Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Co-creator DVRT Restoration, Pelvic Control, & Knee Courses)
Growing up as a little girl I wasn’t too into princesses and the like. Instead, I fell in love with She-Ra (of He-Man fame) and my all time favorite….Wonder Woman! So, you could imagine when the Wonder Woman movie came out a few years ago how excited I was even as grown woman to see my childhood favorite come to life in such a cool way! After seeing the movie probably only 5 or 6 times since, I found a fun way to convey Wonder Woman’s incredible power to something to do with training.
I think Wonder Woman knew where the real power of the body was derived. Notice when she is MOST powerful she crosses her gauntlets. That “X” she creates unleashes something that no one can stop. While of course I am having fun with the idea, the truth is the something to learn there. That is our body is the same as Wonder Woman’s gauntlets.
Our body is a bunch of “X’s”. How most people use and think about strength training actually goes against A LOT of what we know about how our body creates movement. While the gym teaches us very up and down and linear movement, the truth is that our body operates in opposites. It is why our arm and opposite leg swing when we walk and run, it is why we create rotation to produce high levels of power.
This is known as cross patterning and when we look at functional anatomy it is why things like the “spiral line”, or the Posterior Oblique Sling (POS) and Anterior Oblique Sling (AOS) are so important for understanding how our body works as one unit to make the complex movements appear seamless. You can even see below that there are so may muscles tied together for what is known as the “serape effect”.
A serape is a Mexican scarf (something that only people geeky enough to learn about the serape effect would even know;), but that isn’t as important as knowing why that is important. If you think about how a scarf fits around our body, you see the same pattern of the “x” and how our body is one big cylinder.
How does that impact your training? For one, we should stop trying to train the body in OPPOSITE as it wants to function. That means not just moving up and down as well as not just working from very stable environments. Very simple means of using our DVRT sprinter stance allows us to bring in these options, but we can take it a step further when we think about how we want to load the body.
These are the concepts of our DVRT drills that start on the ground but get to very dynamic positions.
While no one is dying if they load the body opposite, most fitness and health professionals are sought out to find “good enough”. People want us to help them learn the BEST ways to help the body to perform. With that in mind, if my left foot is forward, it makes sense that I want to use my right arm with the most load. This is known as contralateral loading, but you can just think of it as opposite loading.
That is why when you see in our dead bugs and bird dogs we have the same cross patterning built into our DVRT movements. When we use these foundational exercises to build connections in the body, we are very mindful of how these opposites lay the basis for strength and movement.
It is why unusual exercises like these end up making a lot more sense when you think about how the body creates movement.
We have so many opportunities to take advantage of these concepts that many people miss, whether it is in half kneeling, lunging, even squatting/pulling/and pressing. The point though is to introduce these ideas simply and progressively. That is how we get the “magic” we talk about in DVRT, we think about how the body wants to move and perform, not what gym exercises tell us.
Training is thinking about all the ways we can give our body an advantage. How we can teach our body to connect with our nervous system. How do we bridge the hardware (muscles, joints, etc.) with the software (the nervous system). One of the very best ways is to take the lesson that Wonder Woman teaches us and think about those “X’s” when we develop our exercises. Be purposeful and thoughtful about how we teach, employ, and develop true functional fitness.
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