There are many “reset” buttons in our every day life. When your latest iPhone crashes because that’s what iPhones do, you reset it. When your computer hasn’t been updated in years and is sounding like there’s a large fan inside of it, so you reset it. Things break down. Your body is the same way–it needs a reset. Now, your body may not crash like technology does, but the majority of us have experienced the feeling of being broken. This can come from injuries, tightness in the body, or just every day life wearing us down, and leaving the body feeling weaker than what it should. The body, too, can be reset. Our bodies may not have a big red button screaming “reset” inside of us, but there are tools we can use to do so. And you guessed it, all that can be achieved through exercise, or movement patterns as those of us at Age Performance learned over the weekend from the guys at Original Strength. Original Strength is a training system that is the foundation for all other training systems, and Age Performance had the pleasure of hosting a workshop at our facility to learn these training systems. We spent the day learning the methods of Original Strength and the importance of resetting the body to its original strength–the strength we develop when we are babies. It was 9 hours of diaphragmatic breathing, learning head control, rolling, rocking, and crawling. So yes, we were on the ground A LOT, and all of us left the workshop feeling restored and reconnected with our bodies. There are 5 resets for the body, and every person can benefit from them, as there are different movements within the resets that will work one person differently than the other. It’s all about finding what works for you depending on where you’re at in life, and what your body needs. The big take away from each resets are:
1. Diaphragmatic breathing.
On average, we breath 27,000 times a day. That’s a lot of breathing in and out, and most of us are doing so incorrectly. When we are born, we use our diaphragms, but somehow as we age we use secondary breathing muscles that are in the neck, chest, upper back, and ribcage. This creates a lot of tightness in the chest. Learning to breath correctly is the first reset, and it’s a simple one.
Try this: close your mouth, put your tongue on the roof of your mouth, and breathe. The chest will naturally expand, therefore using your diaphragm. You can practice this lying on your back, as you sit and read the rest of this article, or walking around the office.
2. Vestibular System and Head Control.
You have a system in your body that’s responsible for your balance system. It’s called the vestibular system, and many other systems of your body rely on it to function properly. Just like the diaphragmatic breathing, we lose it as we age. The vestibular system is important to keep active, as it helps your posture, balance and coordination. You can reset the system by practicing head control, or head nods.
Try this: Lying on your back as you did with the diaphragmatic breathing, turn your head to the right slowly, and then the left slowly. Let your eyes move first, and your head will follow. You may also do this by getting on all fours, like in a quadruped position, and adding in those head nods.
One of the very first active movements a baby does is roll. Rolling is a reflexive movement, and you’ll notice babies will do it as they are reaching for a shiny object they can put in their mouths and scare their parents. Either way, rolling has many benefits. It mobilizes the spine, nourishes the brain, stimulates systems in the body, and strengthens and stabilizes the body. You don’t see many people getting on the ground anymore and that’s a shame because we are losing skin contact our body needs. The skin is the largest organ the body has. Plus the skin is a sensory organ, meaning the skin tells our bodies where we are and what our body is doing. By rolling on the ground, you are resetting and reconnecting that human movement pattern we developed as a baby. And as a plus side to all the benefits your body will receive, rolling is extremely fun.
Try this: Lay on the ground, and think of your body being broken up in 2 pieces: the upper half and lower half. For your first roll, you will use the upper portion of the body-from the belly button up only. Think of your the rest of your body as dead weight. Using one arm, cross your body and reach diagonally around your midsection and keep reaching and reaching until your body flops over onto its stomach. Reaching that same arm behind you, reverse the movement. Do the same thing with the other arm, getting both directions. Your next roll, you will use your lower portion of the body-from the belly button down only. Your upper body is now dead weight. Cross one leg up high across your body, like you did with your arm, and reach forward and upwards in front of your body until your body rolls over. Reverse this direction and do the same movement on the other side.
Before a baby can crawl, it learns to rock, by bringing the body into a quadruped position–on their hands and knees. Now the body is starting to tie everything together, and this is where strength starts coming into play. The rocking movement develops good posture, as it aligns the spine due to holding the head up. Rocking will stabilize your muscles and will activate the vestibular system that we discussed earlier.
Try this: Get on all fours: the hands are beneath the shoulders and the knees are slightly outside of hip width (or whatever feels comfortable). Use a pad for the knees if you’d like as you get used to this movement. Your feet are behind you, in a plantar flexed position (the tops of the feet are on the floor). Now that you’re in position, all you need to do now is rock. Keeping your and shoulders up, you will sink your backside down in between your feet, and then back up, pushing your chest slightly past your wrists. You can move more or less throughout this movement, just moving to whatever feels comfortable.
Now here comes the fun part–we get to move while tying everything together. Crawling will recruit more muscles and brain function than you would imagine. One of the great thing about crawling is that it is the foundation for our walking and running patterns, as it works on those contra-lateral motions. Just like all of the other above resets, there are many different variations to crawling, so lets just keep it simple.
Try this: Going back to your all fours position on the ground, you are going to crawl on the ground like you did when you were an infant. Your feet will be plantar flexed throughout your crawl (tops of feet on the ground). You will be crawling contra-laterally, so your right arm will move when your left leg does, and your left arm will move when your right leg does. Take small steps forward for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and do the same thing crawling backwards. Keep the head and eyes up on the horizon as you crawl.
Congratulations, you have just briefly learned how to reset the body with the 5 different movement patterns! Play with the motions and resets and get on the floor as much as you can.
Because of our wonderful experience at the Original Strength workshop, we are working on having a group class at Age Performance that focuses on these resets. Look for future emails and posts about that class, because it’s surely one you don’t want to miss.
Thank you, Original Strength, for resetting our bodies.