DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Corrective Exercises
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Corrective Strategies Part 3: Reactive Neuromuscular Training
In previous editions of this series on Corrective Exercise, we discussed why improving movement quality is important. Then we jumped in with both feet and explored the advanced corrective strategy of reverse patterning. In this edition, we are going to talk about Reactive Neuromuscular Training or RNT.
That is one heck of a big name! So, what is RNT? Like Reverse Patterning, RNT is a way of “tricking” the nervous system to improve movement quality. With RNT though, we are going to look at the poor movement pattern and “feed the mistake.”
Most people who have poor movement quality don’t actually know that they move poorly. That’s why simply telling them to make a correction doesn’t usually work very well. But, if you exaggerate the mistake, it brings new importance by the human body to make the needed correction. The exaggerated mistake forces a natural balancing of the unequal forces that are causing the problem. It essentially fixes the problem for you with no coaching.
Reactive Neuromuscular Training has been described as a preconceived perturbation or disturbance that you construct to require a fundamental righting reaction to maintain posture or balance (Cook , et al.). Yea, you got that right?! The body will react to this disturbance with proper alignment. It is really that easy most of the time. Inherently, we are going to make you perform the mistake even more to help correct it.
Now that alignment is corrected, you can begin to once again “groove the pattern.” As you make the new groove, you will progressively reduce the perturbation (i.e. load) until the movement is clean without it. It may seem a little backwards, but this is where more “load” actually makes it easier because it forces a greater reaction force to make the correction.
To illustrate the point, lets look at a Front Loaded Squat. Many people will have a lateral deviation with their squat. Meaning, when they descend into the squat, they will shift their hips one way or another. This can happen for a number of reasons, but usually what I see is that it is a reaction to a past injury on an ankle, knee, hip, or low back on one side. That pain may cause mobility, stability, strength and/or motor control deficits.
Using RNT, we can make the needed correction by placing a band around the client’s hips. Make sure that you are “feeding the mistake” by pulling them towards the side that they usually shift towards. The degree of disturbance (the amount of pull) depends on the degree of movement dysfunction. The greater the shift, the greater pull that is needed.
Once you determine the degree of disturbance needed, then you want to perform multiple quality reps to start to lay the groundwork for a quality squat. Then, over time you want to gradually decrease the amount of pull that you are applying until they can perform the movement well without the external force. To learn more about how to implement Reactive Neuromuscular Training, see this video on how to use it with a Front Loaded Squat.
Keep in mind that this concept can be applied to a number of movement patterns and dysfunctions. Understanding the overall concept will help you to determine when this corrective strategy is right for you and your client.
Stay tuned for our next edition of this series where we will discuss the next advanced corrective strategy: Conscious Loading.
Don’t miss our Corrective Exercise DVD where Coach Haucshildt breaks down all these ideas and more HERE!
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