Premier Fitness Systems – A Fundamental Approach To Make You a Better Athlete

Modern Approach to Acquisition of Motor Skills: Dynamic Systems Theory

Previously movement scientists believed that we had motor programs encoded in our brain, and essentially a button would be pressed and out would come a gross motor pattern. This led to the prevailing thought that the expert athlete had less noise when completing movements. Training resulted in what you normally see at any big gym. Static exercise with isolation as ideal and a bodybuilding mentality. Recent research has now shown the expert has more noise when performing a particular task. Essentially they have more degrees of freedom to complete a specific task and more ways of solving a problem. SO… the Dynamic Systems Theory states that there are multiple subsystems that go into movement output. This includes the environment, psychological constraints, anything in the peripheral system, and the list goes on. The old way of thinking was a top down approach. We now know anything can affect the system and the expert has more ways of solving a movement problem depending on which subsystem might be the confounding factor. This leads to the Premier Fitness Systems approach, which includes increasing movement bandwidth, increasing transferability of training and decreasing reliance on specificity of sport specific skills. Why would we want to do that? Because sport by nature is very asymmetrical and leads to imbalances. By training with a Dynamics System Approach in mind we can train the human body to increase resiliency and teach it more ways to solve a motor problem.

So Why Sport Specific Training?
You’re right. Sport specific training is a selling point. This has been made popular by a specific model that has a lot of exercises that mimic movements in a particular sport. These look good but will never change the way you move, swing, hit, jump or run. Training in the gym should make your body more resilient and transfer to an open environment. Sport specific training is similar to a program that promises ACL injury prevention… ALL programs should be ACL prevention programs. Just like all well written programs should help you move better, become more powerful and have a better proprioceptive sense of where your body is in space. So get rid of the “sport specific” exercises and make true changes in your movement bandwidth.

Movement Bandwidth
What is movement bandwidth and why do I care if I can squat butt to floor? I get this question all the time. Especially when the respective movement is not seen in their sport. Think of each joint complex in the body as a pendulum. If the central nervous system can only communicate with a portion of the joint complex then the center or equilibrium changes and length tension of surrounding muscles will be down regulated. So… can you still move like crap and be good at your sport? Sure. We work with some of the best golfers in the world and some of them move terribly. This hasn’t stopped them from making millions of dollars. The bigger question is how resilient is their tissue and how will they feel in ten years? Our goal is to make you more human and move more efficiently. This will allow you to continue to train and play your respective sport.

Stretching is a useless word. Fundamentally increasing range of motion requires tension and joint centration. Countless studies have shown that stretching will not decrease risk of injury. It has even been shown to decrease power and thereby possibly even increase risk of injury. At Premier Fitness we prefer tissue tensioning to uncontrolled stretching. With tissue tensioning we kill two birds with one stone. We allow for safe excursion of tissue and force surrounding joints to stabilize. Essentially stability and mobility. You cannot have one without the other. We are looking for stabilization of multiple joint complexes while moving another. True mobility training is exhausting and completely taxing. We challenge you to get rid of useless passive stretching in your routine and push yourself to truly change your movement bandwidth.

Joint Centration: Why Centrate Joints
The brain’s first piece of information from our external position comes from the joint complex. The brain perceives a joint moving out of central position as completely threatening. This is especially true when under load and stressed.   If the brain perceives a movement as threatening, surrounding muscles will be down regulated and movement will be restricted. We employ joint centration techniques to get the most out of our environment and take the emergency brake off movement, strength, and power.

Chin tuck:
Lay on the floor, face up. Bring down chin slightly so you feel that the back of your head is applying slight pressure to the ground. Gaze should be slightly below the horizontal. This is the position that all exercises should be performed in. This position should be achieved in various positions. A good external cue is to feel like packing pressure at the base of neck and shoulders. The biggest malalignment strategy I see is the extended neck position under stress. This can cause a number of problems.
Hip hinge: Stand with back to wall. Give yourself about two feet of space between feet and wall. At this point attempt to push butt back to wall. If you lose balance and fall backwards either move a little closer or try putting arms out to counterbalance. Shin bone (tibia) should stay completely vertical as butt goes back. This is the fundamental pattern for deadlifting, swinging a kettlebell, golf posture, picking something up off the floor.

Tripod foot:
Stand with feet shoulders width apart. Connect feet to ground by attempting to feel pressure under pad of first toe, fifth toe, and heel. This can be amplified by attempting to dial feet into the ground or tear the floor underneath you. Pretend there is a piece of paper under your feet and you are attempting to tear the paper with an aggressive dialing of the foot. Being able to complete this drill will increase your torque and ability to use ground for increased energy transfer. There is not a guy or girl that has high swing speed that does not use the ground effectively.

Hand dial:
Similar to tripod foot. Get in kneeling position with both hands on the ground and attempt to tear the floor underneath hands. Dialing hands into ground should allow for reflexive positioning of shoulder blades. Again using hands in an efficient manner will allow for proper tensioning and torque positioning of hands into ground.
Shoulder pack: a proper hand dial will allow for this positioning of the shoulder. Shoulder packing is essential for creating proper stability when pushing, carrying or pulling.

Check out these links to see proper positioning for these drills…
CT Junction Pack:
Hip Hinge with Neutral Spine:
Tripod Foot/Dial Foot:
Hand Dial:
Shoulder Pack:
Diaphragm Breathing:
Proper breathing is essential to ensure true stabilization. We prefer a diaphragm breath, that allows for reflexive stabilization of the pelvic floor muscles. Over time because of poor posture and modern life requirements posture and breathing patterns suffer. Commonly, individuals will be upper chest breathers and force muscle overuse, which results in headaches, upper trap pain, among many others musculoskeletal complaints. During these workouts attempt to return to diaphragm breathing when stressed or out of breath.

Controlled Articular Rotations
Done at start of each workout and should be done daily. These are important for daily flushing of joints. Modern life is very sagittal (forward and back). Joint capsules by nature are interwoven multi-directional layers of collagen. To appropriately flush synovial fluid (joint fluid) and feed the joint appropriately we need to stress these complexes in a rotation manner. These should be done with varying degrees of intensity.

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Director of Golf Leo Simonetta with a Springtime update on The Wigwam.