Some of the questions which are frequently quite validly raised during courses are “don’t we all have potential movement dysfunctions? Who is to say what correct and incorrect movement is? Why do some people get hurt and others don’t?”
Very good questions!
Ideally we have a wide range of strategies for creating forces and for controlling forces acting on the body. If our strategies effectively share load across large surface areas, transmit forces through the body and disperse forces from the body, we have a fair chance of minimising our injury risk.
This requires adaptability from the system, because bodies fluctuate from moment to moment, and the functional environment that the individual inhabits may also fluctuate to different degrees, sometimes a little, sometimes a great deal.
A good mover has many options and can responsively cope with fluctuations in order to achieve an optimal outcome. He or she has what we would call a large functional window. They can make the best of a situation.
A poor mover has fewer options. Often their habitual compensations dominate, repetitively loading certain body structures and demonstrating poor adaptability. Their functional window is relatively small. Something unexpected or new is going to cause stress on the system.
Yes, we all do have our own individual movement strategies, and as long as the functional demands upon us don’t frequently or excessively exceed our functional capability, we can remain uninjured.
However, if the functional demands upon us exceed our functional capability and ability to compensate, we become vulnerable to injury.
“Ah yes”, they say, “but how does that work when you are training to push yourself further?”
There is no conflict here – training just keeps expanding the margins of the functional window, making it a little bigger all the time. The body can accommodate this in small systematic increments. However, should you go too far beyond your current functional window, you may start to develop coping strategies instead of new capabilities.
In working with movement, we are working towards increasing a person’s movement options, diminishing their reliance on limiting compensations and expanding their window of functional capability.
Want to learn more? Join one of our professional movement and rehabilitation courses to expand your skills and effortlessly integrate the latest functional movement research into meaningful, effective clinical practice. Also, check out our video page for a clip on ‘Expanding the Functional Window’.