BENEFITS OF INTEGRATED CONDITIONING (IC)

“Build Elasticity proportionate to strength. Build strength proportionate to speed & power. Build speed & power proportionate to proprioception. Build proprioception proportionate to standing posture. Build standing posture proportionate to internal fascial tensions patterns…. if it looks right it move right”

Increase in:

Central Nervous System (CNS) firing – in both rate and amount of information per unit time which results in – faster contraction speed, better motor sequencing & efficiency, better alternation of contraction in both agonist & antagonist muscles, better relaxation of muscles, more power, more precision of movements)

Lean Body Mass (LBM) (i.e. muscle) – improved anabolic & metabolic functioning plus increased CNS firing tend to elicit a GH response, which in turn increase fat burning potential and increase LBM

Intercellular Water (water in the cell) – the cells of the body are more like “grapes” vs. “raisins”. More water stored in cells, translates into better metabolic function.

Gait – as a consequence of better proprioception, stability, and muscle symmetry, walking appear to be more natural, reflexive and requiring less energy.

“If it Walks Right it must Sprint Right”

Muscular Symmetry – there is a balance between opposing muscles within a limb and globally as a whole.

Circulation in lymph, blood, the Removal of Waste & the Deliverance of Nutrients – improved circulation of lymph translates into better detoxification capabilities and less build-up of toxic metabolic cellular waste products. If lymph fluid is not allow to be recycled via it becoming trapped in distorted soft-tissue(s) (i.e. toxic build-up of old lymph fluid), this will lead to trigger points, which will lead to localized pain. The next step would be diminished strength in that muscle(s).

Balance – better proprioception from the micro muscles results in a better sense of minor postural changes plus faster neural drive, by passing the brain and becoming a spinal loop all result in better balance.

Eye-hand-foot co-ordination – with better proprioception, inter & intra muscular co-ordination, there tends to be much better hand-eye-foot co-ordination available to be trained in the appropriate manner.

Dexterity – with improved inter and intra muscular co-ordination, precise movements are much more easily facilitated.

Speed – rate of force development once a stimulus has been detected. This would similar to when the foot strikes the ground, it is not “staying” on the ground, but it “leaves” the ground much faster. Along with this function, the amount force produced upon contact will be greater as well.

Muscle Elasticity – forcefully controlled movements that involve a sudden change of velocity or range of motion, elicit an elastic response in the various contractile and non-contractile elements of muscle tissue. Instead of moving heavy loads, which tend to benefit a nervous system recruitment response, but do not necessarily bring fourth an elastic response in soft-tissue; the use of lighter loads will enhance tissue elasticity and proprioception. To further develop this training effect, the loads should be moved in, as mentioned earlier, in various planes of movement and at varying speeds. This rapid change of direction is the key to transferring stored elastic energy, and along with the appropriate strength training exercises/load, will make for a smoother transition to sport. A secondary benefit of this type of conditioning is positive growth of soft-tissue, faster and greater recruitment of muscle fibers. Visually this can be seen, when an athlete flexes certain muscles, you will see a “vibratory effect” in the muscles. As an aside, the ancient Greeks perceived the movement that a flexed makes, was like a ‘mouse’ rapidly moving under the skin, hence the name “Muscle”, which loosely translated from the Latin for the word ‘Mouse’ or “Musculus”

Sense of Rhythm – with greater proprioception, muscle tissue is not only used for contraction and thus movement, it can also be used to sense subtle vibrations, which ultimately can influence how muscles will contract. This would be akin to a baseball batter “feeling” the ball as it makes contact with the bat, thus giving the batter the ability to make micro adjustments in his swing upon contact with the ball.

Intermuscular co-ordination – better co-ordination of muscles working as a kinetic chain along with stronger ligaments, tendons, and joints. This will increase overall power and speed.

Intramuscular co-ordination – better co-ordination of motor units within a muscle (i.e. stronger contraction, relaxation and volume of motor units recruited)

Body System Communication (i.e. organs, limbs, and brain) – Stress can alter metabolic function, it can also affect neuro-muscular firing. By mitigating the stress response, as such that it does not reach a tipping point, the body can adapt to the training load. Anything that “tips” it over will negate systemic conditioning adaptations. Incidentally, concussions, which are as stress to the body, can disrupt co-ordinated neural firing to muscles, both inter and intramuscularly.

