Today I want to talk about something called the Joint By Joint Approach that was first introduced to me by Physical Therapist Gray Cook. We are going to keep this as simple as possible and not get into to much of the science.
Joint By Joint Approach
The human body is an incredibly complex machine at work. The human body is made up of 206 bones, over 650 muscles, and 360 joints. Each joint and muscle in our body has a specific role to help the human body move in intricate ways. The human body is complex, but functions in a simple way; where a bunch of joints are stacked on top of each other. The joint by joint approach states that each joint has a role to either be stable (not move that much) or to be mobile (to be able to move a lot). Now this can be traced down to the last joints in your fingers and toes, but we are only going to talk about 3 main joints today. The shoulders, the lower back, and the hips.
Each joint next to each other alternates from being mobile to being stable. The shoulders should be mobile, the lower back should be stable and the hips should be mobile. What often happens is when we lose mobility in a joint that should have mobility we move in a joint that should be more stable, which is not good.
Here are a few examples:
If you don’t have the mobility in your shoulder to reach overhead but you have to grab something off of the top shelf of the cabinet for dinner what are you going to do? Find a new recipe that doesn’t need that ingredient? Probably not. You’re going to reach up and grab it, but most likely you are going to move through your lower back to reach it. This repetitive movement in your lower back can start to cause some harm to the vertebrae.
Lets say your doing some spring-cleaning and move boxes and bags all over the house. Now you have to reach down and pick up a heavy box and carry it out to the garage, but you don’t have the mobility to move through your hips? Are you just going to leave the box there? Probably not. Unless you want to get yelled at by your spouse, you are probably just going to move through your lower back to pick the box up. Just like the first scenario this constant movement in your lower back is a no no.
Okay so now you know where your body should move and where your body shouldn’t move, but how the hell do you get those parts to move? Here are two great exercises we like you use here at Core Principles to help get more range of motion in your shoulder and in your hips.
Wall Supported Band Overhead Reach
- Stand with your back against a wall and your feet out about a foot from the wall
- Grab a thin resistance band and hold with with your palms facing up out in front of you
- Keeping your lower back pressed into the wall pull the band apart as you reach your arms overhead
Band Assisted Leg Lowering
- Grab a resistance band and place it around one foot
- Lay down on your back with both legs towards the sky holding your one leg with the band
- Take a deep breath in and exhale as you slowly lower your “free” leg towards the ground
Adding these exercises to your program will help get the joints moving that should be moving and help get the joints that should be stable nice and still. These exercises only take a few minutes a day but could help save you from years of nagging problems.