 or send him an email to: jdougherty@mitchsgym.com