Stronger Ligaments & Tendons – are developed using extremely heavy partials and conditioning in multiple planes at different speeds. Moving implements, such as lightweight plastic kettlebells (less than 10lbs) in various directions and speeds (circles, diagonals, at varied angles) will lead to connective tissue development in these various planes. The varied range of motion forces muscles to quickly adapt by precisely recruiting, not only more muscle fiber, but in a co-ordinated and rapid manner. Thus making overall movement more efficient and elevating the threshold for sprains and strains in soft-tissue. Indecently, the strength of the ligaments and tendons dictate how, when and where the muscles will contract.

Anabolic Hormonal profile (Growth Hormone & Testosterone) – more efficient working muscles, better cellular hydration etc… lends to increased anabolic hormone production.

Postural Symmetry – when global muscle tension is more balanced, the body begins to stand in a more neutral position.

Postural Muscle Activation – better strength and response in these muscles (serratus anterior/posterior, lower traps, internal/external obliques, transverse abdominalis, pyramidalis, deep rotators of the hip, rotator cuff of the shoulder, lower abdominals, levitator costarum, intercostals, rhomboids, intrinsic muscles of the neck & head, intrinsic muscles of the foot and ankle)

Foot & Hand Strength – each foot is composed of 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and 26 bones, all-working in concert to create movement. The force of each step is roughly between 500 to 700lbs when running. Aside from providing structure and support to the body, the feet generate a volume of proprioceptive information to help maintain upright neutrality, especially when running. Weak feet decrease several things – they provide a less than stable support structure, no to mention lowered proprioceptive feedback to the body, thus making the athlete unstable. If the athlete has greater instability, other muscles will take over to help maintain ideal postural neutrality, resulting in the development of faulty movement patterns which ultimately can lead to pain patterns and/or injury (i.e. hip issues, knee, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, lower back, neck, etc…). Modern athletic shoes, with their over developed cushioning systems, tend to over-support and over-protect the feet, not to mention the addition of orthotics. This circumvents the foot’s natural ability to strengthen itself. Thus leaving the body more vulnerable to improper structural stability. Learning to exercise in bare feet, with structured drills that enhance foot strength, stability and proprioception are what is missing in modern conditioning programs.

The hands do more than just grab, throw, and strike training implements. Like the foot, they provide a tremendous amount of proprioceptive information to the wrist, elbow, shoulder and head, as well as to the midsection. Like the foot, they too are composted of many smaller intrinsic muscles (20), which are highly innervated with nerves, which can detect minute changes in pressure, temperature and other various stimuli. Training the hands with various implements, in different planes, enhances stability and strength.

 

Strength in Multiple Planes – increases overall muscle fiber recruitment & overall postural stability. Continually conditioning in the sagittal plane, as in powerlifting (i.e. bench, squat & deadlift – with maximum loads moving slowly) and bodybuilding (i.e. has little transfer to absolute strength and speed-strength – the load is not lifted fast enough) will develop better neural firing in those planes. By training in multiple planes causes more neural firing will result in greater motor unit recruitment, thus increasing in overall strength, as well as assisting in the “sagittal” lifts like in powerlifting, bodybuilding and even Olympic lifts (i.e. snatch, clean & jerk)

Proprioception – refers to the bodies ability to pick up signals about 3-dimentinal global postural awareness, outside position of objects, movement of objects, connective tissue tension, and changes in equilibrium as it related ground texture, just to name a few, are what is know as proprioception. Specialized sensory nerves located in various part of the body (skin, eyes, jaw, middle ear, tendons, ligaments, joints, visceral organs, are responsible for the immense feedback to a reflexive (in its ideal working state) loop that maintains not only upright postural neutrality, but allows us to move with out falling. It is when this system is somehow disrupted, either via connective tissue distortion from previous injuries or improper external stimulus (i.e. via “the right exercise at the wrong time”), that this system no longer functions on this reflexive loop, but rather ascends to a more primitive early developmental loop (i.e. ascends to the brain in the motor cortex), similarly to that of learning how to walk as a child. A highly trained proprioceptive system not only can pick up more accurate and greater information, from the various above mentioned sensors, but it can relay them much faster to the working muscles, thus increasing speed, precision, decision time (to what is the appropriate movement response to the outside stimuli) and efficiency of movement.

“If you seek it you cannot find it. Movement just happens”

Incidentally, when an athlete sustains a concussion [Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)] or is under significant stress or has cumulative chronic injuries that are in areas of high structural support, the brain switches to a primitive reptilian mode (i.e. high stress state – fight or flight) a.k.a. adrenal stress response. When this occurs, the body prefers to revert back to Primitive Neuro-Developmental Movements as it’s go to mode of static postural structure or gait; such as lying on the back, lying on the stomach, crawling, or sitting upright. It does not prefer to be jogging or doing any sort of athletic movement. Based upon the research by Dr. Roger Sperry Ph.D., the average person processes roughly 48 billion bits of information per second standing upright. Much of this process is occurring at a sub-sensory level and along a spinal reflex. When an athlete sustains a TBI, this information is driven to the higher brain centers, thus occupying more of the brains processing power, that was once freed-up by that same information being processed along a spinal loop. Being horizontal or supine, requires the brain not to have to process the large volume of information, that is required for upright neutrality, let alone for athletics. Until this large volume of information is driven back to a spinal loop, entertaining any aggressive upright conditioning should be cautioned.

“In order to perform at a high level, you need to free up & increase the size of your R.A.M. (i.e. Spinal Loop Processing) & dump what is not needed in the R.O.M.”

By sustaining a supine, prone posture, less information has to be processed by an already overburdened brain. The resultant outcome of a TBI or of a high sustained stress level short or prolonged (beyond what the body can handle), is a loss in proprioception at higher speeds (i.e. any athletic movement), hence the increase in injury potential whilst playing sports or entertaining any sort of aggressive conditioning methodology. Conditioning an athlete in this state will allow them to develop faulty movement patterns resulting from poor proprioception.

“Practice make permanent. Perfect practice make perfect”

 

Strength & Endurance in Tonic Musculature (i.e. Postural Muscles) – human movement works on the premise of “anchor, then move”, that is to say, a joint must be stabilized, via intrinsic musculature a.k.a. stabilizer muscles; prior to its articulation via prime mover muscular contraction. The stronger these stabilizer muscles are, as well as the greater endurance they may posses, the more stable, precise and the force the prime movers can act on a joint. If this reality is not in place, instead of the prime movers having to just to move a limb, they are now called upon to perform a dual task of stabilization and movement, which will not only diminish the force production, but will “lock” a joint, thus decreasing joint mobility, and ultimately muscle flexibility.

Athletic Intelligence – the ability to pick up a new skill or refine an existing skill from visual, auditory, and/or kinesthetic cues.

Abdominal Musculature & Activation – Just because you have “a six-pack” does necessarily translate into greater inter abdominal activation (i.e. bracing vs. breathing). It is important to develop the midsection from the inside out. Proper activation (i.e. bracing) must precede movement. Without this, the visceral and global postural stability will not be sufficiently stable prior to any movement, let alone an aggressive athletic movement. There is an intimate relationship between breathing (i.e. using the respiratory muscles – which incidentally are also used in global postural stabilization) and bracing (i.e. the transference of force from the lower limbs to the upper extremities). It is this relationship that must be established prior to the development of the “six pack”. If the “six pack” develops proportionately to this reality, then global posture will be secure enough to allow for the efficient transfer of force from the lower limbs to other parts of the body. All ballistic movements (i.e. acceleration, speed, power) rely on this paradigm to be intact, to protect the four core areas of posture – the brain, the spinal cord, the visceral organs and 3-Dimentional Joint Centration. Once the “inner six pack” has been developed, the next set of musculature that requires enhancement is the lower abs and the obliques. The last muscles that require attention are the Rectus Abdominals (i.e. “six pack”). An interesting note, the rhomboids, the obliques, the opposite side adductors of the thigh and the inner shin muscle (tibialis posterior) all share the same tissue line. There are other muscle relationships to the one just mentioned, but they are more indirect, for example the tibialis anterior (the shin muscle), and the tibialis posterior are along the same fascial sling.

Starting Strength – the ability to overcome inertia by building up tension in the muscles prior to contraction.

Speed-Strength – the ability to apply a large amount of force in a short period of time over a set time a.k.a. Power-Endurance (i.e. the ability to minimize elastic energy dissipation)

“Athlete A can squat 400lbs in 1.5 sec vs. Athlete B can squat 400lbs in less than 1.2 sec. Athlete B is a more powerful athlete”

Strength-Speed – the ability to apply a large amount of force in a short period of time a.k.a. Power or One-time Explosive strength (i.e. ability to contract the muscles after a pre-stretch)

Skill-Strength – as intra and intermuscular co-ordination increases, so too will the ability to apply strength and still maintain a degree of precision.

Flexibility – better local (with in limb) and global flexibility (between areas of the body). Overemphasis on Yoga can develop flexibility at the expense of strength, via static holds. It does serve a purpose, perhaps during the post workout phase to enhance regeneration via fascial release. The problem with just flexibility alone is that it will definitely stretch the muscle, but only above or below a soft-tissue adhesion. The other cautionary issue with Yoga is the possibility of overstretching ligaments. Once a ligament is stretched, not only does it weaken the integrity of a joint, it neurologically “shuts-down” (i.e. creates muscle weakness) the muscle(s) in close proximity. Too much Yoga can negatively impact the muscles ability to absorb shock, which in turn can leave it more susceptible to injury. Prolonged Static flexibility will decrease muscle strength, which may not be advantageous to an athlete prior to conditioning or competition. Static flexibility does have its place, but it must evolve in to a more dynamic form, in order to facilitate adequate soft-tissue preparation for the rigors of athletics. Dynamic flexibility prepares the muscles for abrupt contraction and relaxation, very much akin to what occurs during athletics. Having said this, there still is a place of static stretching, as with Yoga, but it must be applied judiciously in the right context (i.e. for regenerative purposes or as a precursor to dynamic stretching prior to athletic movements).

Decrease in:

Body Fat – as a consequence of improved systemic anabolic response and elevated intercellular water, there will an increase in metabolism, and as long as there is proper ingestion of macronutrient ratios (i.e. protein, fats and carbohydrates, water), there will be a reduction in body fat.

Injury Potential – if all the above areas have reached a level of competency, injury potential will decrease as well.

Pain & discomfort – if injury potential has been mitigated, via the above elements reaching a high degree of realization, there should be a reduction in pain symptoms

Reaction time – as a consequence of enhanced CNS function, tissue elasticity, increased proprioception, inter and intramuscular co-ordination, reaction time will diminish.

Tight tissue – if the soft-tissue is more elastic, flexible, less muscular asymmetry and thus postural asymmetry, there will be less room in the soft-tissue system for any adhesions.

Joint restriction – as with tight tissue plus the proper ligamentous and tendinous restrictions are minimal, joint restriction will be kept to a minimum.

Muscle Movement Fragmentation – programs that overemphasize muscle girth and strength lead to a disruption in muscular co-ordination at higher speeds and improper firing patterns. A balance must be struck between speed, co-ordination and strength.

Instability – the body want to protect “the house”, or better known as the brain, the spinal cord, the visceral organs & 3-dimentional joint centration. As long as these four elements are secure, efficient movement can take place. Any exercise, that goes contrary to the stability of these 4 elements, will create a compensatory movement pattern and thus inefficiency that with that particular exercise. Training on unstable surfaces has inherent limitations, but sometimes it is what is required to develop better proprioception, that cannot necessarily be developed by weight training alone.

Post Conditioning Regeneration time – when you have a positive global anabolic cumulative systemic body operation in place, regeneration time can be minimized, thus allowing for more work to be completed in a shorter period of time.

Overall Facial Tension – with better global joint and soft-tissue compliance, along with increased inter and extracellular hydration, improved lymphatic drainage and proper muscular, and ultimately, postural symmetry, fascial tension can be significantly reduced.